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CCMEP Spotlight: Janice B. Sibley, MS, MA

Dave Clausen, CCMEP, and member of the NC-CME Marketing Committee, interviews CME Professionals about their career paths. This week's Spotlight shines on the American College of Cardiology’s Janice B. Sibley, MS, MA, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs within the Lifelong Learning Division.


And while not a CCMEP (de-rigueur for this interview series), this week’s Spotlight subject has a unique role in leading a team of CCMEPs and incentivizing others to earn the credential.  You’ll no doubt find her story compelling!


Dave Clausen: Over the past year and a half, the ACC’s Lifelong Learning (LL) division has undergone an organizational transformation, to focus resources and people in new ways.  What are some notable ways in which this will affect the creation and delivery of CME?

Janice Sibley: ACC’s transformation is going to affect CME because we’re building a system where we’re completely aligning the desired needs of our membership with our curriculum offerings, and then continuing that alignment through our outcomes assessment which, of course, cycles back into the renewed alignment of our education needs.  We’ve always had high quality education, but now we have a comprehensive and coordinated offering that addresses the practice gaps and other needs for our community because we have an evidence base to work with.  It’s not only better data collection, but also more purposeful data collection. 

So, bringing it back to CME, it feeds into all the building blocks.  Previously, we were going through the motions of what high quality certified education required, but we weren’t stitching those elements of our educational process together in a structured way, so that we could see how all of the different elements were truly interacting and precisely how our curricula ultimately had an impact on patient care.

We’re now beginning to use the data resources that were always there, albeit outside of the LL division, within the group (Science and Quality) that’s engaged with the workplace and manages our registries, allowing us to link that data back to what we do in CME. What’s unique is that Science and Quality are now working together to use this data to make determinations on the impact of education.

DC: In concert with the organizational transformation, you’ve been building the Academic Affairs team, through internal and external hires.  What are the key qualities that define the ideal team member for this group?

JS: Clearly, when bringing people on board, there’s always an element of specific expertise you look for.  But more important than that is an individual’s ability to be creative in their job, to be able to step back and see the processes, systems and tools that we’ve always used and think about how they can be used differently to help us meet our mission.  For example, looking at how difficult it is to get a certain form filled out, and then thinking maybe that’s because the delivery method is wrong. 

The other critical quality is the ability to be flexible. Whenever you pursue the type of course that we’re pursuing, you need to realize that the first attempt may not work, and you have to be able to play with the team and be able to bounce back and around barriers.

DC: While not a CCMEP yourself, you have encouraged and incentivized your team to attain the credential, with 3 out of 4 earning it so far and the 4th currently in process.  How did you set up the incentive and why is the CCMEP important to your organization?

JS: Setting up the incentive was not hard at all, we simply rolled it into the goals for individuals for the year, as an incentive not an ultimatum, so that if they achieved the goal, we would pay for their attendance to the ACEHP annual meeting.  This works, of course, because we know that everyone likes to attend and the content and activities of the meeting are well-aligned with our organizational goals.

This is a unique part of our story, because when I came into the organization one of the things I noticed about us that we are a credentialed membership (across HCP classifications, etc.) and in an organization where credentials are highly valued, I felt that we needed to earn the recognition and respect of all the other individuals with a credential.  The CCMEP meets that goal and it helps them operate at a peer level within the organization.  We’ve made a point of publicizing these accomplishments internally, so that our senior leadership sees this, that the cabinet and board of trustees see this. 

The anecdotal stuff has been really satisfying to see for the team as well.  What I have heard is that more individuals from outside our division have begun to tap members of the team for their expertise directly, without needing to go through me, which is a great sign of that recognition. 

DC: In many large healthcare organizations today, the CME/CPD function is notably less prominent and influential than others and often has to fight for visibility and budget.  Do you agree? What practical steps can CME professionals take to change that?

JS: I do think that this has basically been true, even when I came to the College. While there was respect for the CME certification process, there was the impression that this was something you did at the very end.  I think there are two elements to this: visibility first has to come before budget, because before you’re recognized it’s difficult to get budget.  We understand that Ellen’s group is not only responsible for the accreditation aspects, but we’ve also given her group the function of MOC, which is a huge area with a process that’s more complex than the CME process.  We’ve also tasked her team with keeping their thumb on the pulse of the regulatory environment, such as the decision around the Sunshine Act, and to translate what it means for education and other relevant functions here.  So when you do this sort of thing, you raise the value of this group because it gives them a wider breadth of discourse and people start to see them differently. 

We are ALSO involving the accreditation team earlier and throughout the process of CME programming along with all the other experts around the table (member experts who are MDs that contribute to the curriculum development, e-learning experts, data people who present the outcomes, etc.).  Once you have the visibility, you have a much easier task to fight for the budget because you’re commanding the respect and attention that earns the budget.

DC: What’s the most exciting innovation (technology, policy, etc.) on the horizon that you see emerging for CME and CME professionals?

JS: If we think about how our world is changing, what we’re seeing is the direction government is heading, a large movement of significant numbers of practitioners into hospital-based systems, so there are more opportunities for team-based CME.  There are also increasing certification and licensure requirements, based on performance for individuals and teams, not so much on the knowledge basis….the building of systems and linking of systems together where stakeholders will very much care that you didn’t just get your CME but did it to address a specific need or gap.  So we’re working very hard to make sure that we can offer that kind of impact data. 

DC: Which CME professional (living or dead) do you most admire for their contributions to the field?

JS: I didn’t have a single name come to mind.  We’ve been very fortunate in the College to have such incredible mentors, namely Marcia Jackson and Joe Green.  When I think about leadership, I look above me to Mary Ellen, ACC’s Chief Learning Officer, and I also look below to Ellen and her team as mentors, because they’re experts focused on their roles. So there’s not really one, but many here.  In many respects, I’m the fortunate person to have been a part of this organization’s change, but the seeds of these changes started many years ago with other individuals.


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