|Glenn P. Gravlee, MD
Are We Hitting Home Runs?
Forgive the baseball analogy, but I can't resist it as I write this at the time of the All-Star Break. I'm happy also to remind you that the vast majority of major league baseball players, regardless of performance or seniority, make more money than you and I do. Maybe it's about their shorter career span or being unionized. I am unqualified to judge societal values.
Also, it's not for me to judge how well the SCA is meeting your educational needs. Based on sustained membership size, attendance at our educational activities, and most of the comments we receive, it appears that we are at least getting on base. Our goal, however, is to hit a home run for you every time you attend one of our meetings. Only you can tell us if we are doing that.
The need for your input was underscored by our recent site visit from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). ACCME is the group that certifies us (SCA) so we can provide you with the CME credits that you need. It would be an understatement to say that ACCME is very big on needs assessment. Loosely defined, needs assessment is the process by which an educational organization like SCA determines what topics and educational formats best meet the educational needs of its membership. The most powerful type of needs assessment is highly complex: it's called suggestions from members. What we get from members is scattered suggestions on evaluation forms. We do use those suggestions, but we need to have more of them. We have previously tried to get additional input by sending out paper or E-mail surveys to SCA members, but the response rate tends to be miniscule. Many thanks to those who have responded - this helps us a great deal. It would be tempting to deduce that the paucity of complaints or suggestions means that we are giving you what you need, but the ACCME probably won't buy it (nor should they).
I am optimistic that SCA meets ACCME needs assessment standards at present. Going forward, I am convinced that we will need to prove that we have greater membership input into our educational program development. As a result, I ask a favor from you. Please E-mail (or snail mail) JUST ONE educational suggestion to the SCA office at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are reading this on our web site, just click on the address above and let it fly. This could be as simple as a suggested topic or speaker for any one of our educational activities, or as complex as telling us that our educational activities stink and need a complete overhaul. Other issues you might consider in making your suggestion include the balance of educational topics (e.g., TEE versus pharmacology versus thoracic anesthesia) and the educational format (e.g., didactic sessions versus roundtable small group discussions versus hands-on workshops). If you wish to make multiple suggestions, go for it, but I'm asking (begging really) for JUST ONE.
Thanks for your support of the SCA. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and don't forget to enjoy a ball park hot dog before winter sets in. Like sending us that suggestion, eating JUST ONE won't hurt you.
Glenn P. Gravlee, MD