CMEpalooza Goes to Overnight Camp (Nostalgia Alert)

As a Jewish kid who grew up in the Northeast, I spent many a summer at overnight camp. Best time of my life. You get to play sports all day, eat as much sugar cereal as you want at breakfast (another bowl of Cocoa Krispies? Don’t mind if I do), and, of course, no parents telling you what to do for 8 whole weeks!

I understand that a lot of you – well, probably just about all of you – don’t get the beauty of overnight camp. I have tried explaining to my Irish Catholic wife many times how overnight camp is great for both kids and parents (another glass of wine with dinner out on a random Wednesday night? Don’t mind if I do), but I don’t know that she totally gets it.

Overnight camp was where I learned how to make a bed with hospital corners (and shoot a rifle – yes, they had a rifle range for 9-year-olds back in those days. Can you imagine?), where I found out what it means to be independent (it’s awesome), and, of course, where I kissed my first girl (thank you Maggie Cohen).

(Coming back around to make this relevant…slowly…wait for it…)

Every morning at overnight camp, we would have an assembly where one of the camp directors would tell everyone very briefly what important things were happening outside of our little world – ie, did the Phillies win last night? – and go over what sorts of activities were planned for that day. One of the things that stuck with me these many years later is his daily description.

“We have a bevy, a plethora, a cornucopia, perhaps even a mélange of activities for everyone today…”

Since I work with words, I always liked that, and it stuck with me.

(Making the connection…soon…almost…here we go…)

One of the most enjoyable things about putting together the agenda for our biannual CMEpalooza events is coming up with groups of potential faculty members. Both Derek and I have been around the CME circles for long enough that we know a goodly number of folks in the industry, and yet there are always plenty of new names and faces we are introduced to through CMEpalooza. I always look forward to building new relationships and tapping into the brainpower of a broader community as we prepare and produce our live broadcasts.

We presented our Spring agenda last week, which boasts both a bevy of sessions and a plethora of talented panelists. We made some modifications to our agenda development process this spring, and while it put a bit more of the burden onto Derek and I during the development process, we think it’ll be worth it when you join us on Wednesday, April 19. You’ll be exposed to a cornucopia of new ideas and hopefully be provided with a mélange of building blocks to improve your day-to-day experience as a CME professional.

You bring the S’mores, and I’ll provide the left-handed smoke shifter (and if you get that obscure overnight camp reference, you let me know).

CMEpalooza Presents…Our 2017 Spring Agenda!

Quick show of hands: Who would like to read another one of my rants about people who continue to write “CMEpalooza” incorrectly (you know who you are, by the way)?

OK…OK, nobody.

Who would like to read 5,000 words from Scott breaking down all the sessions in the CMEpalooza archive into an NCAA March Madness-style bracket, complete with a final CMEpalooza Session National Champion?

OK…OK, I see one guy in the back with his hand rai-…no…no, he was just scratching his nose.

And who would like me to just get to the agenda?

That’s what I thought. Let’s get right to the agenda then. Below is the (mostly) final agenda for CMEpalooza Spring. We might have a few edits or updates between now and April 19, but this is pretty much it. We’re really thrilled with our lineup and think it will be our best CMEpalooza, yet. Onward!

9 a.m. ET
Breakfast Session Sponsored by Prova Education

Topic and Speakers TBA

10 a.m. ET
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Learning Preferences of Healthcare Providers
How can we be sure that we are providing our audience with the best formats for learning? This session will provide answers to all our burning questions around how HCPs learn through an engaging interview with a well-respected family physician. He is a prolific educator and has advised many CME providers on the development of certified education. The interview will discuss different formats used in CME that are engaging to a HCP audience and how learners prefer to receive their education. This will then be tied to the type of data we as CME providers can glean from these different educational formats.

Amanda Glazar, PhD, CHCP, Director, Medical Education, Kynectiv

Paul Doghramji, MD, Family Physician, Collegeville Family Practice

11 a.m. ET
Two Scoops of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Please!
CME activities have become too vanilla. Redundancy abounds and it has become more and more difficult to differentiate one program from another. What does it take to be truly innovative? What are groups doing to separate themselves from the masses? This panel of commercial supporters will discuss what they look for in a grant proposal, the elements that make an activity stand out from the crowd, and provide examples of innovation in education that they have funded recently. Learn how to turn your vanilla program into two scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough!

Karen Roy, MSc, Principal and Co-founder, infograph-ed, LLC, Principal, Ardgillan Group, LLC

Angelo Carter, PharmD, Director, Grant Officer, Global Medical Grants and Research Collaborations, Pfizer
Helen Kostarides, Consultant, Medical Education Grants – Oncology, Lilly Grant Office, Eli Lilly and Company
Greselda Butler, CHCP, Senior Manager, Grants and Contributions, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc

Noon ET
Lunchtime Session Sponsored by Genentech

Forays into the Four “A’s”: Promoting Systems-Based Changes in CME
After the identification of a system-based educational gap, providers are typically challenged with Activating, Advancing, Aspiring toward and/or Allocating resources to help address and close that gap. This is the reason why The Expanded Learning Model for Systems (TELMS) was developed to serve as adjunct to existing learning models. In this session, provider representatives will provide examples of specific initiatives that tackled one or more of these challenges in a system-based setting and offer suggestions on how to avoid potential pitfalls that can trip up similarly proposed initiatives.

John Ruggiero, PhD, Associate Director, Genentech U.S. Medical Affairs, Learning & Clinical Integration

Donna Harris, Senior Director, US/Global Education, Med-IQ, LLC
Caroline O. Robinson, PhD, Senior Director of Learning and Analytics, Prime Education
Linda Gracie-King, Managing Partner/Co-Founder, Axis Medical Education
Matthew Frese, General Manager, MedLearningGroup
Rob Braun, Senior Director, Medscape Education
Pamela Peters, PhD, Director of Quality and Strategy, Medscape Education

1 p.m. ET
Networking with the Best of Them: How to Make Friends and Influence People
As we work to develop educational interventions that encourage our clinician learners to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams, it is pXXXrudent that we also do this within our own organizations. Within most of our organizations, networking intra-departmentally and cross-departmentally is critical, as is doing so between CE providers, industry, and other stakeholders. As such, we have all witnessed the fruit borne out when networking has been optimized and the stank of when it has not. This session will provide useful tips from seasoned CE professionals on how to make friends and influence people as we all strive to implement better CE/CPD.

Monique Johnson, MD, CHCP, Director, Medical Affairs, Imedex
Susan Yarbrough, CHCP, Director, Continuing Professional Development, Imedex
Allison Kickel, CHCP, Senior Director, Business Development, Imedex

2 p.m. ET
What is Data Visualization and How Can I Apply It?

Is there any room for improvement in how you present data and information in a succinct and digestible fashion? For most if not all of us, the answer is YES! Providers and supporters can all benefit from the use and understanding of Data Visualization (“data viz”) techniques and tools. Visual processing plays a large role in how human beings experience the world, and the integration of visual messages that are easily interpreted with minimal cognitive stress can tremendously help in message communication. In this moderated panel, we will review some basic data viz concepts and techniques, review case studies and hear from different stakeholders in the CEHP community who have benefited from the use of data viz in their communications.

Anne Roc, PhD, Senior Medical Director, PlatformQ Health Education

Bhaval Shah, PhD, Principal (Creative) and Co-founder, infograph-ed, LLC
Julia Shklovskaya, MPA, Senior Manager, Independent Medical Education and Medical External Affairs, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Lauren Welch, MA, Vice President, Outcomes and Accreditation, Med Learning Group

3 p.m. ET
Is That Compliant? Separating Fact from Fiction in Accredited CME
Can the supporter have a copy of the participant list from the program? Does the medical director who sits in the office next to mine qualify as a non-biased reviewer to resolve a conflict of interest? Can this faculty member with a conflict of interest disclosure 3 pages long serve as the course chair? What if the answer to these questions was “Yes, yes, and yes,” but at the same time “Probably not a good idea”? There is an incredible amount of misperception and misunderstanding about what does and does not comply with ACCME criteria. Much of this may be due to fear of rules that do not exist and an understandable abundance of caution. This session will explore some of the difficult-to-answer questions in CME compliance and provide clarity between what is compliant, non-compliant, and compliant-but-a-bad-idea.

Michael Baffuto, CHCP, President, Integrity Continuing Education

Brooke Taylor, Assistant Dean for Continuing Medical Education, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Mindi Daiga, MBA, VP, CME Compliance and Operations, Pri-Med
Beth Brillinger, CHCP, Director of Accreditation, CME Outfitters, LLC

4 p.m. ET
Celebrating Our Mistakes: A Retrospective Analysis of “What Went Wrong”
We celebrate our successes in work and in life – applying for awards, highlighting our breakthroughs in grant proposals – that all help us get through the day. But it’s often in our failures that we learn the most that adapt our approaches for the future. This case-based session will retrospectively examine several “failures” of our team of presenters, providing insight into why these initiatives failed and what they and others can learn from those failures.

Scott Bradbury, Director of E-Learning, American Academy of Pediatrics

Mary Ales, Executive Director, Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association
Erica Klopp, Director, Continuing Education, Reading Health System
Ellen L. Cohen, Cert.Ed., Dip.Ed., CHCP, Director, CME Accreditation & Maintenance of Certification at American College of Cardiology

Our CMEpalooza Company Spotlight Winner

With all of the hullabaloo at CMEpalooza headquarters regarding Monday morning’s drawing for the winner of our Spring Company Spotlight, it has come to my attention that I forgot to inform everyone of the lucky winner. It was Global Academy for Medical Education. Congrats, folks.

If you are desperate need of entertainment this morning, you can watch a replay of the drawing here. Derek is a weird shade of blue as he has his usual technological struggles.

Our external monitors from PricewaterhouseCoopers are just out of the picture over my left shoulder, but they have signed an attestation as to the winning entry. There apparently is some sort of controversy that has nothing to do with CMEpalooza regarding the work of these folks, but rest assured that their signature on a piece of paper means a lot to us!

More info coming soon on exactly what this Spotlight event is all about and when it will be held.


We Need To Have A Chat About CMEpalooza

Hey gang! Derek here. I wanted to have a little chat with all of you about CMEpalooza. Not the actual Spring event, mind you. Until we have the agenda totally set (we’re almost there), we don’t have much more to tell you about it. No, I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend lately, and I wanted to bring it to a quick end. I’m here to talk to you about the word “CMEpalooza.”

Here’s the thing — it’s”CMEpalooza.” It’s not “CMEPalooza” or “CMEPALOOZA” or…(ugh)…”CME palooza.” It’s one word with the first three letters capitalized. It’s a mash up of “CME” and “palooza.” It’s a palooza of CME. It’s CMEpalooza.

In one of the first emails Scott sent me when we first started working on CMEpalooza together, he referred to it as “CMEPalooza.” I responded to him with a threat of fisticuffs if he ever spelled it that way again. It’s one of the few arguments I’ve ever won with him. To be fair, most of our arguments rarely extend beyond this exchange:

Me: Hey, should we try this?
Scott: No.
Me: Why not?
Scott: Because it’s dumb.
Me: Good point.

So, winning this argument was no great feat. Still, I even had “CMEpalooza” t-shirts made. See?


What I’m trying to-…wait a minute. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That’s right — CMEPALOOZA T-SHIRT CANNON AT THE NEXT ALLIANCE CONFERENCE!!! I can see it now. The first day’s keynote speaker finishes up and we’re just about ready to break for the first round of plenary sessions, when all of a sudden a loud siren begins to sound, I run onto the stage with a massive t-shirt cannon while Scott grabs the microphone and yells out “WHO WANTS A T-SHIRT?!?” The crowd goes wild as  Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”  blares overhead and I begin firing t-shirts left and right. Man, that would be great.


Where was I? Oh, right — just remember: If you’re writing it out, it’s “CMEpalooza.” All one word, no capital “P.” Now, does anyone know where I can rent a t-shirt cannon for cheap?

CMEpalooza Spotlight: Drawing Alert!

Somewhere in the not-so-fine print of the CMEpalooza 2017 Sponsorship prospectus is this little wrinkle, “NEW IN 2017: All silver sponsors receive an entry in our drawing for a FREE CMEpalooza Company Spotlight.” 

Honestly, part of me included this because I feel bad for Derek. CMEpalooza Spotlight was his baby way back in the infancy of CMEpalooza, and it simply never caught on. But there is also a part of me who thought that it was actually a pretty interesting idea that shouldn’t just die on the vine.

In June 2015, we had one 30-minute pilot broadcast with Educational Measures that was well attended and I thought was pretty darn interesting, but poof, no one signed up for another. As with many innovations, CMEpalooza Spotlight appears to need a little push to get it rolling downhill, which is why we added that little perk to our higher tiers of sponsorship this year.

We’ll be holding our CMEpalooza Spring Company Spotlight drawing on Monday (held in an über secret location that will probably be leaked to the media by one of our disgruntled interns in an hour or so). Consider this a final reminder to any organizations on the fence about a premium sponsorship – if you want in, you need to let us know ASAP if you want to qualify for this drawing. We currently have 2 Gold sponsors and 4 Silver sponsors for our Spring event, which leaves room for 2 more Silver sponsors.

Once we have selected a winner in our random drawing, we’ll start putting the wheels in motion for the Spotlight broadcast itself and provide everyone with more details.

CMEpalooza Spring Agenda: Voting Results (Duck!)

Another election fraught with suspense is complete. And unlike some of our democracy’s more recent transitions that were accompanied by a consensus of love and unity, this one is unfortunately likely to be fraught with hand-wringing and controversy. That’s just what happens when you have so many worthy ideas that get left behind.

This is the first year where we’re releasing the full voting results from our Spring process. Because there were no names attached to any of the proposals (and some — including the overall laggard — came directly from Derek or I), we’re hoping that no one’s personal feelings are hurt and that our overall audience can see just how close some of these votes were.

When our Polling Stations locked their doors last Friday night, 222 ballots had been cast, far exceeding Derek’s prediction of “2” and even slightly bettering my more rosy expectation of “200.”

Thanks to everyone who took advantage of the CMEpalooza democracy to chime in.

We understand that your favorite candidates likely didn’t all win, and we sympathize with you. Our interns have been instructed to stay as late as they need to tonight and every other night this month taking calls from angry voters. We promise that your concerns will be heard.

With that, here are the results (winning sessions are in BOLD):

Incorporating Cost-Effective Creativity Into Outcomes Design – 24.9%
What is Data Visualization, and How Can I Apply It to CME Activities? – 40.7%
Project Outcomes – 34.4%

An External Perspective on Educational Design in Adult Learning – 14.0%
Does Innovation in Educational Design Truly Make a Difference – 39.5%
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Learning Preferences of Healthcare Professionals – 46.5%

Celebrating Our Mistakes: A Retrospective Analysis of “What Went Wrong” – 42.1%
Taking an Innovation Risk – 34.2%
Everyone’s Favorite Character: The Disgruntled Faculty Member – 23.8%

Eliminate the BS in Outcomes Reports and Get to the Point – 23.2%
The Complaint Desk – 35%
Two Scoops of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Please – 41.9%

Achieving Accreditation with Commendation: It May be Easier Than You Think – 29.2%
Is That Compliant? Celebrating Fact from Fiction in Accredited CME – 49.7%
CME/CNE/CPE/CPD: Is There Really a Difference – 21.0%

Networking with the Best of Them: How to Make Friends and Influence People – 41.5%
A Primer for the Independent Medical Education Industry – 21.7%
The Million Person CME March – 36.7%

So now what? Derek and I will be retiring to our CMEpalooza South headquarters in the newly-refurbished Del Boca Vista luxury condominium complex and inviting potential moderators to meet with us and convince that they are responsible enough to take on the necessary duties. We expect the recruitment process to take only a few days, at which time we’ll be able to release the official times and faculty lists for each session.

In the meantime, we’ll wait for another Saturday Night Live parody of our crew. I have to admit that Bette Midler does a great Derek.

CMEpalooza Spring Poll Closes Today

Our crack interns have been busy running various scenarios this week as the votes for our CMEpalooza Spring have come pouring in.

Click here for the CMEpalooza Spring ballot

“What if we have a 3-way tie in the Outcomes category?”

“Should we be worried about that strange block of votes that apparently came in from ‘somewhere in Asia’ last night around 2 a.m.?”

“Who is going to pay the tab for the next case of Red Bull?”

You know, important stuff.

The drama and mystery ends today, when the polls for CMEpalooza Spring close at 5 p.m. ET. If you have already voted, thank you. If you haven’t, please do. We’ll announce the winning sessions early next week and start lining up moderators and panelists shortly thereafter.

Wish us luck.

Click here for the CMEpalooza Spring ballot

The Early Returns Are In

On Wednesday morning, our crack team of interns finished their work on the ballot for CMEpalooza Spring and we pushed it out to the CME world for their input. Frankly, Derek and I never quite know what sort of uptake we’re going to get with these sorts of things – as the pessimist, Derek typically moans and groans about how “we’ll be lucky to get 5 people” while I offer what I feel is a more realistic view of “perhaps 300.”

Not surprisingly, the final numbers often fall somewhere in between our glass all empty/glass all full prognostications.

You can imagine our giddiness when the numbers began quickly adding up – 50 voters in the first 2 hours, 100 by the end of the first day, 135 by the end of day 2. We’re now up to 137 138 139 voters (I told you these things change fast!), with a week still left for the laggards to chime on in. Polls close next Friday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. ET.

While our staff can see the polling numbers add up in real time (thank you Mr. Google), we prefer to keep the results close to the vest so as not to discourage any last-minute voters from chiming in. That said, here is a broad snapshot of what we’re seeing:

Truth: No single session in any category is garnering more than 50% of the vote.

Conclusion: With the help of some of our friends in the CME community, we came up with lots of potentially attractive ideas. And every single vote counts and all.

Truth: Only 1 session is garnering less than 20% of the vote (admission: it’s one of my ideas).

Conclusion: I’m not as smart or creative as Derek thinks I am.

Truth: The one session I thought would be a clear winner in the voting is, uh, not winning.

Conclusion: Maybe not such a great idea to follow my lead in laying down $1,000 on the Phillies to win the 2017 World Series (but it’s 150-1 odds people!)

Truth: Session descriptions that rank less difficult on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scale are doing better than those that rank more difficult

Conclusion: Fake truth. I totally made that up. But I’ll have our interns run an analysis just in case I am right.

Not Fake News: Vote for the CMEpalooza Spring Agenda NOW!

The title says it all, so let’s get right to it.

Click here to vote for the CMEpalooza Spring agenda!

The process is pretty simple (Should you trust the process? Yes. Yes, you should.) You will see six different categories in the survey: Outcomes, Educational Design, Case-Based Approaches, Commercial Support, Accreditation, and CME Potpourri (a deceivingly hard word to spell correctly.)

Under each category are three possible sessions (thank you to our colleagues who helped develop some of these ideas). Pick your favorite session, and only that one session, for each category. Click the SUBMIT button. That’s it.

Click here to vote for the CMEpalooza Spring agenda!

Voting will stay open until Friday, February 17 and…wait a minute. Is next Tuesday Valentine’s Day?? Uh oh. How the h-…sorry, sorry…got distracted…

Voting will stay open until Friday, February 17, and we will close it up at the end of the day. Then we will tally up the votes and the session from each category with the highest total will go on the Spring agenda. At that point, Scott and I will begin the faculty selection process.

Is that a quick turnaround to find faculty for CMEpalooza Spring? Yes, it is.

Am I a little nervous about that? I might be.

Do I blame Scott because it was his idea? Definitely.

Are we up to the task? Of course!

Now go vote (remember to hit SUBMIT)!

Click here to vote for the CMEpalooza Spring agenda!