Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Fall?

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

Is anything different about watching this time? Do I still have to refresh the page to watch new sessions? That is super annoying.
Yes, it is a little different this time. No, you do not have to refresh the page to watch new sessions. Every session now has a unique link, so you don’t need to refresh the LIVE page to watch each new session. Just find the session you want to watch at the appropriate time and click that link to begin.

Will people be able to hear me on the broadcast?
No. You are not on the broadcast. You are only watching a video feed of the broadcast. You can play Cemetery Polka by Tom Waits at full 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 Cemetery Polka by Tom Waits at full volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza at the office?
Er…uh…maybe? (I answer this question every year and this is the first time I’m not sure how to answer it.)

Can I watch CMEpalooza in a conference room with 150 other people?
No! I mean…you “can” but…let’s not do that. 150 people in a conference room for anything seems like a really really bad idea right now. Stay home. Put on your pajamas. Relax.

Can I watch CMEpalooza while at a coffee shop?
That depends. Do you own your own coffee shop and will you be watching by yourself? If no, then…No! Stay home!

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home with my pets?
I don’t know. Let’s ask them.

Ehhhh maybe not.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza? 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 parade by your house and recreate the Danke Schoen scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza?
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 2020, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow. Who knows, maybe these certificates will be worth something 2,000 years from now.

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

  1. Send a text to the FreeCME text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag

We try to get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.

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

Will the sound quality for each presenter be crystal clear with consistent volume and no glitches?
I mean, really, have you been on, I don’t know, 500 web calls in the last month? Is it always perfect for everyone? Of course not. That said, we’re better with this technology stuff than the average bear – we HAVE been doing this for 7 years now so hopefully we’ve learned something. So will it be pretty good for almost every presenter? Yes, yes it will. There will be some people who sound better than others. There may be a few glitches and hiccups. That’s just how it goes with a free conference where presenters volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Some people aren’t comfortable doing a presentation while wearing headphones and a mic, so we don’t force them to use it. We do the best that we can with what we have available to us.

Will I be offended by anything during CMEpalooza?
There is a 99.9% chance that I will be drinking a beverage of an alcoholic nature during CME Pop Trivia (4:00 pm ET), so if that offends you, then yes, I guess. There also might be some Rock and/or Roll music playing, so plan accordingly.











What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, like, immediately. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a co-worker who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here she is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.

Haiku Me Baby One More Time: It’s CMEpalooza Haiku!

palooza haiku
back for at least one more time
but probably more

coming up next week
cmepalooza fall
online and awesome

9 AM ET – The Case of the Rejected Grant Request: A CMEpalooza Whodunit

you like mysteries?
here’s one: the case of the
missing syllable

10 AM ET – Surviving 2020: How COVID-19 and Social Justice Issues Impact the Health of Under-Represented Communities

this stellar panel
will help you survive the year
no murder hornets

11 AM ET – The 5-Year 5-Month Plan

five year predictions
will be as successful as
a fork stirring soup

Noon ET – Industry Updates & Supporter Positioning: Building Long-term Competencies, Agility, & Resilience

oh to be a fly
on the IACE meeting wall
this is your one shot

1 PM ET – The CME Dictionary

goal: define words like
needs assessment, spaced learning
terms of endearment

2 PM ET – Program Managers: We Get the Job Done!

when the going gets
tough the tough stop and call a
program manager

3 PM ET – The CE Report Card: Rating the Industry Performance in a Virtual World

hey, how you doin’
asked joey tribbiani
these guys will tell us

4 PM ET – CME Pop Trivia

pop goes trivia
because trivia goes pop
and CME too


three precious metals
but if you want a haiku
it’s gold or silver


PER translates
science of medicine to
art of patient care

a better poet
would rhyme john ruggiero with

president tim hayes
Academic CME
four time gold sponsor


Projects in Knowledge
is a much better name than
Ignorance Projects

PlatformQ is not
the same as AvenueQ
there are no puppets

If you like pina
and love the rain
write me and Medscape

hey-o Healio
a silver sponsor this year
very coolio

what did the shopper
say to the supermarket
Haymarket…get it?

when two become one
back for more haiku

Who Wants to Trivia?

Like a mother hen gathering her chicks around her, I love all of my CMEpalooza sessions with equal affection. But I will admit that I do have a special fondness for whatever session ends up in the last slot of the day. That slot always has the toughest row to hoe and regardless of topic or start time, always has the fewest number of viewers. It has always been the case with live conferences and it is the case with virtual conferences, too. (Note from Scott: Derek, stop giving away our secrets!)

With that in mind, I would like to give a plug for everyone to stick around for the last session of CMEpalooza Fall 2020: CME Pop Trivia! I, Derek (not Scott), will serve as the all-knowing Quizmaster for four rounds of CME trivia…and a sprinkling of pop culture, too. I have requested the services of four noble Questionmasters to develop four questions in four topics and they all graciously accepted.

  • From Questionmaster Brian McGowan: CME History
  • From Questionmaster Scott Gorman: ACCME Commendation Criteria
  • From Questionmaster Tricia Wilson: Standards for Commercial Support
  • From Questionmaster Jon Simmons: Your Editor’s Top Pet Peeves About Your Proposals

After each set of 4 questions, there will be an extra question based on some piece of arcane pop culture trivia that will have no relation to anything else. Why? Because it’s fun!

There will be music. Why? Because it’s fun!

There will be drinking. Why? Because it’s fun!

Lengthy side note: It is the last session at the end of what is always a long day, so yes, I plan to take advantage of the situation and have myself a beverage while hosting trivia. Feel free to join me.

The drink of the day will be a Manhattan (note from Scott: Yes, Derek is an old man). No need to Google a recipe when I am here to help.

My preferred Manhattan is as follows:

  • Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice
  • Add 2 oz rye (Bulleit is nice, Rittenhouse is better, and Dad’s Hat Vermouth Finish Rye is my favorite)
  • Add 1 oz sweet vermouth (Antica Formula is excellent and Dolin Rouge is also nice. I suppose you can use Rosso, too, just don’t tell me.)
  • Shake in 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Cover and shake until the shaker freezes your hands
  • Strain into a glass (you’re supposed to use a coupe glass, but seriously, who even has those?)
  • Add one, maybe even two, Luxardo cherries. DO NOT USE GENERIC MARASCHINO CHERRIES. Look, if your idea of fine dining is a 4:45 reservation at Applebees, well-done steak with ketchup, and a bottle of Bud Light, then maybe regular old Maraschino cherries are for you. Otherwise, trust me on this one and spend a few extra bucks on Luxardo. They make everything better.
  • Pro tip: after adding your cherries, scoop out a little of the cherry syrup and mix it into your drink. You will thank me later.
  • Grab your drink and get ready for trivia!

There will be prizes. Why? Because of the generous support from our prize sponsor Haymarket! (First place gets a $250 Amazon gift card. Second place gets $150. Third place gets $100.)

We will be using Poll Everywhere, so if you want to be super-prepared, you can go ahead and download the Poll Everywhere app.

I really hope that some/many/all of you can join. It should be a fun time and who knows? You might even learn something.

Setting Expectations

On March 12, the beginning of the pandemic lockdown in Philadelphia, I posted the following on Facebook:

Three weeks later:

Six months later (note from Scott: technically, five and a half, but whatever) and these same people are still in our houses, which is why I am hear to talk to you about setting appropriate expectations for the day of CMEpalooza, now less than a month away (Wednesday, October 14, if you forgot).

Let’s all be honest and admit that there is a nonzero chance that one of the following things will happen during any virtual conference:

  • A panelist’s video or audio feed glitches because they have multiple kids at home sucking up all the bandwidth with virtual school or watching episodes of Cobra Kai or both at the same time (both of my kids will be home for virtual school during CMEpalooza. Say a little prayer for me and Verizon FIOS on October 14.)
  • A viewer watching the livestream at home has their video start buffering or pausing. We sometimes get complaints about this in the eval comments, so it’s time for a little come-to-Jesus moment: It’s not us, it’s you. If the video you are watching starts buffering, it’s because of an issue with your internet…probably because you have multiple kids at home sucking up all the bandwidth with virtual school or watching episodes of Cobra Kai or both at the same time.
  • Someone’s kid/spouse/pet appears on screen because they didn’t realize or didn’t care that there was a video call going on. Frankly, at this point I’m disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Seriously, when was the last time someone’s cute kid or pet showed up on screen and it didn’t make you smile? We should start making it a requirement.
  • Power outage. It happens. Fortunately we can usually just have people use their phone and everything is fine. It’s not yet happened to Scott or me, but we have had some close calls (my power went out for 15 minutes one year.) My neighbors are currently having an addition put on to the back of their house and the idiots gentlemen working there have already cut our power once.

One of the unexpected pleasantries that has evolved from the bloom of pandemic-initiated virtual programming is that it has made me feel much better about the production value of CMEpalooza. Watching media monoliths like ESPN and CNN experience the exact same technical issues that we sometimes have during CMEpalooza has definitely been a boost to my self-esteem.

There will be glitches. There will be interruptions. There will be mistakes. The show will go on and it will be fine.

Because I know it will annoy Scott, I wrote a haiku to summarize the moral of this post. I call it Pandemic Haiku.

it’s fine it’s fine it’s
fine it’s fine it’s fine it’s fine
everything’s fine

(note from Scott: Don’t tell Derek, but once again he failed to count syllables properly — check line 3, doofus — so this is not technically a haiku and I am OK with it)

(note from Derek: You come at the king, you best not miss https://www.howmanysyllables.com/words/everything’s)

Feeding CMEpalooza

[3 months ago]

Derek and Scott return to their secret lair somewhere in northwest Philadelphia, last visited in March, to discuss Derek’s latest idea for CMEpalooza.

Scott: “OK, I’m here. What?”

Derek: “Now here me out on this, but what if we have a meal for everyone?”

Scott: [stares directly at Derek, a look of profound incredulity on his face]

Derek: “Pretty good idea, right?? I knew you would love it.”

Scott: [opens mouth to talk but says nothing as it continues to hang open]

Derek: “Go ahead — you can tell me how much you love it.”

Scott: “Um, don’t we run a virtual conference?”

Derek: “Correct!”

Scott: “There are no people physically here.”

Derek: “Yes.”

Scott: “There are no meals.”

Derek: “Right.”

Scott: [stands up to leave]

Derek: “No no no no no no….wait! Wait! Grubhub! Grubhub!”

Scott: [glaring] “What?’

Derek: [talking fast] “We can give everyone Grubhub vouchers. They’re only good for the day of the conference and people can use them to buy food to eat while watching a session.”

Scott: [slowly sits back down]: “That is…not a terrible idea. We can’t afford to send every participant who watches a voucher, though.”

Derek: “Maybe we can add it to the Sponsorship Prospectus and ask some of our amazing sponsors (who will definitely not read this in a blog post 3 months in the future) if they would like to support it.”

Scott: [folding his arms] “This is actually a pretty good idea. I like it.”

Derek: “Thank you.”

Scott: [eyeing Derek suspiciously] “What else?”

Derek: “Nothing.”

Scott: [still looking doubtful] “Really?”

Derek:“…so about that Sixers post I suggested back in Mar-”

Scott: [slams door on way out] [peels out in driveway]

We are still looking for sponsors for CMEpalooza Feeds the People, which you can read about it the Sponsorship Prospectus. If you are interested in supporting it or finding out more details, please email Scott at scott@medcasewriter.com.


Educator, Teach Thyself

Why do we have CMEpalooza? Why do we have the Alliance conference? Why do we have the ACCME Newcomers’ meeting or CME Live or the Informa Connect–CBI’s Grants summit?

We have them to teach. We have them to learn. We have them to stay informed.

As CME professionals, it is resources such as these that we utilize to stay at the top of our game as we educate healthcare providers around the globe. We want and expect the most current and accurate information available. Never has this been more vital than in the middle of a pandemic where we are faced with the dual challenges of providing rapid education on a poorly understood disease and doing so via digital platforms that are unfamiliar to many.

[This is the part of the blog post where I channel my inner Grandpa Simpson and shake my fist at political clouds. If that sort of thing bothers you, now would be a good time to stop reading. I recommend clicking over to this article in Vulture that ranks every single Radiohead song.]

It has become even more important now, during a period of time where information that doesn’t align with a given individual’s world view is labeled “fake news” and ignored with no accountability. Facts, data, and research are brushed aside in favor of amplified opinions. Career politicians scoff at the advice of career infectious disease specialists. A governor denounces the notion of listening to experts for guidance in front of a nationally televised audience and is met with a collective shoulder shrug.

But we, the CME community, cannot afford to be this cavalier in our views towards data and expertise. These elements are the lifeblood of the work we do and provide the validity necessary to gain the trust of healthcare workers that rely on the education we provide. If we don’t believe in science, then science will not believe in us.

And so, I write this blog post to implore all of you – implore all of us – to educate yourself. Educate yourself so you are equipped to respond when someone questions you. Educate yourself so you have an evidence-based reason behind why you are doing what you are doing and not because, well, that’s just the way we have always done it. Educate yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.

The tagline for Dr. Jen Gunter’s blog is “Wielding the lasso of truth.” I thought this was pretty clever when I first read it 6 years ago, but it has taken on a new sense of urgency and rebellion these past few years. It is OK to be smart and it is OK to seek out those smarter than you for their advice.

CMEpalooza Fall is coming up on Wednesday, October 14 and there are going to be a lot of really smart people talking (much smarter than Scott or I. I can’t even remember my Netflix password) who can help you spin your lasso of truth. There are plenty of other resources currently available or coming soon. Here are just a few of them:

The Many Faces of CMEpalooza

First things first. If you were hiding under a rock last week (side note: who came up with this expression? Hiding under a rock. No one hides under a rock. If you tried to hide under a rock, you would be dead. Dumb.) or not paying attention because you were too busy binging HBO’s Perry Mason (fantastic), you may have missed our release of the 2020 CMEpalooza Fall agenda. I think we have a number of really great sessions, but then I always think that, so you should check it out yourself.

And speaking of really great sessions, the CMEpalooza archive has been updated to include all of the sessions from CMEpalooza Spring (note from Scott: Never let it be said that Derek doesn’t work quickly. It’s only been, oh, 4 months since the Spring event). It is crazy how many sessions are in the archive now. I could count them all up and tell you exactly how many there are, but…I don’t feel like it. Let’s just go with an official designation of “a lot.”

For a visual representation of the amount of sessions Scott and I have produced, here is a collage of pictures of Scott or me from every session.

Because it is hilarious, each of these pictures is a screenshot of when Scott or I first appears on screen. A few things I noticed:

  • Scott has his eyes closed at least five times. I have no idea why, but it made me LOL each time.
  • I have my mouth hanging open in multiple pics. Not sure if I started talking too early or if I’m just staring dumbly into the camera like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
  • Scott changes shirts in between sessions way more often than I realized. He is the the Lady Gaga of CMEpalooza.
  • I wore the same shirt for four different paloozas. I was mortified as I went through the pictures and realized it (“Oh no, not the same shirt again!”)

So, be sure to join us for CMEpalooza Fall on Wednesday, October 14 and find out if I break out the same shirt for a fifth palooza and count Scott’s wardrobe changes. It’s fun for the whole family.

Program Manager Power Ballad

Being a child of the ’80s, there are few things that I enjoy more than a good hair metal power ballad. The spandex, the hair, the guitar solos, the five-second screech — it all combines into a ball of cheesy goodness. Let’s do a quick Top 5 Hair Metal Power Ballads, shall we?

(In case you are baffled by the term “hair metal,” I think this picture of the band Poison sums it up pretty well.)

5. Guns N’ Roses – Patience

4. Skid Row – I Remember You

3. Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

2. Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn

1. Warrant – Heaven

The key with any top notch power ballad is to not let the plaintive wailing turn into whining. Nobody likes a whiner. White Lion’s When the Children Cry is a prime example of wailing turning to whining. It has the hair, the clothes, the soaring guitar riffs — but when the chorus kicks in, lead singer Mike Tramp’s vocals remind me of when my kids were little and cried about going to bed. It’s a little like nails on a chalkboard.

In an effort to avoid becoming the White Lion of the CME world, I’d like to offer a very cordial and pleasant reminder that today is the last day for you to recommend a program manager for our Program Managers: We Get the Job Done! session at CMEpalooza Fall on October 14. We have had a nice response so far, but welcome anyone else who has someone you would like to suggest. Just follow this link to read about it and complete the form.

And if anyone has a favorite power ballad you would like to add to my list above, please feel free to let me know in the comments. I know there are some closet Stryper, Winger, and Kix fans out there. Put on your acid-washed jean jacket with the Mötley Crüe patch and join in!


Recommend A Program Manager (Please?)

The planning for CMEpalooza Fall on Wednesday, October 14 is well underway, and to the amazement of the entire CMEpalooza staff, I manged to finalize the moderators for all of the sessions I am running before Scott finalized his. This is truly a momentous occasion as it is perhaps the first time it has happened since the very first palooza Scott and I did back in the fall of 2014.  For those of you wondering if we really make this a competition, I tell you the same thing I tell my wife whenever she asks me the same question: Everything is a competition. Sometimes I just don’t tell you.

(note from Scott: I actually have had my moderators in place for 6 weeks. I just didn’t say anything to Derek. The guy needed a win. I am tired of hearing the same story over and over about how his 7th-grade basketball team won the state CYO championship).

One of the sessions I am particularly excited about is one that comes directly from a suggestion we received on our most recent post-CMEpalooza survey: Program Managers: We Get the Job Done! As you can probably infer from the title, the session will be focused on providing participants with a number of program management tips, best practices, workflows, etc., that program managers (heretofore abbreviated to “PMs” for convenience. Also because I’m never sure if it should be “program” or “project” manager, and this covers both bases) of all levels can utilize.

Christina Hosmer-Gallo, Senior Vice President of Educational Development at Med Learning Group, will be moderating the session, and we are hoping to have a panel of experienced program managers joining in on the conversation. Here is our current conundrum: PMs are often the behind-the-scenes kinds of folks who don’t get a lot of exposure to the broader CME community. So we don’t really know a lot of the ones who are really, really good at what they do (and preferably aren’t camera shy).

So what’s the solution? Well, you are, my good friend. As part of the process for putting the panel together, Christina and I would love to get some recommendations from the CME community for PMs you have worked with who would potentially be a good fit for this session. It can be someone you have worked with in a partnership, someone who works for your organization, or someone you talked to at a conference and thought was really smart. Or you can recommend yourself — we don’t mind!

You can use the form below to submit your recommendation. We will leave it up for a week and make the deadline the end of the day on Monday, July 27. We will take another week to review the recommendations and then reach out to the individuals we think will make the best panel (our goal is to have a panel of 3 or 4). Make sense?

If for any reason you prefer to email me rather than fill out the form below, you can send your recommendation to thecmeguy@gmail.com.