You can set the foundation for the activity with your faculty as soon as they have been confirmed to participate. If the faculty were not involved with the needs assessment or grant proposal development process, you can discuss planning details during a faculty project kick-off call or meeting. You can explain who the target audience is, and what the learning objectives and learning needs are, as well as any edits that will have to be made. You also can use these calls to get the faculty excited about their role in developing and delivering the education. Once you get their buy-in, faculty tend to be more cooperative, timely, and unbiased.

The planning process is also the most crucial time to establish timelines and identify what information needs to be collected. You can use the planning call to identify potential conflicts with disclosures and issues regarding clinical content. The faculty also can be a resource for planning future educational initiatives, including providing additional faculty recommendations, identifying remaining practice gaps, and suggesting ideas for future program formats.

This is also the prime moment to train faculty on the differences between a promotional talk and a CME program. Among the many resources available is the National Faculty Education Initiative, a program developed by the Alliance for CME in collaboration with the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education and the Association of American Medical Colleges to teach faculty involved with CME the differences between certified CME and promotional activities. Additionally, the Accreditation Council for CME provides an extensive education and training section on its Web site, consisting of webcasts and articles pertaining to ACCME guidelines and the Standards for Commercial Support. Your course director can also be a great teaching resource for the other faculty involved with your activity—peer-to-peer education can be very effective.