As you may have heard, I am leaving Medical Meetings to take on a new position as editor of our sister magazine, Association Meetings. While it's a terrific opportunity, the decision to take the job was one of the most difficult I've had to make in my professional career. I love the field of continuing medical education, and have developed a huge respect for those who provide it. It amazes me — the regulations, the rules, the relationships, and the sheer brain power you all share as you work to comply with everything you have to comply with, while providing education that truly does change behavior and, ultimately, patient health. I have learned so much from you, and not just about CME. In hearing your stories, I have learned about resilience, and strength, and creativity, and the value of being open to new opportunities. You also have taught me a lot about how to hold true to one's purpose through difficult times, and how to stay focused on the goals while exploring new ways to reach them.

As I think about all that you do, juggling commercial support and ethics, adult education principles and the ornery reality of physician preferences, and the scrutiny of a public that really doesn't have a clue about what you do, I see commonalities with those who provide education for professionals outside of healthcare. Doesn't everyone work with outside interests that would love to control the content? Doesn't everyone struggle with providing their audience with what they need, not just what they want?

I can't help but wish those who provide education for other professions would follow where you have already broken ground. Particularly in the area of outcomes measurement, which isn't even on the radar for many outside of the medical arena. It seems obvious to me that, whoever your target audience is, you would want to provide education that works — and you'd want to be able to prove it. And, fortunately for educators outside of the healthcare realm, you all are already providing examples of how it can be done, and how it can be valued by your organization, your learners, and your profession.

Since I'm a firm believer in paying it forward, my hope is to take some of what I've learned from you and share it with the broader world of association meeting planners and educators. Thank you for being my teachers, my mentors, and my inspiration. I miss you already.

Sue Pelletier, (978) 448-0377,