Feeling Down? Here is the Cure

CMEpalooza withdrawal (N): That empty feeling in the pit of your stomach that persists for 2-4 weeks after each live CMEpalooza broadcast. Often accompanied by the need to write grant proposals in haiku form.

CMEpalooza withdrawal is a syndrome that has not yet been widely appreciated in the medical community, although Derek and I have received more and more clinician referrals in recent years. Despite the abundance of online conferences for the CME community available this spring, we nonetheless received more than a dozen inquiries over the last few weeks asking if there was any cure for this ailment.

There is, of course. Which I’ll get to in a second.

But first, some big big news. OK, it’s probably very little little news, but it’s nonetheless enough for a special announcement.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Bye bye CMEpalooza. And hello CMEpalooza™.

Yes, that’s right, we are officially a trademarked entity according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office! When Derek proposed applying for a trademark last summer (I forget why – that’s how long ago it was [note from Derek: I don’t remember either. I’m sure it was a very important reason though.]), I figured it would be no big thing. Well, it was, and it wasn’t.

I don’t know how many of you have ever applied for a trademark, but as with everything that has to do with the government, there are VERY SPECIFIC regulations that need to be followed. Not only do you have to cross every T and dot every I, but you need to use the right font and character size too. Get anything wrong and it’s back to square one (which means waiting 4 months for another official review after you correct your errors). In the meantime, have fun scrolling through the dozens of emails you’ll get every day from law firms who are just dying to help you, all for the low low price of $500.

I’m actually rather proud of myself that we only got dinged once for some inconsequential error and that I managed to complete the process without the help of any of those pesky (but I’m sure super helpful) law firms. Our initial submission went in on August 16 and we received the official notice on April 13 that our application was approved. That’s only 8 months. I’ve had grant requests that languished in supporter portals for longer than that!

If anyone ever wants any help or advice on the trademark application process, I’m available (for the low low price of $500). And for all of you who had designs on usurping the CMEpalooza™ for your own commercial purposes, well, just stop it. Or Derek will hire a lawyer to, er, do something.

OK, that’s announcement No. 1, and probably has left you wondering, “I just read four paragraphs about this because…” Our second announcement should be a little more notable.

For everyone suffering from CMEpalooza™ withdrawal, we have good news – more CMEpalooza™! (I’ll stop with the trademark symbol now – you get the gist)

Yes, we have a special CMEpalooza Spotlight on the calendar with the fine folks at Daiichi Sankyo that is scheduled for 11 am ET on Wednesday, June 23. It’s still a ways away, but it’ll hopefully give you something to look forward to. In that special 35-40 minute session, we’ll be talking about “Innovations in CE: A Supporter’s Perspective on Using RFPs to Enhance Public Health.” This is our first-ever Spotlight with a supporter team, and I think it’ll provide an interesting perspective on some of the inner workings of a grant team during a time of crisis (ie, COVID). We’ll remind you more about this special broadcast as the date gets closer, but it’s probably good to set this time aside now since it’s going to be 95 degrees that morning and your air conditioning is probably going to be on the fritz.

Anything else you want to announce, Derek? (note from Derek: Nope.) (note from Scott: Derek is like the color guy from Major League. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks)

Hmm, Something Looks Different…

Every so often when Derek and I chat, one of us will come up with a “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” idea.

“Hey Scott, wouldn’t it be nice if we could design a costume for a CMEpalooza mascot?”

“Hey Scott, wouldn’t it be nice if we required every one of our panelists to write a personal mission statement as a haiku?”

“Hey Scott, wouldn’t it be nice if I juggle during every CMEpalooza session just to change things up?”

Needless to say, Derek’s “Wouldn’t it be nice…” ideas typically don’t make it very far.

But we do have our rare moments of genius (OK, maybe not genius, but mild competence). Probably three years ago, one of us (probably me) suggested that it was perhaps time to update the CMEpalooza website. Since our humble beginnings, we have used the DIY site that Derek designed on his own. And to give credit where it’s due, it always functioned just fine. It was simple and basic, just like Derek (note from Derek: True.)

But it also looked like a DIY site, kinda like that ’74 Chevy Nova that is sitting in your garage with parts from, well, who knows because you can’t get the original panels, wheels, or upholstery. It works, but it sure ain’t pretty.

After poking around informally for a while, we finally took the plunge a few months ago and hired a local designer to give our site a quick tune-up. Nothing major that would require you to re-learn how to navigate around our site (I hate when companies do that), but just a few tweaks that would hopefully improve your overall CMEpalooza experience.

We’re happy to formally unveil the brand new CMEpalooza website today just in time for CMEpalooza Spring next week. You may note the cosmetic differences with fonts and colors, but there are some more substantive modifications as well. The biggest is that we created an archive for our blog, so if you want to go and see what Derek wrote about on the very first CMEpalooza post in October 2013, it’s easy to find. If you search hard enough, maybe you’ll even stumble upon an Easter Egg that will lead you to Derek’s old “Confessions of a Medical Educator” website (note from Derek: the first person to find the old blog post where I adapted Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” to vent about the state of CME wins a prize!)

We don’t think there are any glitches to the new site, but please do let us know if you find anything and we’ll get them fixed faster than you can say, “Donald Igwebuike.” Thanks everyone.

CMEpalooza Flash Mob!! Winners

In a grand ceremony that included balloon animals, cotton candy, and carnival rides galore (my living room is a mess), on Friday we announced the winners of last week’s CMEpalooza Flash Mob!! sponsor event. Derek has asked that I present the winners in the style of an NBA public address announcers, so here goes nothing.

  • From the College of Charleston, the Annenberg Assassin, No. 19, Melisssssaaaa Ketchum (Melissa is the Director of Continuing Education at Annenberg Center for Health Sciences)
  • From Capella University, the Crooning CMEer, No. 31, Jessssssse Henrrrrrry (Jesse is a Consultant Learning at OhioHealth)
  • From Rutgers University, the Freelance Firebomber, No. 00, Suzanne Buuu-jjjjara (Suzanne is a Freelance Medical Writer)
  • From Grove City College, the Queen of Numbers, No. 3.1415, Annette Schwindddddd (Annette is the Director of Outcomes Assessment and Evaluation at Haymarket Medical Education)
  • From the University of Texas, the Southern Belle, No. 12, Stephanieeeeee Stagggggggs (Stephanie is a Program Coordinator at Texas A&M University College of Medicine)

Each of these lucky folks won a $100 Amazon gift card for their efforts. Maybe they can use that money to erase the memory of my butchering their names here to satisfy Derek.

For anyone interested in seeing the full list of CMEpalooza Flash Mob!! questions and answers, just click here. I will admit that there was one small hiccup with the Silver sponsor competition where a question changed on the fly (basically, in the 48 hours between the time I wrote the question and launched the competition, the provider took down the activity I was referencing from their website as it had expired for credit. Whoopsies). Everyone who threw up their arms and said, “I have no idea” got full credit for that one.