Mentoring CME's New Leaders Q: How do you propose the CME community address the issue of developing new leaders?

A: We've taken a step [since the Alliance for CME roundtable in January]. Jim Leist [director, staff and faculty development at Duke] and I decided to create a week-long activity for physicians who want to be leaders in the CME world. It will be a combination of the Physician Executive Leadership Program that Jim and I started at Duke, which covers health care financing, where health care is going, leadership skills--with a curriculum that includes what we know about how physicians learn and change, the systematic process of education. We have formed a planning committee with leaders from around the country. We hope it's ready to go by spring 2001.

We want it be a life-changing week for physicians around the country. We'll have a mentorship program, and include a 360 [degree] evaluation process where physicians get feedback on their leadership styles from people who work with them, over them, under them.

Q: Do you have representatives from the commercial CME side on your planning committee?

A: There are people who either are currently or have been involved in communication companies. We intend to have them as faculty because there are opportunities in those [for-profit] settings for physician leaders. We want pharmaceutical company and communications company people to participate as learners, as faculty, as mentors. We want the whole array of CME settings. We may even have a job fair [showcasing] the kinds of jobs in the CME world.

Q: At the Alliance roundtable, you also expressed concern that 80 percent of your time is taken up with regulatory issues, and that CME professionals need to "spend time on meaningful CME." Would you expand on your concern?

A: That's emotional. Meaningful CME is the kind of CME that really makes a difference in the quality of care provided by physicians at, in this case, Duke. There is more and more data available about physician performance, quality issues, public health issues in the community. We need to find ways of integrating [those issues] so we can help our institution. Otherwise we are [no more than] conferencing organizations that put on national meetings or grand rounds. I want to be more than that. I want to be seen as a player in the health care environment here at Duke.

There is fulfillment in putting on a good meeting, a meeting has lots of value, but it's a whole different level when you see that the meeting is literally causing an improvement in health care or reduction in unnecessary costs or reduction in errors or whatever it might be.

Q: How can CME professionals, who, as you pointed out, are overloaded dealing with regulatory and administrative issues, find time to re-vision CME's role?

A: All of us have the ability to do more meaningful and impactful CME if we commit ourselves. You have to take a proactive stance. Get yourself out of the office into some of the committees and meet with key leaders. I have worked with several marvelous programs that tackled national health issues and provided relevant CME.

Jim [Leist] and I have planned a retreat with staff to figure out ways to turn this equation around, so that three or four years from now 80 percent of our time will be spent on meaningful things; 10 to 20 percent on regulatory [matters].