The Certified Medical Meeting Manager movement took another step forward this fall in the form of a completed pilot program, according to James Montague, president and CEO of PMPN, Durham, N.C., which created the CMMM program. PMPN offers a network of independent meeting planners nationwide who serve as on-site logistics managers for medical meetings. Of the 18 PMPN planners who completed the pilot program coursework and took the test, 11 passed.
"We were really looking to get feedback on the body of knowledge we were presenting," says Montague. Other goals included enhancing planners' knowledge of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America code of ethics, the Office of Inspector General Guidance, and the other regulations, codes, and guidances that govern medical meetings of all kinds.
Of the three learning modules offered, two centered on the rules specific to medical meetings, while one dealt with meeting management and logistical issues. "If someone has a Certified Meeting Professional designation, they could opt out of [the latter] portion of it," says Montague. The study guide includes not just information about the rules regarding medical meetings, but also why and how they are relevant to the meeting planner. "Why is it an issue if a pharmaceutical sales representative is in the room? Why is it so important that the feedback forms are sent in a timely manner? We wanted to take the guidelines and make them relevant to what are people are doing on-site."
The fledgling CMMM program's current goal is to be a certificate program, not an ongoing certification like the CMP, he adds. Recognizing that things can--and do--change frequently in the medical meetings industry, Montague says that the ultimate goal is to provide an ongoing certification program that has prerequisites for certification, and ongoing recertification, to ensure designees stay current.
"What we're doing now is putting together a snapshot of where we are at this one point in time and making sure people are competent in what they need to know now," he says. To roll it out to a broader audience--such as the 200 people who have sent PMPN requests for information about the CMMM in recent months--the company is looking for a nonprofit or accreditation organization to partner with on the project.
"We're looking to work with bodies that are already used to accreditation and that are removed from the perception of commercial bias," says Montague. PMPN has been criticized by some for starting the certificate program for its own commercial benefit. "We want it to be clear that this isn't the PMPN certificate. We're calling it what it is: A Certified Medical Meeting Manager certificate." Working with a noncommercial partner to turn it into a full accreditation program, he believes, would make the distinction clear.