March 31, 2021

Highlights of The Annual SACME Meeting Held in Late February

From Dennis K. Wentz, MD, Principal, WentzMiller Global Services LLC

The Society of Academic CME (SACME) 2021 annual meeting was conducted virtually February 24-26, 2021. It was an amazing, well done meeting, which had record attendance and by and large adapted well to the pandemic. It utilized a ‘flipped classroom’ format for abstracts and posters, where attendees could view pre-recorded videos in advance of interactive real-time sessions focused on questions and answers and potential future implications of scholarship. The meeting featured a mix of established and ‘new’ presenters and introduced a new section for students interested in CPD (continuing professional development). interest section.

Here are some key points I noted from three of the sessions.

The Barbara Barnes Plenary Keynote Address was delivered by Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, President of the University of Miami. He noted that COVID has been an “accelerator of change”, helping visualize a road to the future (“building a better normal”). Dr. Frenk highlighted many changes, e.g., advances in learning sciences, advances in technology and changes in the labor market. COVID has taught us that we must pay attention to what happens in the rest of the world – in fact, local and global issues usually blend. Asking what CME can do, he said that “CME should be the trailblazer, CME is the front line”. By not raising population and public health issues, we failed. CME efforts, he said, “ignored whole communities — who have been marginalized”. Dr. Frenk concluded by urging CME to build solid institutional support for our role and mission and take our message to top [health systems] leadership.

A Plenary titled “Understanding Your Niche: Value Proposition for CME/CPD”, led by Morris Blachman, PhD (University of South Carolina) and a group described how the value proposition for CPD has been influenced by “VUCA”: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. To be of value and ‘have a seat at the table’ in an institution, the CME/CPD Office needs to be a strategic asset, thought leader, and change agent that:

  • has expertise in learning, competency in needs assessment, and the ability to assess multilevel needs of physicians in today’s practice environment.
  • develops and enhances provider learning capabilities.
  • develops CPD engagement and activities to meet both institutional strategic directions and future needs.
  • develops and maintains effective capability to support professional development.

Will Ross, MD (Washington University), Nita Mosby-Tyler, MD (The Equity Project. LLC) and Ndidi Unaka, MD (University of Cincinnati) led a wide-ranging and impactful plenary on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Panelists emphasized the need to include “Equality” as part of DEI; the need to have both “empathy” and “vulnerability”, engage both allies and “accomplices” to accomplish data-driven improvements in the DEI space.

A Plenary titled “The Emergence of Digital CPD: A New Day, A New Day” led by David Wiljer, PhD (University of Toronto) and a group of panelists discussed how digital learning can support individual and personalized learning needs (as opposed to ‘wants’), active learning, and enable learners to translate their leaning into improved performance. One panelist said “There has been a 10x fold increase in MD participation since we started using blended learning and that there was no significance in offline vs online. Online is not better, but it is just as effective. Blended learning may indeed lead to better outcomes.” Discussion emphasized the need to find the right tool for the right purpose, rather than just using digital tools because “they are cool.”