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My friend Michele Wiergac wrote this article about the value of informal networks. But why is it that, when a CME provider tries to incorporate special interest groups into an event, either online or live, they often don t succeed in creating these types of networks? I m thinking about the 2004 CME Congress, which I attended for the first time last spring. They offered "learning communities" that people could sign up for ahead of time or on site. But not too many people made use of the opportunity to gather with like-minded colleagues to share a meal.

Maybe the way to go is to tie it to certain sessions. Say, everyone planning to attend sessions on the ACCME s new Standards for Commercial Support could be one group (I know, I know, a HUGE group), those interested in new research another, those interested in learning more about what commercial supporters want from CME providers another. They could get together during meals and have discussions focused on what they d just learned, and hopefully would amplify the lessons learned and networking.

If anyone has examples of creating informal networks through their meetings, I d love to hear how it worked.

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