ACME Conference Calls for Compassionate, Community-Driven CME

We need a new kind of capitalism--compassionate capitalism, capitalism with a conscience," said Leland Kaiser, PhD, founder and president of Kaiser & Associates, a health care consulting firm in Brighton, Colo.

In his provocative keynote address at the 23rd annual Alliance for Continuing Medical Education conference, held January 28-31 at the Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, the self-d escribed futurist challenged attendees to "get rid of the lines" and completely redefine the relationship between health care professionals and the communities they serve.

Health care providers must take responsibility for eliminating the problems that cause poor health, he said. "If a child develops lead poisoning, strip the paint. If a child has upper respiratory infections from living in a drafty home, put in weather stripping."

Calling on health care providers to cross organizational boundaries and collaborate with other community groups, he suggested they initiate adopt-a-block programs and other projects that would improve the quality of life in distressed areas. "Go back to your communities," he challenged attendees. "Give 10 percent of your time and money to people who don't have anything."

The theme of "getting rid of the lines" was carried through the conference seminars, where participants and speakers discussed opening up CME to all members of the health care team, developing public health initiatives and CME programs that address the needs of women and minorities, and including patients in the CME process. (For more on the Alliance meeting, seeNew Visions of CME, page 28.)

The conference drew a record-breaking 1,500 attendees, as well as an unprecedented 43 exhibitors. Those numbers reflect ACME's terrific growth--the Alliance now has more than 2,000 members, a 13 percent increase since last year.

"We exceeded our goal of 2,000 by 2000," said Joseph Green, PhD, Alliance president and associate dean for CME, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., speaking at the Business and Town Meeting Luncheon. "Now our goal is 3000 [members] by [the year] 2000."

Dole Talks Prostate Cancer Prevention at PCMA

"I'm not on anybody's payroll. But when there are men present, I always remind them--prostate cancer can be treated with early detection. I'm a [prostate cancer] survivor because of early detection." And with that medical moment, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and presidential candidate Robert J. Dole, began his keynote address at the opening session of the Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) 42nd annual meeting, January 7-10 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Missouri. PCMA drew a record-breaking 2,460 attendees, including 695 planners--another record.

A highlight was the news that the long-awaited goal of industry standards may actually become a reality under the leadership of newly installed PCMA president Mickey Schaefer, CAE, vice president for membership, meetings and conventions, and administration for the Kansas City, Mo.-based American Academy of Family Physicians. Calling the drive for standards her "passion," Schaefer announced that she had proposed a plan for implementing recommended practices to the Convention Liaison Council (CLC), and that the CLC has authorized hiring a consultant to examine the project's feasibility. Initially called MISTI (Meeting Industry Standards and Technology Initiative), the project is now named APEX (Accepted Practices Excellence Exchange).

New IACVB President Brings Medical Association Expertise

Edward Nielsen took over as the new president and CEO of the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus in January, replacing Karen Jordan, who resigned earlier in the year. Nielsen, who had served as executive vice president and CEO for the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians for the past 10 years, says that experience will help him succeed in his new role. "I've worked in an environment where I [gained] familiarity with conflict and change. The [health care] environment took a quantum leap from fee for service to managed care." Similarly, Nielsen says, the meeting industry is undergoing change, with the drive for standardization and growth in technology. "We need to put aside parochial, turf issues and look at what's best for the industry," says Nielsen. But his first priority is to establish stability within IACVB. "I'm the fourth CEO in two years," he notes. "I want to give the staff an abiding sense of security."

McCormick Reforms Delayed, But Not Dead By holding its annual meeting and trade show at Chicago's McCormick Place last September, the American Academy of Family Physicians incurred about $500,000 more in labor costs than it would have if the meeting had been held in another city such as New Orleans or Orlando. "We projected a 30 percent increase in costs," says Mickey Schaefer, CAE, vice president for membership, meetings and conventions, and administration, and 1998 president of the Professional Convention Management Association, referring to labor costs and some support services. "We should have projected 50 percent."

The problem is the unions, Schaefer says, and her experience is far from unique. Friends of McCormick Place, a group of 25 of the center's top customers, has worked for two years with the facility to address the problems. The result: the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which manages McCormick Place and Navy Pier, drafted legislation designed to reduce costs and hassles for meetings. Last fall, House Bill 18 failed to pass the legislature by just one vote. The MPEA planned to reintroduce the bill in January, but was stymied by a massive lobbying effort launched by the two opposing unions. "Some of the news reports suggest the legislation is dead. It's not dead," says John Devona, senior director, marketing, MPEA. Devona says the MPEA plans to reintroduce the bill before the legislative session adjourns in May.

Corrections Noted In December's Midwest site file, the Lake Lawn Resort and the Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa should have been listed as being in Lake Geneva, Wis.

In the January/February issue, the address for M&D award-winner Anaheim Hilton and Towers should have been listed as 777 Convention Way, Anaheim, CA 92802. *

Do You Have a Winning Conference guide? Can attendees at your conferences tell from a quick glance at their program guide what meeting room to go to? Those guides may be a small part of your budget--and are often a last-minute task--but attendees rely on them for a smooth conference experience. If you have a user-friendly booklet you are particularly proud of, enter it in our TOP GUIDES contest. Winners will be displayed in the July/August issue of Medical Meetings. Based on budget categories, entries will be judged by the editors on:

ease of use

comprehensiveness: Does the guide include all the basic information attendees need?

innovative graphics and text design

effective presentation: Does the design work to create a clear, attractive guide?

Send a program guide from any meeting held after September 1996, (along with any inserts, pullout maps, etc.), the booklet budget (excluding postage), and a blurb of 100 words or less, explaining why you think it's great.

Mail to Tamar Hosansky, Senior Editor, Medical Meetings, 60 Main Street, Maynard, MA 01754. (We will judge booklets used by attendees on-site, not your promotional materials.)

Questions? Call (978) 466-6358 or send e-mail to Entries must be postmarked by May 1, 1998.

WESTIN PUTS KIDS FIRST Westin Hotels & Resorts scaled back its PCMA reception, and used the money saved to make a $24,000 donation to Children's Mercy Hospital to purchase a high-frequency oscillator. At the reception, Dave Evans, vice president, Westin Hotels & Resorts (left) talks to Howard Kilbride, MD, chief of neonatal medicine, Children's Mercy Hospital.

Attrition Pains

You pay an attrition penalty, then hear that the hotel was sold out during your conference. "Should a hotel be honest and return the attrition fee?" asks Nolan I. Goldsmith, DPM, CMP, meeting and convention manager, Florida Podiatric Medical Association, Clearwater. And what if some attendees registered outside the block, taking advantage of a weekend special that was lower than your group rate? "[The hotel] is full because of your group," asserts Goldsmith. "You have hot bodies using the outlets."

It all depends on the contract, responds Jonathan T. Howe, attorney with Howe & Hutton, Ltd. in Chicago. Negotiate for clauses that say the hotel will use its best effort to resell rooms if you fall short of your block, he suggests, and that you are entitled to credit if attendees register outside your block. But he adds, "If I were the hotel, I would insist that you get credit only if attendees pay the group rate." The hotel has given you meeting space based on that rate, says Howe. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."