MM'S EDITOR TAMAR HOSANSKY and I got to talking about gender in CME a few years back and, being the information junkies we are, we started nosing around to see what the research said about the topic. Funny thing was, we couldn't find a whole lot of information out there. So we decided to do some research of our own. But — and you can all sing along, I know you know the tune — we didn't have the time, the staff, the resources, or the money to take on a research project of this magnitude.

So we did it anyway, with a lot of help from our friends. We serendipitously found Terri K. Moore, program administrator for the Professional and Continuing Education Office at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, who does this sort of thing all the time. Terri loved the idea, and she was kind enough to lend her time, effort, expertise, and resources to the project. We somehow managed to convince Eli Lilly and Co.'s Office of CME to pitch in some financial support, and we were off and running.

Well, maybe more like limping than doing the 50-yard dash. Over the two long years it has taken to bring the research behind this issue's cover story to fruition, we learned a lesson that anyone who's renovated a house could have warned us about. Namely, it'll take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expected.

I think Mr. Murphy had a hand in this project, because it seemed as if everything that could go wrong, did. Postal rate hikes, data glitches, budget shortfalls, internal policy snafus, vital project members retiring unexpectedly… You name it, we got it on this one. It got so that we'd just laugh and say, “What's happened now?” when we'd get e-mails or calls from anyone involved in getting this thing off the ground.

What a nightmare!

I can't wait to take on another one.

There's something so exciting, so satisfying, when it all finally comes together and the data is collated, the charts are laid out, and the information analyzed — and even more so when the results end up being worth all the effort. There's a lot to be said for the feeling of having in some small way helped to increase understanding in an underexamined area, and in having played a part in moving the industry forward in its efforts to provide the activities that will help CME participants to achieve their goals as healthcare providers.

Already we have all sorts of ideas for new research projects in areas where, as far as we can tell, no one has gone before. But, as with so much else in life, it's so much more interesting — and feasible — when you work with a partner.

Anyone interested in kicking around a few ideas for future research projects? Please get in touch with me at (978) 448-0377, spelletier@primediabusiness.com. And don't worry — they say the first one's always the hardest.