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Annual Oration of 2001

May I Have The Next Slide, Please?: Deconstructing CME

Orator: Lynda M. Young, M.D.

Synopsis of Oration:

Dr. Young is actively involved in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Massachusetts Medical Society's Continuing Medical Education (CME) committee. The focus of her address involves the latter. She begins with a brief history of medical education, first in ancient Greece, then in the United States. She then describes the current CME requirements and fulfillment opportunities. She notes three topics that will guide her discussion: "Does CME really make a difference in physician education, behavior or change health-care outcomes, and how do you evaluate the CME process? Where do we stand with commercial support for CME? What's the future of CME?

Assessing the first, Young provides study parameters and their results. Her conclusions are that certain types of CME are virtually entirely ineffective, while others certainly provide more effective education, but that methods to measure and quantify these data are necessary in order to draw stronger conclusions.

Next, Dr. Young speaks to the commercial sponsorship of CME. She warns of the dangerous precedent set by allowing corporations, especially those with ties to pharmaceutical companies, to hold CME courses. Lastly, she addresses the future of CME, which is on the internet. The web offers a wide range of CME topics and formats, some more interactive, others in the more traditional lecture and journal styles. She makes her audience aware of the downsides to this method of acquiring CME credits: the difficulty of assuring program quality. Additionally, more effective evaluation methods are being developed. Dr. Young offers sound advice based in thorough knowledge of CME.


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