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The Value of the CME/CPD Medical Director
by Robert Dantuono, MHA

This past July, a question was posed on the SACME members’ listserv regarding the value and relevance of the role of CME/CPD medical director to the program. There is no ACCME requirement that an accredited provider appoint a CME medical director. Bruce A. Nitsche, MD, Medical Director, Continuing Medical Education at Virginia Mason, provided this eloquent summarization of the key attributes and benefits of having an active, clinical faculty member in this important leadership role. Dr. Nitsche stressed that: 

  1. The medical director should have experience in teaching, adult learning, and the “nuances” of running an ACCME accredited program.

  2. The medical director should maintain an active role in clinical practice, at least part-time, and probably in a less “specialized” role so as to have a broader knowledge of healthcare delivery.

  3. Areas which could be enhanced if you have a medical director include:
    • Interactions with course activity directors and other clinical educators
    • Activity content and curriculum development and evaluation
    • Identification of actionable learner gaps and desired outcomes
    • Integration with maintenance of certification
    • Inclusion of quality and safety initiatives that address institutional and departmental goals
    • A greater potential for identifying opportunities for CME/CPD as well as clinical research
  4. Organizationally, there should be a “dyad” relationship between the medical director and the administrative director of CME/CPD, as a close working relationship is imperative to anticipate and resolve the many controversies and issues that arise.

  5. The medical director could also serve as chair of the CME/CPD Committee but not vice versa, unless the chair of the CME Committee is willing to take on the additional duties of medical director.

  6. The job of medical director is especially challenging if it is structured as a part-time leadership role, in addition to full-time clinical and teaching duties.  Like most academic faculty, the person in the position must have adequate protected time for administrative responsibilities and be able to balance their other responsibilities efficiently and effectively.

  7.  Finally, for any CME/CPD medical director it should be imperative that they be active members of SACME. 

If our readers have experiences or additional comments to share as to the value of the CME medical director position, please post them to the SACME listserv.

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