NC-CME NEWSbrief, June 28, 2013
A groundbreaking effort is launching that could significantly impact professionals in continuing education in the health professions as well as lead health care organizations who employ certified professionals to become quality care organizations.
Recently the National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) invited several organizations that had previously never met collectively at the same “table” to discuss collaborative efforts to benefit all the organizations and ultimately the professionals working in continuing education in the health professions.
The organizations represented included the NC-CME, Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACEhp), the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME), the Association for Hospital Medical Education (AHME), the Global Alliance for Medical Education (GAME) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
“It is important to have these organizations together at the same table to discuss and work on issues of the profession,” said Scott Hershman, MD, CCMEP, president of NC-CME. “Three key collaborations were initiated, including: 1) development and definition of core skill sets and competencies for CE professionals; 2) a research grant proposal to develop an education curriculum, competency verification and measurement of improvement in quality metrics for identified healthcare organizations and 3) a pathway for membership, education and certification with discounts at each step across all of the organizations. This is a great starting point and it is our hope that, as this moves forward, other organizations with a common interest will join and help to expand the effort.”
Dr. Hershman said details are yet to be defined and agreed upon but, as a precursor, the organizations agreed to work together to develop and define the core skills sets and competencies necessary for professionals working in the field of continuing education in the health professions. Additionally, the organizations did begin the process of collaboration on a research grant proposal to help to form a foundation of how a credential or certification would improve patient care, leading to a quality organization for those who employ certified CE professionals.
“Work already has begun developing the core skill sets and competencies,” Dr. Hershman said, “and the research grant proposal has been initiated. All of the organizations agreed to continue their discussions to further develop the collaborations and further the work they initiated. We are very fortunate to have this constellation of organizations and their leadership possess the desire and ability to dedicate resources in this collaborative manner to positively impact the arena of continuing professional development and all that have responsibilities to this field.
NC-CME NEWSbrief, June 8, 2013
As many CCMEP cohorts are drawing near certification expiration, questions have arisen as to the difference between Extension of Certification (EOC) and Recertification. The NC-CME website provides details about Initial Certification, EOC and Recertification, but the summary below should be helpful as well.
Extension of Certification (EOC)
Who is it for?
Those whose initial certification is going to expire
All CCMEPs whose EOC or previous recertification is going to expire
When will I be notified about my certificate expiration?
Approximately 3 months prior to your current certificate expiration date
Approximately 3 months prior to your current certificate expiration date
How many additional certification years does it give me?
What do I need to do?
Complete the EOC worksheet documenting 12 points of education/experience earned
since the most recent certification
Option 1: Complete the CPD Portfolio documenting 10 points; if 10 points cannot
be met, you can complete performance scenarios for up to 3 points
Option 2: Sit for and pass the current CCMEP exam
When is it due?
At least 1 month prior to current certificate expiration date
Option 1: 1-3 months prior to current certificate expiration date
Option 2: 1 month prior to current certificate expiration date
What is the cost?
Option 1: $345 + $50 processing
Option 2: $400 + $50 processing
NC-CME NEWSbrief, January 28, 2013
Judy Ribble, PhD, CCMEP, Executive Director of the National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals, Inc. (NC-CME) since 2006, will be retiring at the end of January. In recognition of her dedication and commitment to founding a certification program for CME professionals, the NC-CME Board of Directors recently named Judy as Executive Director Emerita. Her successor will be Melinda Steele, M.Ed., CCMEP, FACEHP, President, Confluence Educational Consulting Inc., Lubbock, Texas.
Melinda is a familiar face to everyone in CME and hopes to pick up where Judy is leaving off and take the organization to the next level. Melinda commented, "I'm honored to move in this direction and try to fill some really big shoes". She has been president of SACME and served as Program Chairwoman for the 2012 ACEHP conference. She is also a member of the first class of CCMEPs, June 2008. “Melinda has jumped straight into the role of Executive Director and will transition seamlessly on February 1 during the Alliance conference”, stated Judy.
Plan to come and congratulate both Judy and Melinda at the NC-CME Booth-#600 during the break periods at the Conference. NC-CME NEWSbrief, June 27, 2012
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) is pleased to announce that Christopher Viereck, PhD, CCMEP, has been appointed to the Board of Directors. "Dr. Viereck has served NC-CME in important ways," said Dennis Wentz, MD, CCMEP, NC-CME President. "He participated in the Advisory Board Roundtable event in New York City in 2011 and lent his expertise to the Item Writing and Item Validation Teams to help develop Form 3 of the CCMEP exam. We are looking for innovative pathways that will raise the CCMEP credential to new levels, and Dr. Viereck will be at the forefront of that endeavor."
Dr. Viereck is Chief Scientific Officer of Improve CME, LLC, and brings a unique perspective to the Board, based on leadership positions he has held within both the pharmaceutical and medical education sections of the CME enterprise. Former VP of Medical Education at sanofi-aventis, Dr. Viereck also served as clinical research associate, clinical trial study manager, and Global Head of Medical Writing at Merck, sanofi-aventis and Bayer Schering, respectively. He holds a PhD (Magna cum Laude) in developmental neurobiology from the University of Basel, Switzerland and is a regular reviewer for Contemporary Clinical Trials. NC-CME NEWSbrief, May 21, 2012
Ever since the first class of CCMEPs received their certificates at a special event in October 2008, NC-CME has maintained the tradition of welcoming newly certified colleagues with a champagne/ginger ale toast [always donated] and the opportunity to meet the Board of Directors face-to-face in conjunction with a national gathering of CME professionals.
This year there will be a new twist: all CCMEPs are hereby challenged to encourage one or more new candidates to sit for the June and/or September exams. Subsequently, on October 10 in Baltimore, prior to the Annual Conference of the Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration, the CCMEP mentors may escort their successful mentees to the celebration where they will be photographed presenting a certificate to their newly certified colleagues. The photographs will be posted on the NC-CME website and can be downloaded following the Conference.
NC-CME President Dennis Wentz, MD, CCMEP, envisions how this will enliven the traditional welcoming ceremony: "This event has always generated an amazing sense of camaraderie within the CME community, as the new CCMEPs are acknowledged for having achieved a significant career goal. And having a tangible memento of the occasion will surely enhance the experience for them and for their mentors."
Registration ends June 10 for the June 13-30 testing period. Judy Ribble, PhD, CCMEP, Executive Director, adds: "Zero in on your candidate now and let me know when your candidate registers. We’re open to providing a whole bank of paparazzi for the occasion."
NC-CME NEWSbrief, October 3, 2011
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) has announced that 100% of eligible members of the Certified CME Professional (CCMEP) Class of September 2008 have registered for their two-year Extension of Certification (EOC). This announcement follows on the heels of the CCMEP Class of June 2008, with an 89% retention rate.
Dennis Wentz, MD, CCMEP, President of the NC-CME Board of Directors, believes that even skeptics who claimed no interest in obtaining the CCMEP designation can now rest assured that the certification program is here to stay. “The first two classes to become certified have given us a very strong message. The Board sees this as impressive evidence that the CCMEP credential is retaining its value,” says Wentz.
The Extension of Certification extends the initial 3-year certification period to 5 years for CCMEPs who fulfill EOC eligibility requirements. Notices are sent to all CCMEPs 2-3 months before their certification expires. Active CCMEPs may submit their EOC applications as soon as they receive their notices: for example, the Class of December 2008 will begin to submit EOC applications in October. Each candidate’s EOC worksheet will be reviewed and approved as meeting the eligibility criteria, which emphasize the continuous professional development of persons who develop, administer, certify, and fund continuing education activities for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
Summary of key points regarding the EOC:
- Successful candidates will receive a 2 year extension of current certification.
- An updated certificate will be mailed before the initial certification expires.
- Documentation of 12 points of education/experience earned since the most recent certification is required
- No exam is required for the EOC.
- $275 EOC fee can be paid online.
- EOC names will be posted in the "National Registry of Certified CME Professionals"
Dr. Wentz noted, "CCMEPs who allow their certification to expire will no longer be listed in the National Registry. In order to be re-instated, they will have to sit for and pass the currently-available 3-hour exam and will need to document 15 points of education and experience in the CME field within the past 3 years."
For full details visit the NC-CME website at www.nc-cme.org . Candidates who wish to sit for the CCMEP during the December 1-31 testing period may now register online at How to Register for the Extension of Certification .
NC-CME NEWSbrief, July 7, 2011
Thanks to 40 CCMEPs who volunteered their time and expertise to the project, Exam Form 3 is a wrap, ready for Beta testing in August – and the first 50 candidates to register online will pay only $345, a discount of $105 from the usual fees. NC-CME needs candidates to pilot the updated exam and you can benefit from this opportunity.
YOU can make a difference and benefit the CME community while advancing your career.
Seven Good Reasons to register for the August CCMEP exam by July 31:
- Be a leader: be the first to experience the new exam.
- It costs less: $345 vs. the regular fee of $450 [a saving of $105].
- It is given in August – no need to wait til September to become certified.
- More time to prepare - July and August are relatively slow months.
- A better test: items that “did not perform well” in Form 2 have been removed.
- The test will be freshly scored and weighted for the August cohort.
- One whole extra month of value – your certificates won’t expire until Sept 30, 2014.
- Beta-Testers and their mentors will be honored at the Alliance meeting in January.
If you have been intending to become certified, now is the best time to register. The Beta test period is limited to August 1-25. Just go to
How to Register for the CCMEP™ Exam and follow the online instructions. There is no limit to the number of candidates registering from one organization. As a Beta tester you will receive your results 6-8 weeks after you take the exam, to give the psychometricians time to analyze scores;
the new cut score for Form 3 will depend on your performance.
Exam development and administration are under the supervision of the NC-CME Exam Development Committee chaired by Scott Hershman, MD, CCMEP, and test development specialists from Schroeder Measurement Technologies. All CCMEP Exam Forms are written, reviewed, beta-tested and validated by CME professionals who volunteer their time and expertise in support of the certification program.
Each 3-hour CCMEP exam comprises approximately160 test items and each test item is subjected to continuous review and rigorous psychometric analysis. Form 3 will be available to Beta-testers in August and then validated, equated, and offered to the general CME/CPD/IME public in September.
The NC-CME Board of Directors sincerely thanks members of the Exam Development Teams for their work on Form 3. For a complete list of item writers and reviewers, go to
ABOUT US / Exam Dev Teams:
CCMEP is the only credential that designates qualified individuals as Certified CME Professionals. Candidates for the CCMEP designation can also sit for the exam during the four regular test periods each year: March 13-30, June 13-30; September 13-30, and December 1-31. Registration for each period closes the last day of the preceding month. For information on all registrations, go to
How to Register for the CCMEP™ Exam
NC-CME NEWSbrief, May 23, 2011
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) has posted the names of volunteers who are participating in the development of Exam Form 3 of the certification examination. Forty Certified CME Professionals (CCMEPs) responded to a call for item writers that was emailed to registered CCMEPs. Writers who attended a training webinar and submitted 5 test items complete with stem, key, distractors, and references were named to the Item Writing Team and were eligible to be selected for the Review and Validation Teams. Selections took into consideration excellence in item writing and demographic diversity of the groups. Exam Form 3 will be the successor to Form 2, which launched in 2009 following the initial 2008 version.
Each form of the exam has been written, reviewed, beta-tested and validated by CME professionals who volunteered their time and expertise in support of the certification program. All team members submitted non-disclosure agreements prior to being approved to write/review test items. Exam development and administration is under the supervision of test development specialists from Schroeder Measurement Technologies and the NC-CME Exam Development Committee: Scott Hershman, MD, CCMEP, Chair; Gabby Cruze, CCMEP; Mimi Holman, MS, RN, CCMEP; Chris Kriz, MHSA, CCMEP; Marilyn Peterson, MA, CCMEP; Alicia Reese, PharmD, CCMEP; Judy Ribble, PhD, CCMEP; Brooke Taylor, MPH, CCMEP.
The 3-hour CCMEP examination is subjected to continuous improvement and rigorous psychometric analysis of each test item. The computer-based exam comprises approximately 160 test items and will be accessible at secure testing locations throughout the U.S. and Canada following an intensive beta test and validation process.
The NC-CME Board of Directors sincerely thanks members of the Exam Development Teams for their work in creating an instrument written by and for members of the CME profession that measures and rewards competence across the broad spectrum of the CME/CPD/IME/CE community. For a complete list of all item writers and reviewers, go to ABOUT US / Exam Dev Teams:
CCMEP is the only credential that designates qualified individuals as Certified CME Professionals. Candidates for the CCMEP designation may sit for the exam during four test periods each year: March 13-30, June 13-30; September 13-30, and December 1-31. Registration for each period closes the last day of the preceding month. For more information, contact info@NC-CME.org
NC-CME NEWSbrief, February 14, 2011
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) is pleased to offer an Extension of Certification (EOC) to Certified CME Professionals (CCMEPs) when their current certificates expire.
The EOC program will extend the initial 3-year certification to 5 years for candidates who fulfill EOC eligibility requirements. Active CCMEPs may submit their EOC Worksheets via email and apply for the extension 2-4 months before the expiration date noted on their certificates; for example, March classes will submit EOC applications between October 1 and January 31.
Candidates for the EOC must register at least 2 months before their current certificates expire. Notices will be sent to each CCMEP Class approximately 4 months before the relevant expiration date.
Class|| Notification|| Submit Worksheet and Register |
Application and Registration
Upon approval of the EOC Worksheet, and after agreeing to comply with the NC-CME Code of Conduct, the candidate will receive an alphanumeric code signifying eligibility and can then register online. The EOC registration fee is $275.
Each candidate's EOC Eligibility Worksheet will be reviewed for evidence of his/her own personal continuous professional development (CPD) that has taken place since the initial certification date. The EOC point requirement is 12 points, compared with 15 points required for initial certification. Additional academic degrees, attendance at conferences and webinars targeted for CME professionals, memberships in CME organizations, presentations at CME events, and volunteer work in the CME community are among the activities that may qualify toward the 12-point requirement.
Candidates for the 2-year extension will not be required to sit for an exam. When the extension period expires, candidates for recertification will need to pass the updated exam that is being given at that time. This process encourages CCMEPs to assess their knowledge and skills every 5 years and thereby demonstrate that they have kept up with current CME guidelines and regulations.
For full details regarding Initial Certification, Extension of Certification (EOC) and Recertification, go to CERTIFICATION PROGRAM.
Qualified candidates will receive updated certificates and will continue to be included in the National Registry of Certified CME Professionals, accessible online at www.NC-CME.org.
CCMEPs who allow their certification to expire, then wish to be reinstated, will be required to pay for and pass the currently available 3-hour certification exam and will need to document 15 points of education/experience in the CME field.
NC-CME NEWSbrief, January 13, 2011
(DANB) The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. has just published the results of its biennial salary survey. DANB's 2010 Salary Survey shows that DANB Certified Dental Assistants continue to earn more and stay in the profession longer than non-certified assistants.
Source: Seacrest Credentialing News, January 2011 http://seacrestcompany.com/index.htm
Sandia Park, NM
July 13, 2010
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) is pleased to announce an Extension of Certification (EOC) program offered to Certified CME Professionals (CCMEPs) when their current certificates expire.
The EOC will serve to extend the initial 3-year certification to 5 years for candidates who fulfill the EOC eligibility requirements. Active CCMEPs may submit their EOC applications 3-6 months before the expiration date noted on their certificates. For example, the first Class of June 2008 will submit EOC applications between January 1 and March 31, 2011.Qualified candidates will receive updated certificates and will continue to be included in the National Registry of Certified CME Professionals, accessible online at www.NC-CME.org.
Each candidate's EOC eligibility worksheet will be reviewed for evidence of his/her own personal continuing professional development that has taken place since the initial certification date. The EOC point requirement will be 12 points, compared with 15 points required for initial certification; the EOC registration fee will be $275, compared with the initial fee of $450. Attendance at conferences and webinars, memberships in CME organizations, and volunteer work in the CME community are among the activities that may qualify toward the 12-point requirement.
Candidates for the 2-year extension will not be required to sit for an exam. When the extension period expires candidates for recertification will need to pass the exam that is being given at that time, which ensures that CCMEPs will be tested every 5 years to demonstrate that they have kept up-to-date with current CME rules and regulations.
Notices will be sent to each CCMEP 6 months before his/her certification expires. CCMEPs who allow their certification to expire, then wish to be reinstated, will be required to pass the currently available 3-hour certification exam and will need to document 15 points of education/experience in the CME field within the past 3 years.
For full details regarding EOC and recertification, go to www.NC-CME.org
NC-CME NEWSbrief, April 20, 2010
In response to numerous requests for help in preparing to sit for the Certified CME Professional (CCMEP) certification exam, the National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) has posted an online practice exam. The exam consists of 45 newly developed test items; a graph accompanying each test item allows participants to compare their responses with other test takers. The practice exam, while not required for certification, may be useful to candidates preparing for the CCMEP Certification Exam as well as to persons employed in the CME field who wish to assess individual areas of competence while identifying areas where additional study may be beneficial.
Practice test items were written, critiqued, and beta-tested by more than 50 volunteers who have earned the CCMEP credential. The items were designed to be representative of "what we need to know" as CME professionals, across the broad spectrum of the CME enterprise. Content domains mirror those determined by the Job Analysis process, which was based on a review of core competencies published by the Alliance for CME.
Interested persons and candidates who wish to take the NC-CME Practice Exam may visit www.NCCME.org/PracticeExam and go to "Take the Practice Exam." This site is available 24/7 at home or in the office. Upon registering, participants will receive a unique ID and Password and will be allowed a window of 90 minutes to complete the exam. The $45 fee for this exam can be paid via credit card. Registrants can begin testing immediately or can use the one-time password within one month, at any time that is convenient.
The Practice Exam is meant to assess knowledge and skills; it is not an exact simulation of the software test takers will encounter when sitting for the CCMEP exam. NC-CME offers additional online resources for candidates: a Candidates Handbook; a brief tutorial on the software that candidates will use for the CCMEP exam; and five Sample Test Items. These activities can be accessed free of charge at www.NC-CME.org.
NC-CME NEWSbrief, January 11, 2010
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) is pleased to announce the election of a President-Elect and two new Directors, and the re-election of 2 Officers of the Board.
The NC-CME Board of Directors has elected Dennis K. Wentz, MD, FACPE, CCMEP, to the position of President-Elect, beginning January 1, 2010. Dr. Wentz is principal and co-founder of WentzMiller and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in global Continuing Professional Development and Continuing Medical Education (CME). He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and became Chief Resident in Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Following his fellowship in gastroenterology, he became Assistant Chief of Gastroenterology at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
Previously, Dr. Wentz served as Director of the Division of CME (which is now called the Division of Continuing Physician Professional Development) at the American Medical Association (AMA) from 1988 to 2004. At the AMA, he focused on building a stronger presence for continuing medical education in the medical education continuum and on reshaping the AMA PRA credit system to recognize self-directed learning by physicians. He has served on the boards of many major CME and other professional organizations. Currently living in Beaver Creek, Colorado, he is working with authorities around the world to harmonize developing CME credit systems. Dr. Wentz is the editor of a history of CME entitled, "Continuing Medical Education: Looking Back To Plan Ahead," to be published by Dartmouth College Press in 2011.
Two new members have been elected to the NC-CME Board of Directors. They are:
Robert M. Galbraith, MD, FACP, CCMEP, to a 3-year term beginning January 1, 2010. Dr. Galbraith is the Executive Director of the Center for Innovation, National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After training at King's College Medical School in London, he completed an Internal Medicine residency at Hammersmith and Brompton Hospitals and a Hepatology Fellowship at the King's College Hospital Liver Unit. Following a period of clinical service and research as a Hepatologist, he joined the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International research fellow. Scientifically, Dr. Galbraith built an NIH-funded basic research lab, obtained a Research Career Development Award, and became Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Clinically, he became Chief of the Hepatology section and implemented a Liver Transplant Program for which he served as Medical Director.
Dr. Galbraith's joint interest in both basic and clinical sciences and his broad educational experience led to volunteer service on several committees related to United States Medical Licensing Examination Steps 1 and 2 at the NBME, and in 1995 he joined the staff as Senior Medical Evaluation Officer and Deputy Vice President. His major interests are in envisioning important changes in the role of the physician and the delivery of healthcare and developing appropriate assessment approaches that support these activities. Dr. Galbraith served on the NC-CME Advisory Board and currently chairs the Standards Committee, which reviews NC-CME policies and procedures.
Scott J. Hershman, MD, CCMEP, to a 3-year term beginning January 1, 2010. Dr. Hershman currently divides his time between 2 Colorado organizations: HealthONE's Continental Division, a hospital network within the Hospital Corporation of America, where he is Medical Director in the Office of Continuing Medical Education; and the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine, where he is Director of Healthcare Collaboration. Dr. Hershman is also principal and co-founder of Allicott Consulting, LLC, a firm specializing in collaborative CME endeavors of healthcare providers, academic medical centers, medical education companies, and government agencies. His prior employment includes Chief Medical Officer for Intellyst Medical Education; Senior Medical Director for Johns Hopkins Advanced Studies in Medicine; and positions with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System.
Dr. Hershman earned his medical degree from the Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic and continued his medical training at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. Volunteer activities in the field of CME include serving on the Board of Directors of the North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies. He is a member of the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education's Almanac Editorial Board and the Colorado Alliance for Continuing Medical Education. Dr. Hershman served on the NC-CME Advisory Board and currently chairs the Exam Development Committee, which oversees the writing, reviewing, and validating of the Certified Continuing Medical Education Professional (CCMEP?) certification examination.
Two Board members have been re-elected as Officers. They are:
Marissa Seligman, PharmD, CCMEP, re-elected to a 2-year term as Secretary, beginning January 1, 2010. Dr. Seligman is Chief, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs; Compliance Officer; and Senior Vice President for Pri-Med Institute, a division of M|C Communications, in Boston, Massachusetts. She is responsible for the corporate compliance program and oversees Pri-Med Institute, the accredited provider division of the company. Dr. Seligman is a founder of NC-CME.
Laird R. Kelly, CCMEP, re-elected to a 2-year term as Treasurer, beginning January 1, 2010. Mr. Kelly is President and Founder of Rsi Communications, a publisher of medical education materials and activities based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Rsi was founded in 1976 to explore how portable computers and the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network could be used to make CME-certified programs that were available on the mainframes of major medical schools also available to practicing physicians throughout the country.
Mr. Kelly was the producer of the first commercially produced nationally certified CME activity. In addition, he and his staff invented the computer-controlled, wired audience response system in 1978, ushering in the now-commonplace method of reinforcing learning that is used to conduct on-the-spot needs analysis as part of educational presentations. He has produced educational programs in nearly every medium, from national television broadcasts shown in movie theaters, to educational games for physicians using playing cards. Mr. Kelly is a Founder of NC-CME and serves on the Marketing Committee.
An interview with Hank Slotnick by Sarah Meadows, MS, CCMEP; Editor of NC-CME NEWS
Learning is reflection on experience that produces insights.
Hank Slotnick, PhD
"Domain I. Adult Learning Principles" encompasses 15% of total test items on the CCMEP certification exam. To shine some light on this topic, we interviewed H.B. (Hank) Slotnick, PhD, an educator who has a well-developed understanding of adults and how they learn.
Sarah Meadows: As CCMEPs, we often draw on Malcolm Knowles' principles of adult learning in developing educational programs. Can you give some examples of ways that you use Knowles' teachings to guide instruction?
Hank Slotnick: First, I use Knowles' observations (1) that adults want to learn solutions to problems they have, and (2) that adults have corpuses of experience they use to understand what they're learning. Both principles are useful in engaging learners in their own learning. For example, I often begin with a question that learners answer by interrogating their experiences and to share their answers.
My favorite is a learning-from-mistakes example offered by an infectious disease specialist who prescribed too large a dose for a patient. When asked how she ensured that would never happen again, she said she determined never to be talking with someone else while writing patient's orders.
I take the examples volunteered and use them as grist for the mill that is the next part of the class so the learners become intimately engaged in their own learning. In the overdose example, I ask those in the class what the learner's experience was (they say it was writing too large a dose), how she reflected on it (by thinking about how that might have happened), and what insights she realized (eliminating distractions reduces errors in the orders).
Adults participate easily and happily in this kind of question-answer-discussion cycle because it fits with what they already do when they solve problems they face. What's more, the learners are unaware the cycle structures the activity because good teaching is often transparent.
SM: Why is drawing on the learners' experiences important?
HS: Sarah, I can't teach anyone anything, but I believe that students can learn an awful lot by participating in the activities I've arranged for them, activities often involving their prior experiences. More specifically, by having them recall those experiences and reflecting on those experiences in response to my questions, learners realize experience-based insights into the topic being taught. Conceptualizing learning in this way-insights arise from reflection on experience-allows teachers to organize activities designed to recall and/or produce the kinds of experiences that students can reflect upon, and then support the students as they reflect on them.
SM: What happens if you ask someone a question and they don't know the answer?
HS: Good question. My stock response to the learner is, "Not knowing the answer isn't a bad thing, but not being able to locate an answer is." Pointing to the other learners in the room, I add, "You're surrounded by experts. Why don't you ask them for help?" I then smile (so learners know I'm anticipating something interesting will happen) and wait as the student turns to someone else and asks, "do you know the answer?"
Most often the second learner does and offers it. I then return to the original learner and ask whether that answer is acceptable. "Getting an answer is necessary," I point out, "but not sufficient. You still have to decide whether it is reasonable." And the original learner does that, often with the help of others in the class. She tells why she likes it, or where problems might lie, and so on. The result is that everyone-both the students involved and their colleagues-come to see themselves not only as learning a body of material, but also developing expertise on how to critically evaluate their and others' thinking.
These examples, Sarah, make use of learners' prior experiences and their needs to solve problems they face. The thing that I hope is clear in both is that the teacher's role is solely to facilitate learning-not to manage it. Do I provide learners with knowledge they need and skills they'll have to develop? You bet, but only if (1) the learners can't access it on their own or (2) not doing so would waste their time. Finally, the earmark of good teaching is that it is transparent: It structures what learners do, but the structure distracts learners so minimally that they're not aware of it; all they know is that they're learning to solve problems of import to them.
SM: Thank you, Hank, for helping us reflect on our experience in the field of adult learning principles.
HS: My pleasure.
By Laird Kelly, CCMEP, Treasurer, National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals and President, Rsi/FocalSearch; as published in the Alliance ALMANAC, April 2009.
Alliance for CME 2009 Award for Innovation in Continuing Professional Development for the CME Professional and/or Enterprise
Award for Innovation in Continuing Professional Development (L to R): seated, NCCME
Board Directors Pam Mason, Karen Overstreet and Laird Kelly, NC-CME
Executive Director Judy Ribble, Paul Weber, representing the Alliance, grantor of
the $2,000 cash award; standing, NC-CME Board Directors Lew Miller, Jon
Ukropec, Jack Kues, Marty Cearnal and Greg Thomas, and Mila Kostic, Leader of
the Award Selection Panel. Not pictured, recipient Dennis Wentz.
In Recognition of Outstanding Innovation in Continuing
Professional Development for CME Professionals
Laird Kelly, CCMEP, Treasurer, National Commission
for Certification of CME Professionals and President,
Validating Competence on the Ground Floor-The Certified CME
Much criticism has been directed toward the CME profession and CME professionals in the past few years. Some of this has come from within our ranks and some from outside. Some criticism has been based on thoughtful consideration of our field and much
has come from outsiders who are half-informed, at best. There has been confusion, even among the medical profession, of the character and intent of CME programming and the value of CME. As outlined by numerous speakers at the 2009 Alliance
Annual Conference, there will be numerous scholarly reports and recommendations issued this year on the regulation or control of the production of CME programming. Less attention is being paid, in any formal way, to a very important question-Who is actually producing the programming? Many feel that setting of standards for the flow of funds supporting content development assures relevant, well produced programming will result. However, even major academic centers have limited staff time to personally prepare programs, so they often use outside agencies or individuals to prepare and coordinate the content and its presentation.
The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) was created in 2005 and has set its focus on these people on the ground floor of CME-the women and men who throughout the US are doing the work of CME: assembling the faculties, guiding the agendas, and preparing and executing the programming. These responsibilities are significant and impactful. Recognition of the commitments and abilities of the many individuals responsible for CME programming could only augment their efforts. Professional competence in CME should be encouraged at all employment levels in the CME enterprise, regardless of whether it is a part-time practitioner in a small hospital, a full-time faculty member at an academic center, or one of a staff of fifty at a major medical education company.
NC-CME, a nonprofit organization, under the leadership of its first President and now Executive Director, Judy Ribble, PhD, CCMEP, met its goal of establishing a measurable reference credential for practitioners in the field. While previously there had been awards for work of distinction, such as the Alliance Fellows program, there was no basic credential that employers could use to distinguish an individual's years of time in grade versus their real understanding of the important skills needed to produce quality,
NC-CME began its work by joining the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), a membership organization that approves the credentials of groups that offer certification exams. NC-CME is on track to become accredited itself, as it moves through
the required stages of growth. One of the principles learned through NOCA and adopted by NC-CME is that professional competence is measured in three ways: Experience, Education and Examination. Applicants for the CCMEP? Exam submit an online application, based on a multi-level self-assessment detailing their experience and education, both formal schooling and informal through participation in continuing professional development (CPD) such as Alliance meetings, webinars, certificate programs and sessions held by others in the field. Points are given for these activities, along with additional points for participating in a leadership role. Those with an adequate
number of points are approved to sit for the exam. (Typically, someone who has been in CME for two to three years, has attended one or more annual meetings and, in general, worked to stay current in the field has adequate points to proceed.)
CME is a complex profession, practiced in diverse circumstances. It was a challenge to produce an exam that fairly measures competence across a variety of work settings and assignments. The NC-CME Executive Committee solicited proposals from numerous
professional testing organizations, awarding its contract to Schroeder Measurement Technologies (SMT). The value of collaborating with SMT can not be over stated. As a distinguished group of psychometricians with extensive experience in the creation
and validation of certification exams, SMT provided the NC-CME Executive Committee with guidance and services that ensured that the nature and quality of the NC-CME examination was equivalent to that of other professional certification programs.
The first step in creating a competent exam is to determine, in detail, exactly what CME professionals do. Starting with the Alliance Competencies, a group of thirteen subject matter experts developed a list of 75 tasks or elements of information useful in the skill set of a professional.
A survey was then conducted to professionals across the work spectrum. There were 272 valid, completed surveys returned, from professionals representing all aspects of CME practice. The 75 knowledge/skill items were ranked according to their relevance and, based on ranking, allocations were made for the domains of the exam. The following emphases were determined for the exam:
Adult Learning Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15%
Educational Interventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30%
Relationships with Stakeholders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Leadership/Administration/Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25%
The CME Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
Details on the knowledge/skills set components of these domains can be found on the web at: www.nc-cme.org, under the slides section, in a presentation entitled What CME Professionals Do. Once the domains were determined, exam questions were written by sixteen CME professionals in a three-day workshop conducted by Schroeder. Exam questions were validated, beta-tested, re-validated and set for inclusion in the exam.
Tests are now offered at more than 200 sites nationally the last two weeks of March, June, September and the entire month of December. Since its initial offering in the summer of 2008, nearly two hundred professionals have earned the CCMEP? Designation.
The Board of NC-CME was honored and gratified to receive the Award for Innovation in Continuing Professional Development from the Alliance. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Alliance and other organizations within the profession to assure that those entrusted with responsibility for CME are certified to be able to perform their duties. We believe that everyone in this fast-moving field should periodically take time to review the rules and regulations, attend conferences and re-read important papers on topics such as adult learning and instructional design. Whether you engage in review
and reflection as an individual activity or in preparation for certification or re-certification, you will always benefit through your own commitment to lifelong learning.
How NC-CME's program of certification for CME professions is impacting the field is one topic of discussion in Dr. Floyd Pennington's podcast interview with Dr. Judith Ribble, executive director of NC-CME, Inc. Dr. Pennington's popular series, Conversations in CME , features informal interviews with leaders in the field. Dr. Ribble also discusses the process through which the exam is currently being updated.
To listen to the program http://www.ctlassoc.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=454128
What's the most frequently heard lament of potential candidates for the CCMEP credential? You guessed it: "I'm afraid I won't pass the exam." To assist candidates who are quaking at the thought, Dr. Floyd Pennington, host of Conversations in CME , interviewed three Certified CME Professionals who earned their credentials in 2008. Dr. Pennington posed evocative questions: "What encouraged you to take the exam?"; "How did you prepare?"; "Were there any surprises?"; "Would you recommend it to others?" - and then he posted the responses on a website so that you can listen to them on your computer.
Aptly titled "Reflections on Taking the CCMEP Exam", the podcast features three people who successfully completed the CCMEP examination: Sandy Bihlmeyer, Med, CCMEP with Primary Care Network; Scott Hershman, MD, CCMEP with Intellyst Medical Communications; and Laura Muttini, RPh, MBA, CCMEP with Abbott's Independent Medical Education Department.
Direct download: Reflections_on_Taking_the_CCMEP_Exam.mp3
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