James Montague, president of the Professional Meeting Planner's Network in Durham, N.C., has joined forces with Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, president of the meeting management firm Meeting IQ, St. Louis, Mo.; Marissa Wolfard, CMP, Meeting IQ's director of meetings; David Gillette, vice president of audiovisual company Image Technologies Corp., St. Louis; and Henry Wu, president of China Connect, an arm of Meeting IQ based in Beijing, to launch the for-profit International Medical Meeting Professionals Association, or IMMPA, to be headquartered in St. Louis and Beijing, in November.

The goal, says Schaumann, is to provide uniform training for medical meeting professionals and certification through a revamping of the Medical Meeting Manager Certificate program PMPN launched in 2006. Also included in the IMMPA plans are an online community with groups, blogs, forums, chat rooms, threaded discussions, and webinars; along with a referral center for domestic and international travel and meeting support resources such as vendors/suppliers, speakers, destination management, and translators. For now it will be privately owned, says Schaumann, though it may become a nonprofit association in the future.

A Global Resource

The plan is an ambitious one: to provide education that is backed by universities. IMMPA already has formed an alliance with St. Louis University, which Schaumann says “has an incredible medical school,” and will be providing an “articulation program” with the University of Peking, which consists of discounts on some coursework for IMMPA members, along with some IMMPA-accredited classes.

The latter is especially important Schaumann says, because the organization is going to be global from the get-go. There are plans to hold a conference in China within a year. The certification piece, which the founders expect to catch on in the United States, will be even more important in China, where healthcare is also a hot topic and certification and education are highly regarded.

While the certification IMMPA will provide will be largely the same as the current MMMC certificate — with both meeting-planning aspects similar to those covered in the Convention Industry Council's Certified Meeting Professional designation and content regarding the PhRMA Code and other regulations specific to medical meetings — Schaumann says the plan is to retool and relaunch it as an ongoing certification program quickly — before the end of September.

IMMPA officially launches with a conference November 2-3 in Kansas City, held in conjunction with another conference, Missouri Meetings and Events.

The organization, which will be funded by membership fees, meeting registrations, and certification fees, will be managed by Drake and Associates, Chesterfield, Mo.

Capsules is Back!

Long-time readers of Medical Meetings, and its Web site, might remember the Capsules blog, written by then executive editor, Sue Pelletier. The blog is now back on the Medical Meetings home page, meetingsnet.com/medicalmeetings, and can be accessed directly at blog.meetingsnet.com/capsules. On it you'll find regular postings of healthcare industry news of interest to those in the continuing medical education and pharmaceutical meeting planner communities, along with commentary from MM's editor.

If you would be interested in contributing guest posts to the blog, please send an e-mail to spelletier@meetingsnet.com. The staff also would like to invite you to leave comments on any post (you can do it anonymously if you'd rather not leave your name), and to let us know if there are any particular topics you'd like to start a conversation around.

Save the Date:

  • The Second European CME Forum will be held in London from November 18-19. europeancmeforum.eu

  • The next testing period for the Certified CME Professional designation is December 1-31. For eligibility requirements and registration details, go to www.NC-CME.org.

  • The Alliance for CME's 35th Annual Conference is coming up Jan. 27-30 in New Orleans. acme-assn.org