Top 5 Reasons You Should Submit a Proposal for CMEpalooza Spring

In case you have been living under a rock for the past week (What a weird saying. It’s not even physically possible to live under a rock. Couldn’t it at least be something remotely feasible, like say…living in a tree? I like that better. Let’s go with that.)

In case you have been living in a tree for the past week, you might not be aware that we are currently accepting proposals for CMEpalooza Spring. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. We are really hoping to get a lot of proposals to choose from, so I’ve come up with a Top 5 list of reasons that you (YOU!) should submit a proposal to CMEpalooza Spring.

Here we go:

5) Why not? Look, I didn’t say these were good reasons for submitting a proposal. Just…reasons. But it’s true — why not submit? Maybe you had an amazing proposal you submitted for a presentation at the upcoming Alliance conference, but it was rejected. Maybe you will go to the Alliance conference and come home with a great idea for a presentation that just can’t wait for next year. Maybe you’re at the Alliance conference reading this right now because the session you’re in sounded really interesting from the description but then the speaker started reading his notes in a droning monotone voice like Ferris Bueller’s teacher (played, of course, by the legendary Ben Stein) and the subject is not quite what you thought it would be and you are really bored but still in a post-lunch fog and feeling too lazy to get up and move to a different session. If that’s you (or even if it’s not), head on over to our proposal submission form and submit away!

4) This is your chance to do something different. We don’t just accept submission ideas that are different, we encourage them. We like different. And by different, I also mean weird. Odd. Strange. Unusual. We’ve had people wear wigs. We’ve had people do Yoda impressions. We’ve had a speaker blow-up. We love it all. If you have an idea for a session that you have never submitted anywhere because you think it’s too wacko to ever get accepted — submit it to us. If your dream is to create a hip hop musical based on the ACCME’s Standards for Commercial Support and you’re worried that Lin-Manual Miranda might steal another one of your ideas, may I humbly suggest you submit it to us for your premiere? Trust me on this one — you will never have a review committee as accepting of your oddball ideas as you will with Scott and I.

3) It’s easy. Presenting at CMEpalooza is a 3-step process:

Step 1: We email you a link
Step 2: You click on the link and enter YouTube Live
Step 3: You do your presentation

OK, fine, I may have glossed over a few minor steps, but it really is easy. One of the most common comments presenters make when they do CMEpalooza for the first time is just how simple a process it is. You don’t need to travel anywhere or have any special equipment beyond a laptop with a webcam (almost all of them have one built-in these days).

I should also mention that, for those of you who have a little bit of stage fright or feel uncomfortable in front of a crowd, CMEpalooza is a perfect venue for you. The only people you will see during your presentation are your co-presenters (if you have co-presenters) and either Scott or me (see #2 below). No sea of faces staring back at you. No worrying about making eye contact with the person in the last row. You won’t even know how many people are watching (I’ll know, but I’ll lie to you if it makes you feel better.) Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezee.

2) You get to meet me and Scott. I mean, how great is that, huh? Two charming and good-looking dudes like us, who wouldn’t want to meet us? Am I right? Ladies? Fellas? Anyone? Is this thing on? [tap tap]

Maybe making this #2 was a tad too high. Let’s move on.

1) Because we’re running out of ideas on our own. Seriously, we need some help. This will be our [counts on fingers] ninth palooza and it’s hard coming up with fresh ideas and topics. It’s easy for us to fall back on repeating the tried and true and what has worked well in the past, but we also want to stay innovative and try new things (Speaking of trying new things, this weekend my family went to a new Georgian [the country, not the state] restaurant in northeast Philadelphia and oh my lord was it delicious. The khachapuri — which is bread filled with gooey melted cheese — was…[kisses fingertips]. But I digress…) You are much smarter than Scott or I. I’m sure you have tons of great ideas. Just take one of them, turn it into a proposal, and submit it here.


Submit your proposal here

Submit a Proposal Now for CMEpalooza Spring

Oh the weather outside is frightful
Might as well write a proposal
For the palooza of CME

That was…truly awful.

Honestly, I only write these ridiculous things because I make Scott review all my blog posts before I post them and it makes me laugh just thinking about him rolling his eyes and muttering expletives under his breath as he’s reading what I’ve written. Good times! (Note from Scott: Pretty accurate assessment)

On to more important matters.

When the January weather turns harsh, our minds turn to thoughts of spring, which reminds us of CMEpalooza Spring, which reminds us that we need an agenda, which makes us smack ourselves in the forehead and wonder why we didn’t start thinking about this sooner (I kid, I kid. Scott and I actually had an official planning meeting about CMEpalooza Spring months ago [cough cough… December]. I even brought along a notebook. Did I fail to take any notes and then forget everything we talked about? Maybe.)

As always, our goal with the CMEpalooza Spring agenda is to have the CME/CE community intimately involved in its development. This year, we are releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for anyone to submit an idea for a CMEpalooza Spring session. This perhaps sounds more impressive than it actually is since the RFP being “released” is just this blog post, but work with me here.

We are going to try to keep the process pretty simple. If you have an idea for a session that you would like to lead at CMEpalooza Spring (don’t forget the change to a 2-day agenda, April 25-26), just complete the RFP submission form below by the end of the day on Friday, February 2. After February 2, Scott and I will review all of the proposals that we have received and select six for the agenda. We may ask a few others to help us decide, or we may simply wield our extensive power and make the choices on our own. Not sure yet.

Here are a few guidelines:

  1. This is an online conference and all sessions are done via YouTube Live (Google Hangout). All presenters must have a computer, access to a decent internet connection, and a webcam. Most laptops produced after 2010 have one built in.
  2. Proposals will only be considered if they are submitted via the RFP submission form below.
  3. The deadline for proposals to be submitted is by the end of day on Friday, February 2.
  4. We are open to pretty much any idea as long as it’s possible for us to do via YouTube Live and it relates in some way to CME/CE.
  5. Interactive formats with multiple presenters, such as panel sessions and interviews, are encouraged. Single-person PowerPoint lectures are discouraged, unless you can convince us that it’s going to be really, really good.
  6. Please verify the availability of all presenters for the dates of CMEpalooza (April 25 and/or 26) before submitting their name in your proposal. If you don’t, we won’t be happy. Scott will probably scowl at you when you email us to tell us one of your speakers is not available. You don’t want that. Trust me.
  7. There are six categories we are looking to fill for a well-rounded agenda. They are: Outcomes, Educational Design, Technological Innovations, Commercial Support, Accreditation, and CME Potpourri (anything that doesn’t fit in the other five categories). Your proposal should align with one of these categories. Ideally, we will select one proposal for each category, but we might decide to choose multiple proposals for one category based on what we receive. It’s our conference and we can do what we want.
  8. We don’t want to limit creativity, so there isn’t a limit on the number of proposals you can submit, but use common sense and be reasonable. We will likely only choose one proposal for which you are listed as the lead contact, so don’t submit ten proposals or something crazy like that.
  9. We will try to notify you within a week of the deadline if your proposal has been accepted or not.
  10. If you have any questions, feel free to email Derek ( or Scott ( or find us at the Alliance conference in a couple weeks

I think that about covers it. I especially want to encourage people who have never presented at CMEpalooza to submit a proposal. We are always happy to have new presenters participate and now is as good a time as any. The RFP submission form is below. Have fun!

Which Is the Better Palooza: One Full-Day or Two Half-Days?

We had a major CMEpalooza planning session last week with the entire CMEpalooza staff. It was really quite the event; we flew everyone down to a private resort in Aruba for the weekend, set-up one of those giant tents on the beach, and made everyone brainstorm new ideas for 12 hours straight until letting them out to play in the water. Then we capped it all off by convincing the remaining members of Led Zeppelin to finally reunite for one last concert to close out the weekend (things got a little out of control when Scott stormed the stage and demanded they play Smoke on the Water. He calmed down a bit after I reminded him that that was a Deep Purple song, but by then Robert Plant had already slammed down his bottle of Evian and stalked indignantly offstage, bringing the concert to an abrupt end. At least they played Kashmir.)

One of the ideas that we bandied about was the possibility of transitioning each CMEpalooza from a full-day event to half-day events (held on consecutive days). The reason for this is that audience participation/attendance for CMEpalooza always falls off after lunch. Every single time. We could have a 10 a.m. session called, “Watch Derek Brush His Teeth” and a 3 p.m. session called, “Watch Scott Play Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles” and my toothbrush would undoubtedly become quite famous.

Why do we have this drop-off? It’s hard to say for sure. Maybe people are busy and have work to do (it’s possible.) Maybe people are worn out from all the amazing learning and their brains are tired (doubtful.) Maybe people can only handle staring at Scott’s and my face on their screens for a maximum of four hours a day (that’s the one!)

Whatever the reason, we thought that maybe people would get even more out of CMEpalooza if we broke it up a little more. Let’s say 3-4 hours of sessions one morning, finish up by 1 pm ET, and then 3-4 hours of sessions the next morning. Is that better?

No, I’m really asking — is that better? Let’s do a quick poll. Let us know which format you prefer.

If you have strong feeling one way or the other that extend beyond just selecting one of the poll choices, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for your help!

Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?

We really want to know! So, if you tuned in to any of the CMEpalooza Fall sessions last Wednesday and haven’t already done so (47 of your have), please take our survey. Here’s the link to it:

We do actually read through the survey and comments, and use the information to (try to) make CMEpalooza better. Especially helpful are the suggestions provided for topics of interest for future sessions, which we quite frequently use to help shape the next agenda. From the responses we have received so far, a session on the new ACCME criteria and a CME Basics course have been cited the most frequently. If you have other suggestions, let us know!

(Scott sometimes accuses me of making obscure references that no one else understands. We all know the title and first line of this post are from the 1978 song Who Are You? by The Who, right? This is a pretty obvious one. Please don’t email and tell me you thought it was from the opening theme song for C.S.I…)

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Fall?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Fall?
You watch it on the LIVE page.

Will people be able to hear me on the Hangout?
No. You are not on the Hangout. You are only watching a video feed of the Hangout. You can play the air horn version of Take On Me by 80’s legends a-ha at top volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play the air horn version of Take On Me by 80’s legends a-ha at top volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall in a conference room with 150 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall while at a Boston Celtics game? 
ugh…no yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall with Homer Simpson?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess not. The important thing is that you tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Fall? I love paying registration fees.

No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.

Do I have to take a survey afterward?
Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only seven questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will come to your house and sing the score from the H.M.S. Pinafore.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Fall?
Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that and we have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But, if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Fall 2017, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow.

How do I ask questions to the presenters?
Good question. There are three ways you can ask questions:

  1. Send a text to the CMEpalooza text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
  3. Click on the Google Slides link on the LIVE page and enter your question there

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.

What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, probably within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the session. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a new intern who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here he is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated, It’s CMEpalooza Haiku

It’s everyone’s some readers’ Scott’s my favorite post before every CMEpalooza, when I go through the agenda and summarize every session with a terrible haiku. It’s brilliant! Let me tell you, the millennials love haiku. We’re on the cutting edge as always here at CMEpalooza HQ. But enough chitchat — to the haiku!


palooza haiku
summary of a great day
october eighteen


10 AM ET – Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME

back for an encore
some case conundrums are fun
some are just humdrum


11 AM ET – Grant Review MythBusters

grant review intrigue
(myth)bustin’ makes me feel good
ray parker agrees


Noon ET – From Activation to Evolution: What CME Can Learn from the Trump Campaign, Uber Scandal, and Amazon

learn from trump campaign?
surely this must be fake news
tune in to find out


1 PM ET – Chatting With Graham McMahon

a man with a plan
his name is graham mcmahon
chatting with lawrence


2 PM ET – The CME Advice Columnists

looking for advice?
let these cme pros help
it’s not dear abby


3 PM ET – Outcomes: A Study in Three Acts

study design and
data collection on stage
three acts/three pm

4 PM ET – Building a Better Grant Request

build a better grant
and the world will beat a path
to your office door

REMINDER: CMEpalooza Fall is October 2-…er…18!

My 10-year-old daughter Olivia is going to a new school this year, which requires her to get up an hour earlier than usual and take the train to Center City Philadelphia. She’s very bright, musically-gifted, cheerful, extroverted, and beautiful. In sum, she is exactly like her mother and doesn’t resemble me in any way. Except one: she would forget her head if it wasn’t attached to her neck.

On Tuesday morning, we got a tearful phone call from her because she had left her violin on the train. SEPTA (the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) does not have a particularly stellar reputation when it comes to customer service (or anything else, for that matter), but they do actually have a Lost & Found Department. By some small miracle, the violin ended up there undamaged. As I left the house to retrieve the wayward instrument — grumbling to myself that I was going to chain the violin to Olivia’s wrist — I stepped over a UPS package that had just been delivered, containing the bag of violin music that Olivia had left at her grandparents over the weekend. The week before, while we were at Back-to-School night at her school, she sent me a text asking if I could grab the Science folder she had left in her locker. The next day she forgot to go to choir during lunch. The week before she left her ID in her locker (or thought she did; it was later found under a pile of clothes on the floor of her room), her train pass in her coat (which she had left at school), and her water bottle on her desk. That she has not lost her glasses yet is nothing short of amazing.

Sadly, I am not much better. I am notorious for losing my wallet, keys, watch, pens, headphones, iPhone dongles, kids — pretty much anything that isn’t attached to my body. I lost so many watches in high school, my parents refused to buy me any more. At the Alliance conference in Grapevine, TX, I lost (and found) my briefcase three different times in one day. Coming home from a meeting in Alexandria, VA, I got on a train going in the wrong direction. A month later, I bought a train ticket for a return trip from NYC for the wrong day. I’m pathetic (note from Scott: can’t argue with that one).

Which brings us to the main point of today’s post: CMEpalooza Fall is on Wednesday, October 18, starting at 10 AM ET. This is your official reminder. Put it in your calendar. Set an alert. Write it on your hand in pen. Tell your spouse to remind you. Do whatever it is you need to do to remember. I was going to have Scott send me a telegram the day before as my reminder, but then he wrote a blog post that initially listed the wrong day for CMEpalooza (I fixed it before you saw it) and now I don’t trust him. Maybe I’ll have Olivia remind me instead. I hope you all are free on October 20th…

Last Chance to Submit Questions for Our “Chatting With Graham McMahon” Session

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Graham McMahon awaits your questions
Submit them in the form below

(What, you were expecting a poem? That’s not really my thing. Scott’s the poetry guy around here. He always has a haiku or sonnet at the ready. I’m more interested in you submitting your question for our Chatting With Graham McMahon session before the deadline closes at the end of today. Go do it now. The form is below.)

Call for Questions for Our “Chatting With Graham McMahon” Session

Do you have a burning question (or even a lukewarm question) you have always wanted to ask ACCME President and CEO Graham McMahon?

Do you have a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet?

Do you have access to the internet?

Well, today is your lucky day! For the next week, we are accepting questions for our Chatting With Graham McMahon session at CMEpalooza Fall, moderated by Lawrence Sherman, FACEHP, CHCP, Senior Vice President of Educational Strategy at TOPEC Global. Just fill out the form below and submit your question by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 13.

In typical CMEpalooza fashion, our goal is to keep the conversation lively and fun for everyone, so we’re not putting any restrictions on the types of questions you can ask. However, we do have limited time, so I can’t guarantee that your question will be asked, but we will do our best to tackle as many as possible.

The introvert in me has decided to make the name and organization fields optional. You don’t have to provide them if you’re not comfortable doing so, but it’s nice to know where a question is coming from. As always, thanks to all for participating!