Every once in a while I am reminded that, despite our best efforts to move the vernacular from CME “industry” to CME “community”, we still do work in a competitive industry. Sometimes these reminders are subtle, like a CME organization issuing a promotional tweet that trumpets the fact that their CME activities are “evidence-based and unbiased” (therefore implying that others…are not.) Other times, these reminders are more blatant. I still remember a few years back – during the MECCA Member Section meeting at the Alliance for CME’s Annual Conference – when the question was asked of the audience, “How many of you would be willing to share your outcomes reports and data with the entire group?” The sound of silence spoke volumes.
And then there are other reminders that make me rub my chin and say “hmmmmm”. Back during my time as the CME Director for a medical education company, we were undergoing our ACCME reaccreditation and it so happened that one of our surveyors was also from a MEC. It was difficult for me not to give at least some passing thought to the fact that this “advocate” for our reaccreditation was also one of our competitors who, frankly speaking, would benefit from our having a poor accreditation decision (side note: I once brought this up during an ACCME Town Hall meeting and was assured that it should not be a concern due to surveyor COI policies, etc, etc. Fair enough.)
Despite these reminders, I do believe there is a community to be found in the CME industry – you just have to be willing to look for it. For me, the change from CME industry to CME community occurred as I began to embrace the various social media networks and resources available to me. I found my CME community through Twitter and LinkedIn. I found my CME community through this blog. I found my CME community by forming a CME community. The benefits of finding and engaging with this community have paid back the time invested tenfold. Never was this more evident to me than during the time immediately after I was laid-off from my CME Director position. With absolutely no prompting or requests from me, multiple individuals (some of whom I had never met in person) went to my LinkedIn profile and wrote extremely generous recommendations for me. Others tweeted or emailed me to see how I was doing, ask if there was anything they could do, and let me know of open positions they thought I might have interest in. It was both a heartwarming and mind-blowing experience.
If you have not already done so, I encourage you to seek out and find your own CME community in whatever way suits you best. Yes, it’s great to have a community to share with and learn from, but the greatest benefit of a community is the support it provides during the times you need it most.