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Scott Kober (left) and Derrick Warnick, CMEpalooza

Educator, Educate Yourself

What’s a continuing medical education specialist to do when education for CME providers is scarce and costly? 2018 Changemakers Derek Warnick and Scott Kober say, create a free online conference for all, of course!

Derek Warnick
Senior Manager Healthcare Education
Founder and Co-producer
Scott Kober
Medical Writer
MedCaseWriter Inc.
Co-producer, CMEpalooza

For providing a free, convenient, quality continuing education opportunity for all medical education providers

Making Change
Warnick: I work in an industry that focuses on providing continuing education opportunities for healthcare professionals, yet there was a dearth of CE opportunities for ourselves. The primary method for CME/CE professionals to increase their knowledge base was to take a couple days off, travel a few hours to another city, and attend the few live conferences targeted to their interests. Given the expense, many organizations struggled to send even one person, let alone an entire staff. 

CMEpalooza was developed to provide an educational opportunity for everyone, regardless of their position, income, organization’s financial status, vacation schedule, fear of flying, etc. Our goal was to remove the three main barriers to accessing education: time, travel, and cost. Learners can watch CMEpalooza sessions live, or they can watch the archived videos, usually within an hour of the live session finishing. And CMEpalooza is free. It’s always been free and it will always be free or we won’t do it. 

What’s Next?
Kober: The medical education world typically relies on the “experts”—i.e., the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who serve as course faculty—to be the primary determinants of content rigor and applicability. Consequently, our internal industry education focuses instead on topics like educational design and data collection/assessment at the expense of the heart of our programming—the content. 

There are many ways for providers of medical education to plan, prepare, and offer guidance to our faculty. We need to stop being afraid of those who hold clinical expertise and work with them as educational partners instead of putting them on a pedestal as untouchable deities. 

Managing Change
Warnick: I was struggling to find an eloquent way of saying “always keep an open mind,” until I remembered that George Bernard Shaw had already done the heavy lifting for me: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

Best Business Advice
Warnick: I suppose it says something about my so-called “business sense” when I relate that the best business advice I ever received comes from a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip in which an outraged Calvin bitterly complains to his stuffed tiger Hobbes that his artistic creativity is being manipulated by the corporate machinations of the manufacturers of his connect-the-dots book. He ends his rant with a declaration that “from now on, I’ll connect the dots my own way.” That is the ethos with which I try to live my life, both personally and professionally, and it was by connecting the dots my own way that CMEpalooza came to exist.

Thinking Differently?
Kober: One of my favorite quotes is, “Some see the glass as half empty. Some see the glass as half full. I see the glass and say to myself, ‘Somewhere, there must be another glass.’” Coming up with ways to solve challenging problems is a big part of what drives CMEpalooza in everything from our event promotion to the actual educational design and delivery—we’re unafraid to try new things. Yes, sometimes we fail miserably, but when we do, I can usually blame Derek.

Hour to Spare?
Warnick: Probably read a book, most likely a novel of some sort. I recently had a discussion about the value of fiction vs. nonfiction with a friend who views novels with the same skeptical eye as my 13-year-old looks at an Atari 2600. My point to him was that I read fiction because I am much more interested in reading about the impossible than I am the possible. I thought that was pretty clever until I remembered that I was in the middle of reading The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, which is a memoir about the everyday life of a shepherd (obviously) in northern England—and I was enjoying it immensely. Completely ruined my argument.




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