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NC-CME Newsletter Interview Series:

7 QUESTIONS for Jann L. Harrison, MSN, CCMEP


1.     Can you describe your role at Christus Santa Rosa Health System, and how CME plays into your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I am the Director of Medical Education for our 6-hospital health system.  I originated the CME program at our hospital system in 1995 and have been in charge of it since.  We sponsor approximately 200 AMA PRA Category 1 credits/year with a total attendance of about 2300 physicians.  In addition to my CME responsibilities, I am the CSRHS Designated Institutional Official; with institutional oversight responsibility of our ACGME accredited residency programs (Family Medicine and Primary Care Sports Medicine) and the numerous University and Military residents who rotate through our facilities.  (Our Children’s Hospital serves as the primary site for the UTHSCSA Pediatric and Pediatric Critical Care Residency Programs).  I am also the Editor in Chief for all written Medical Staff Communications and Publications; and I develop and maintain our ‘For Physicians’ website. 


2.     Why did you choose to pursue the CCMEP credential, when you already possessed a Masters-level degree relevant to your profession? 

When the certification program was announced in 2008, I was President of TACME (the Texas Alliance for CME).  So, as a role model for other CME professionals in Texas, and an expert in the field (at that time I had over 13 years of CME experience), I wanted to pursue the certification.  My colleague Marilyn Peterson at TACME and I presented a Q&A session at the Texas CME Annual Conference in June 2008 after we had both recently taken the exam.  We were in the first round of CCMEP candidates.  I believe that we inspired many of our CME colleagues to pursue the certification as well.


3.     Has the addition of the CCMEP to your title inspired any conversations with colleagues or proffered any unforeseen benefits? 

Many of my CME colleagues throughout Texas queried me about the certification exam and process prior to taking it on their own.  At the time there was no prep course, so I helped them to prepare by focusing on specific areas of study. 


4.     Thinking about the exam (knowing it’s been awhile), were there certain areas that were more challenging for you than others, for any reason?  

I was not familiar with the Educational theorist Malcolm Knowles, as my Masters Degree in Nursing Education emphasized different theorists. 


5.     How did you prepare for the CCMEP exam?  Any pointers to share? 

I downloaded the exam outline from the NC-CME website and used that as a basis for preparation.  I made sure that I was very familiar with the ACCME’s Essential Areas and their Elements, ACCME Accreditation Policies, and the AMA PRA booklet.  I downloaded FAQs from ACCME’s website, as well as their Glossary of CME terms.  And, I read numerous articles from AHRQ, ABMS, JCEHP, PhRMA, and all previous ACME Almanac newsletters. 


6.      Can you highlight any other professional benefits to attaining CCMEP status? 

While nobody has asked me about what the “CCMEP” means next to my name, it does confer a sense of credibility in the community.  Achievement of this certification indicates a mastery level of CME knowledge as well as a commitment to the CME profession.  Even in order to maintain certification (I recertified in 2011) one must remain actively involved in the field professionally.  Therefore, this encourages participation in state and national organizations, membership on state/national committees/boards, presentations at state and/or national conferences, or pursuit of an advanced degree.  


7.     Any final thoughts to share? 

Following on my last point, I believe that it may be difficult for some to maintain the level of eligibility criteria required for certification and maintenance of certification.   Those CME professionals [in small community hospitals] who do not have an advanced degree, or do not have the opportunity to be involved in state or national CME organizations or committee work will have difficulty maintaining the minimum requirement.  Having said that, it is not exactly a bad thing.  This level of certification does need to be something to strive for, to set one apart from others.  If it’s too easy to achieve or maintain, then it diminishes the accomplishment that the certification signifies.


In addition, I see the role of CME changing within my hospital system (and perhaps others), due to the increase in co-management partners and clinical integration across the system.  There will be a diminished need for certified-CME versus non-accredited medical education, since our leadership already utilizes incentives to encourage physicians to attend training sessions on various mission-critical competencies.  These incentives are, unfortunately, not permitted under CME guidelines, so while these grow in importance and prevalence, CME programming at our hospital system may decline. Concurrently, one of our goals for the future is to better align all the caregivers in our system with best practices by tailoring different curricula, whether CME or non-CME, to the specific needs of each hospital within the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa system.


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