President's Perspective October 2015

Richard Derner, DPM FACFAS

“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.”

Richard Derner, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

Every year, ACFAS spends a significant amount of time, money and energy determining the best topics, speakers and locations for our Annual Scientific Conference, making it by far the best foot and ankle conference in the country.

The final product is the result of countless hours of hard work by our volunteers and staff responding to attendee feedback and the extraordinary expertise demonstrated by our speakers. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but our continued growing attendance and evaluation results are proof that we’re on the right track.

A key differentiator between ACFAS programs and our competition is the College’s robust and rotating faculty of over 150 expert speakers, the vast majority of whom are frequently published. Fresh faces always bring fresh concepts to our classrooms, be they hands-on or didactic programs.

Also behind the scenes, ACFAS has been advocating for more stringent CME accreditation standards by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME). For instance, twice during CPME’s recent revisions of our profession’s CME standards ACFAS called for:

  • Ending “affiliate” or third-party accreditation. This is where a CME provider “piggybacks” on a fully accredited provider to avoid having to apply and maintain their own accreditation.
  • Stronger industry conflict of interest rules to better inhibit commercial bias.
  • Providing a “whistleblower” mechanism so attendees can call CPME’s attention to accreditation violations.

We felt these changes would strengthen podiatry’s CME regulations, which in 2013 ACFAS president Jordan Grossman, DPM, FACFAS called the “last frontier in our march for professional parity.” Unfortunately, CPME only tweaked the conflict of interest rules and not enough in the College’s opinion.

Surely you can’t be serious? Yes, we are very serious. We all receive solicitations to the same set of conferences, provided by the same people, to the same locations, with the same stale lectures, year after year. Many of these are masqueraded as CME lectures, but they are far from being fresh, independent or evidence-based medical education content. They’re moneymakers or pet projects by organizations or individuals who continue to give talks I’ve heard almost 20 years ago.

For nearly 75 years, new voices, contemporary ideas and evidence-based CME content have been the College’s primary mission. And we believe all CME should be subject to more rigorous standards to better educate you, which improves patient care, and that ultimately advances our professional parity.

As the College’s “tagline” states, ACFAS members are proven leaders, lifelong learners, who change patient’s lives. As a lifelong learner, I urge you to be a more critical consumer of CME programming. It is indeed serious stuff.

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