CMEpalooza Bingo!! prize drawing winners

We held our prize drawing for CMEpalooza Bingo!! this morning. It was quite the event – you may have seen it on your local news channel. We hired the legendary Wink Martindale to be our Master of Ceremonies and brought in one of those giant wire barrels to spin around with all of our winning entries.

It was drizzling outside a bit, but I still estimate we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 attendees for the event – certainly way way more than any other promotional drawing that has ever been held in the United States in the last 100 years. I won’t believe any photos you may have that prove otherwise.

Anyway, here are our winners:

GRAND PRIZE ($100 Amazon gift card)

  • Ellen F. Simes, Simes Consulting

SECOND PRIZES ($50 Amazon gift cards)

  • Karin Pearson, Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Amanda Glazar, Kynectiv
  • Sara Brykalski, ACHL
  • Lindsey Schneider, Minnesota Medical Association

THIRD PRIZES ($25 Amazon gift cards)

  • Sandy Mardant, A.D.A.M.
  • Betty Riggs, PharmApprise Consulting
  • Bonnie J. Bixler, Penn State College of Medicine
  • Melissa Hicks, Patient Advocate
  • Danielle DuFour, Bellin Health Systems, Inc.
  • Joanne Wise, University at Albany School of Public Health
  • Kristi J. English, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Stacy A. Snyder, Penn State College of Medicine

For anyone who may be interested in all of the answers to our game board, you can find them by clicking on this link. Thanks again to everyone who participated!

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

Last Call for CMEpalooza Bingo!!

Quick reminder that the entry window for CMEpalooza Bingo!! closes tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3:45 p.m. Here is a link to the various forms you will need to play. It’s 5 minutes (at most) and it’s free money – what more do you want?

Here is what others have said about CMEpalooza Bingo!! so far this year:

“It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on. It’s probably pretty fun with your clothes off too, but I didn’t try that since I’m at work and all. Maybe next year.”

“I had no idea of all of the interesting work the CMEpalooza Fall sponsors are doing. They truly are the best of the best.”

“We turned this into a huge family gathering. Me, my husband, my 3 kids, my mother-in-law, my aunt Sally, and our pet Felix cat all sat down and played CMEpalooza Bingo!! for hours. We couldn’t get enough. Thanks Scott and Derek!”

See, it’s not just me who wants you to play CMEpalooza Bingo!! The general public is basically begging you to let your hair down and have some fun. SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!

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…

CMEpalooza Bingo!! It’s Back (with ’80s Themed Trivia!)

Derek loves it when I give away our hard-earned money (or is it hardly earned money? I get confused sometimes).

But our CMEpalooza sponsor events are always a personal highlight. Yes, it’s nice to be the giver of good news to our winners, and it’s even kinda fun to put together the contest materials. But I also appreciate being forced to take time away from the day-to-day to see the varied kind of work that our sponsors are doing and to get my creative juices flowing.

Let’s face it – we all get stuck in a professional rut from time to time, churning out the same ideas over and over. Consider our Fall sponsor event your chance to take some time to do some professional research and maybe even win some money at the same time.

Starting today, CMEpalooza Bingo!! is back for the second consecutive year. We’re giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards (there are 13 total prizes — first prize is $100 with other prizes of $50 and $25). To win, you simply need to do some very simple research about a handful of our CMEpalooza Fall sponsors.

The rules are simple.

  • There are a few documents you’ll need to download and/or print out — The bingo card, the question sheet, and the answer form. Don’t worry – we’ve compiled these into one document that you can print out or download. You can get everything you need by clicking on this link. If you want the CMEpalooza Bingo!! Answer Form as a Word document you can write on, we’ve got that right here for you.
  • On the bingo card, you’ll see that each CMEpalooza Fall sponsor has been assigned a specific slot (there are a few slots with ’80 Trivia on there to fill out the card – you’ll have to excuse my odd tastes in some cases). Each slot has coordinates listed in the upper left-hand corner. This is important to note as you are filling out the Answer Form.
  • To get the answer to the questions, you’ll probably need to visit some of our sponsor websites. You can find direct links to all of them on the CMEpalooza Fall sponsor page.
  • We’re not cruel, so we won’t make you complete the entire card. Simply make one Bingo by answering 5 questions that complete either a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line (just like, you know, as in a Bingo game). Feel free to visit any additional sponsor sites if you really want to, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Fill out the Answer Form and return it to me via email ( by our deadline of Wednesday, October 11 at 3:45 p.m. Why 3:45 p.m.? I have no idea. Roll with me people.

We had a really good response to CMEpalooza Bingo!! last fall, but let’s face it, the CME community ain’t that big. If you successfully complete and submit a finished game card to me, your chances of winning are pretty good.

The answers to all of these questions can be found very easily on every one of the Sponsors sites. I didn’t come up with questions that will require a deep search – pretty much everything is 1 click away, at most. It takes, in all honesty, 5 minutes to complete a game board.

So get cracking.

A Letter to Our Fans

Dear CMEpalooza Groupie,

Camp is great. I like my new friends. The food stinks. We threw our counselor in the pool today. I hit the bulls-eye in archery.

And now that you are paying attention, it’s your turn to write a letter to our CME Advice Columnists so that they can help during our CMEpalooza Fall session.

What has you corporately confused, confounded, or cantankerous?

Do you often find yourself professionally perplexed, perturbed, or petulant?

Perhaps you simply want to complement my awesome, amazing, and astounding use of alliteration this morning?

It’s all fair game (well, most of it is). Just submit your letter in the form below and wait until Wednesday, October 18 to get the answers from our expert panel. Deadline to send in your letter – no stamp needed! – is this Friday (September 29).

Looking for CME Advice? Step Right Up

There are days — too many days — when we all come to work and have to bite our tongues or roll our eyes or slam our door in frustration when something happens that just MAKES US WANT TO EXPLODE.

Maybe it’s that co-worker who calls out “sick” for the 10th time this month, and every one of those days just happens to include a warm, sunny afternoon (and miraculously, she’s always better by the next morning). Maybe it’s that educational partner who refuses to answer email after email, forcing timelines to shift into summer, then fall, then winter. Maybe it’s that colleague who insists on writing a 25-page outcomes report for that 15-minute educational activity, squeezing out every last drop of picayune data because “it’s what funders expect.”

Sure, you could schedule time with a psychiatrist every week to talk through these issues, drop a couple thousand dollars each year, and perhaps get some clarity into how to deal with your professional nemesis. But in CMEpalooza land, as always, we have a FREE solution for you.

It’s our brand-new CMEpalooza Fall session – “The CME Advice Columnists.” What we’ve done is gather some of the smartest and most resilient people in our field, each representing a different specialty of the CME world — accreditation, outcomes, educational design, and grant development/partnerships — on an all-star panel to chew on that issue that is just really, really eating at you right now.

We all remember the dynamic duo of Dear Abby and Ann Landers. This is sorta kinda the same thing. You write us a short letter describing your issue, the mental gymnastics you are going through each day, and hopefully wrap things up with a question or two you’d like answered. Our panel then talks through their advice during our CMEpalooza Fall session.

Here is an example of a letter they might consider (as you’ll see, this clearly has no identifying elements that tie to any specific individual):

Dear CME Advice Columnists,

I have done a lot of work on this big event for a number of years in conjunction with another semi-prominent member of the CME community. Hmm, how do I put this gently? The dude is weird. He has this obsession with ’80s music, proudly and loudly tells everyone he meets that he’s “such an introvert,” and punctuates every conversation and email with the phrase, “Trust the Process.”

It’s not that this guy doesn’t have his redeeming qualities, but it’s becoming increasingly painful to have to suffer through his daily missives that clog my inbox. How do I politely tell him that he needs to keep our interactions more professional and focused on, you know, actual work?


Trust the Results 

Of course, these letters can be (and probably should be) anonymous. If you want to fudge some of the facts, that’s totally fine as well. But we do truly hope our panel can be helpful in solving some of the common problems that plague CME professionals.

Now here comes the hard part – this session won’t be a success without your help (well, unless you all want to hear about all of Derek and my issues). We’re asking our CMEpalooza friends — that’s you– to write letters to our advice columnists regarding whatever professional issue you are currently struggling with. Note that we specified professional issues. Your problems with your meddling mother-in-law are for a different forum.

Our submission form is below – again, since this is anonymous, I don’t want anyone to feel that you need to list your name or even send me an email. Really, we don’t care who the letters come from, as long as they focus on real-world issues that would be interesting to discuss.

Our audience did pretty well submitting questions for our no-holds barred interview with Graham McMahon, so we’re hoping you can rally again this week. We’ll keep this open until the end of September (that’s Saturday the 30th).

Have fun with this everyone. And thanks in advance.

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.)

CMEpalooza Greatest Hits: The Early Years

Reader Alert: Here comes another ’80s nostalgia piece. We know how you love them.

But before I begin, a reminder from Derek – if you have a question (or multiple questions) you’d like ACCME president Graham McMahon to field during his CMEpalooza Fall no-holds barred interview, please go to this link and send something in:

Deadline is tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 12).

And now to rip another page from my childhood…

Anyone over the age of, say, 30, probably remembers these things we used to call “albums.” They were on “records” and then on “tapes” and then finally, “CDs.” Why did I just put everything in quotes? I have no idea.

But anyway, these albums were a compilation of a singer or band’s most recent creations. Records would have an A and B side, with perhaps 5 or 6 songs on each side. If you had an album on cassette, it would take 45 minutes to fast forward through that 8-minute love ballad so that you could get to that catchy tune you just heard on the radio 10 minutes ago but JUST COULDN’T WAIT to hear again. The advent of CDs meant that you would hear the music with crystal clear audio for at least 1 week until your college roommate scratched the CD while using it as a coaster, therefore causing it to skip at the 1:25 mark of your favorite Yes tune (that would be Roundabout [note from Derek: this may be the first thing we have ever agreed on]).

Now where was I?

Oh right, albums. So anyway, there was this crazy phenomenon in the 80s called the “Greatest Hits” album (uh, oh, there are those quotes again). What a singer or band would do is, with basically zero work required, select a dozen or more of their most popular songs and compile them on a Greatest Hits album that their fans would gobble up by the millions. The best part is that you didn’t even have to have greatest hits (plural) to put out a Greatest Hits album – only one hit (singular) was enough!

Don’t believe me? Flock of Seagulls has a Greatest Hits album that has 36 songs! 36 fricking songs! Flock of Seagulls! Still love the hairdos boys.

Want more? Here is the Greatest Hits album from Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Before you Frankie-o-philes start to complain, I have one word for you – RELAX (rimshot).

Now don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with the general idea of Greatest Hits albums. They were a great way to accumulate the best songs from those singers or bands you sorta kinda liked but not enough to buy all their albums. I still have plenty of Greatest Hits albums in my CD collection.

It is in that spirit of generosity that I am writing this today. No, Derek and I are not going to replacing next month’s CMEpalooza Fall with a Greatest Hits edition where we simply replay the best sessions of the past – we’re lazy, but not that lazy.

But we do recognize that our current Archives are getting rather beefy and for people looking for a really useful session, it can be hard to figure out which sessions are worth the time. So as a public service, here are Derek and my selections for CMEpalooza Greatest Hits: The Early Years, along with some very brief commentary:

Scott’s “Greatest Hits”

Derek’s “Greatest Hits”

  • CME Pecha Kucha (2015) – I love all the Pecha Kuchas/Puntua Lortus, but the first one holds a special place in my heart because I had no idea if it would actually work, everyone did a great job, and Audrie Turnow literally made my jaw drop with how fantastic her presentation was. That doesn’t happen very often.
  • The Future of CME: What Will CME/CPD Look Like in 5-10 Years? (2014) – The very first session of the first “real” CMEpalooza and we somehow managed to get this amazing panel to participate and chat about the future of CME. This is when I started to think we might be on to something…
  • CME Mythbusters (2016) – Brian McGowan is always one of my favorite presenters, but I thought he really took things to the next level with this CME version of MythBusters. Anytime there’s an explosion involved in a presentation, it’s going to make my Greatest Hits.
  • Why Did My Grant Request Get Rejected? (2015) – Our grantor sessions are always popular, but I picked this one mostly for the title. No B.S. and right to the point.
  • Tech Tools We Can’t Live Without (2014) – Maybe the session I received the most comments about, due mostly to the lead-off presentation from Tom Zosh and his iPhone simulation (no offense to the other panelists. You guys were great, too.) A cool screenshare presentation plus some great tips, too!

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!