Your Roving Reporter: Alliance Wrapup

As the plane touched down in Philadelphia on Saturday evening, I did one last self-check (Am I feeling OK? Anything out of the ordinary? How worried should I be about the guy sitting across from me who was sniffling the entire flight?) and breathed a sigh of relief. I made it.

Honestly, I think that’s about the best thing that many of us who were onsite at the Alliance conference can say. We made it.

Yes, there was good education and networking and all of the stuff that usually happens at the Alliance, but for the vast majority of us who congregated in Denver (well, technically Aurora), this was the first large-ish gathering of people we had been a part of in nearly two years. Much like the NFL preseason, the primary goal was simply to get through the event unscathed. Or more specifically, COVID free.

I had some interesting ethical discussions with a few people about what they would do, thousands of miles from home, if they tested positive for COVID while at the Alliance. Quarantine for 5 days? Until you are feeling better? Not at all? We all know what the CDC says, but things aren’t always so black and white in real life. I am sure there were least a small number of people at the Alliance who were faced with this difficult dilemma (the few people I know who tested positive during the conference were local). I don’t envy the decision they had to make.

Sitting back in my office this morning, I’m not sure whether those of us who decided to push forward with our attendance despite the octopus-like reach of Omicron were brave or stupid. I am glad I went, and I got a lot of positive energy from being able to finally re-engage with the CME community, but it was definitely a strange environment. Some people were more skittish in a crowd of colleagues than others, and I can’t blame them. As with everything these days, it’s a matter of risk tolerance.

So kudos to the attendees for bravely masking up and immersing in a live educational event. And kudos too to those of you who stayed home, deciding the risk wasn’t worth it. Who was right and who was wrong? There are arguments for both sides – you know them as well as I do.

However, there was definitely one perk of Alliance’s decision to push forward with the in-person conference — the debut of the CMEpalooza Roving Reporter! We have one more episode of questions and answers to share today before shutting things down for the time being. I’ll pass the fedora to Derek the next time around.

Here were our questions:

  1. What has the COVID pandemic forced your organization to get better at?
  2. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

Caitlyn Keenan
Accreditation Manager
Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

What has the COVID pandemic forced your organization to get better at?

Digitizing – getting away from paper everything. We do a lot of joint providership, and we used to have all paper certifications, paper disclosure forms, paper certification forms, and just lots of paper everywhere. Now, we’re all digital. Our staff and our members can do everything online now.

Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

Cookie Monster


Rebecca Stachurski
Senior Health Education Coordinator
University of Kentucky

What has the COVID pandemic forced your organization to get better at?

I was brought on in the middle of the pandemic so this is a tough one. But one of the things my organization does really well is communicate with each other. We have managed to maintain a really great rapport, which isn’t necessarily CME related, but it’s something that stands out to me.

Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

Cookie Monster (note from Scott: I sense a pattern)

Valerie Bakies Lile, CAE, FACOOG
Executive Director
American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians & Gynecologists

What has the COVID pandemic forced your organization to get better at?

There is a rumor that it’s making smoked bourbon, but it’s really digital education. That was a priority of our organizational strategic plan that we drafted in January 2020. At the time, we thought it would be a 3-year action item. And then March 2020 happened and we fast tracked it so it became a 17-day action item in time for our annual conference. Since then, we’ve tried multiple formats and multiple platforms, and I think we all feel that we have accomplished what we set out to do.

Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

I want to say Oscar the Grouch, but I also like the Swedish Chef (Note from Scott: Yes, I know the Swedish Chef is not Sesame Street, but these are all technically Muppets so let’s not judge too harshly)


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