|Glenn P. Gravlee, MD
Pacesetters in Continuing Medical Education
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) recently reviewed our Society. For a subspecialty organization, this is equivalent to a hospital review by the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or a residency program review by the Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In other words, it's a big deal. Hundreds of person-hours are spent writing and editing a self-study document. Files for each educational activity need to be complete, accurate, and available on a moment's notice. A group of Society representatives needs to be present during a site visit to answer questions. The review process focuses on three broad areas called elements, each of which has multiple components. These three elements are purpose and mission, educational planning and evaluation, and administration.
I am pleased to announce that the SCA has received full ACCME accreditation for four years. Further, SCA was one of only six specialty organizations in the country to receive exemplary compliance on some of the individual elements. Only 12 medical schools received exemplary compliance. SCA's two areas of exemplary compliance were needs assessment and effectiveness, both of which fall under the critically important educational planning and evaluation element. As a result of this performance, we are now listed on the ACCME website (www.accme.org) as a role model for other organizations, and we receive calls and messages soliciting our educational expertise.
I hope that you share your Board of Directors' pride in this exemplary accomplishment. Like Oscar recipients, we should acknowledge major contributors to this performance. Heather Spiess, our Chief Staff Executive, deserves a great deal of credit for organizing the documentation and for ensuring that the educational programs comply with ACCME standards. Many of the staff that work with her at Ruggles Service Corporation also deserve credit, including Stewart Hinckley, John Hinckley, and Shannon Lesniak. Following the wise recommendation of former SCA President Daniel Thys, about four years ago SCA's Board of Directors established the Continuing Medical Education (CME) Committee as the group that oversees our continuing medical education activities. All of our educational program chairs and co-chairs serve as members of that committee, and they have performed superbly in carrying out its charge. The program chairs that deserve our thanks include Christina Mora Mangano, Bruce Spiess, Frederick Hensley, Sol Aronson, Linda Shore-Lesserson, Gregg Hartman, Bob Savage, Gary Roach, Stan Shernan, Steve Konstadt, Laurie Davies, and Scott Reeves. Jamie Ramsay, our President-elect and current Chair of the CME Committee, also played a major role in our preparation for the review, and he participated in the ACCME site visit.
Your feedback and suggestions are crucial to sustaining our success in continuing medical education. Your evaluations serve as a primary source of information, but we have also recently initiated focus groups at each educational activity in order to provide immediate feedback and needs assessment to each of our organizing committees. These focus groups also provide long-term follow-up about educational outcomes, which appropriately comprise an evolving directional thrust of ACCME. To help us with this effort, I ask that you consider whether an SCA educational activity has enhanced any aspect of your clinical practice. If you think that it has, please E-mail a brief description of the enhancement to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. This practice improvement may have occurred in any number of areas such as drug use, monitoring, technical skills, diagnostic use of hemodynamics or TEE, etc. This information will help us stay on top of our game. I hope that it will also persuade me that people sometimes read these messages.
Our educational prowess is meaningless without you, the members and "students" of SCA's educational efforts. I thank you for your continued support of SCA, a recognized leader in education. Remember, it's not too late to sign up for our Annual Meeting and Workshops April 24-28 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Support a winner and learn much by attending this meeting.
Glenn P. Gravlee, MD