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A Leader in Medical-Meetings Education Turns Her Sights on Newcomers

Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, HMCC, made a name for herself 10 years ago with the launch of the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate program. Now she has a new program and a book to show beginners the ropes.

MeetingsNet’s Changemakers list recognizes outstanding meeting professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find the full 2023 Changemakers list here.

Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, HMCC

President, Schaumann Consulting Group, LLC

For launching a certification for newcomers in the medical-meetings field

Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, HMCC, has had an outsized influence on the medical-meetings industry over the years, and she’s at it again.

Schaumann, president of Schaumann Consulting Group, launched the Medical Meeting Professional certificate program in March, designed for planners with one to two years of experience in medical meetings. While she had hoped to get maybe a dozen attendees at the inaugural session and use the feedback to hone the content, more than 100 people came through the door to hear about the basics of medical-meeting planning.

That first session was held in conjunction with Pharma Forum, and Schaumann already has seven more MMP certificate sessions booked through the end of the year. She also has an accompanying text, How to Plan Medical Meetings and Events, that’s scheduled to be published in July. The book is a collaboration with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, a third-party planning company based in Caledonia, Wis.

The impetus for the program, Schaumann explains, was current staffing challenges for medical meeting departments. “During Covid we lost a lot of [medical meeting planning] talent and we haven’t gotten it back,” she says. “Companies started hiring a lot of newbies with little or no experience in medical meetings” or transitioning people from other departments into the meeting-planning team. The knowledge gap is aggravated “because no one has time to train anymore,” Schaumann says, noting that companies often onboard recruits for a week then, because they’re so busy, push them into the job before they’re ready.

Making of an Expert

Schaumann has had a long career in the meetings industry, but her work focusing on medical meeting began after the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as the Open Payments Act) passed in March 2010 as part of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This created demanding reporting requirements for pharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers and complicated the already challenging work of medical-meeting planning.

At that time, she was teaching at St. Louis University, where she wrote the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate (HMCC) program and its accompanying Breaking the Code to Healthcare Compliance, a health-policy resource book now in its fifth edition. Since launching in 2013, more than 4,000 people have earned the HMCC, a certification now owned and managed by Meeting Professionals International.

“I’ve always focused on developing and training new folks in our industry,” Schaumann says. “I like to mentor [meeting professionals] because we are not always regarded with the status that we deserve. I work with a lot of doctors, and I hear them say, ‘We’re scientists,’ and I say, ‘You know, we’re scientists, too. We’re meeting scientists.’ We need to learn to respect our own profession.”

“I’ve been told many times, ‘You’ll never do that; you can’t do that,’ and every single time I do it. Those words are like gold to me. When somebody says you’re not going to do something, that’s for sure when I get it done.”

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