Satellite symposia have been a hot topic since the American College of Cardiology announced in 2011 it would no longer allow other CME organizations to provide certified continuing medical education satellite symposia at its Annual Scientific Session. That same year, Elizabeth Yarboro, then associate vice president at the ACC and an Industry Alliance for Continuing Education and Medical Specialty Society Collaborative Workgroup member with the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, posed a question to the group: How were CME providers and commercial supporters handling satellite symposia? These are, generally speaking, independently organized educational activities that are held in conjunction with a medical association or other organization’s main conference.

It was a good question. There wasn’t much information on best practices for satellite symposia. Was ACC’s situation unique, or were other organizations facing a similar struggle balancing quality and content integrity? The more the workgroup inquired, the more other stakeholders wanted to know.