Educational opportunities are the core of your College membership

Educational opportunities are the core of your College membership

Happy spring to all of our members and friends. Most of our clinics are busy with spring allergy patients as well as the other patients we care for all year. We are having a robust aeroallergen season here in Mississippi as a result of last winter’s rain and spring’s moderating temperatures. From my personal fascination with weather patterns, I feel confident that the same pollen burst is happening in your areas as well.

As we move further into 2024, many of you will be attending local, state and regional allergy meetings that will be a great source of information, comradery and, of course, the always necessary CME credits that help us keep MOC and, in many instances, license requirements up to date. For many of these meetings, the CME is offered through the College’s education department. There is a lot of “behind-the scenes” work that the College education staff and many member volunteers do. I thought it would be interesting to describe this process so you could better appreciate another example of the wonderful benefits provided by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Professional education and planning are conducted by the six education committees with oversight from the Education Council. Every few years we conduct a member needs assessment survey (please respond to this survey when you get it in your email – we do read them and do act upon the responses we get!) to get a better understanding of where to focus our educational initiatives and resources. We use the results of the needs assessment survey, membership trends, course evaluations, and many other data points to analyze and discuss during our Education Summit, which is held as a face-to-face meeting every three years. Our leaders and volunteers take that information and develop a three-year Education Blueprint, which serves as our strategic plan for providing top-class professional education to our members.

Each year, the six education committees, along with invited experts, work in small groups to propose, develop and evaluate continuing education activities and resources. All committee members must complete a conflict-of-interest disclosure to ensure the committees’ work is unbiased. It can take anywhere from six weeks to over a year to develop an educational activity. The annual meeting program process itself starts more than 18 months in advance!

For many individuals, the whole CME process is a mystery. Some feel that it is overly restrictive, and others often take the effort for granted, as if the ability to provide CME is “automatic” for the College after just registering and paying a fee. However, in order to provide CME credit, we must maintain our accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The College currently holds the highest level of accreditation, which is Accreditation with Commendation. Being accredited by ACCME means that every 4-6 years we are audited by ACCME and must provide evidence that demonstrates our compliance with all the criteria, standards and policies of ACCME accreditation. We spend more than 18 months to prepare for this audit of our activities.

We recently received notification from ACCME that our CME renewal application has been once again approved with commendation for another six years, which puts us at the very top of the elite CME offices for professional organizations. We are the only allergy organization currently accredited with commendation! Congratulations and thanks go out to education staff and educational leadership for your outstanding efforts to keep our educational efforts recognized at the highest possible level. Special recognition goes to the 2022/2023 Education Council members (chaired by Dr. Mervat Nassef) and the 2022/2023 Accreditation & Certification Committee (chaired by Dr. Gary Steven and Vice Chair Dr. Iris Otani).

As important as CME is to our educational offerings, it is far from all that we do. Did you know that the College Learning Connection is our professional education home and since its launch in 2015, has served more than 12,000 members and other allergy practitioners? There are currently more than 150 educational activities offered in the CLC, with new titles being added every month – most are free of charge to College members. The total includes more than 45 webinars and 20 AllergyTalk podcasts, more than 200 hours of Annual Meeting content, clinical resources, toolkits and interactive eYardsticks and eParameters.  The CLC also provides 24/7 access to your CME certificates and CME transcript, information about MOC and some first-class board review materials.

Each year the College offers programming with more than 400 hours of CME credit. All of these programs “expire” after a defined period of time, so only the latest and most up-to-date information is available in the CLC.  Our new newest content includes:

  • Anaphylaxis Toolkit update
  • Cannabis 101 – seven modules
  • MicroCME (55 modules)
  • CAPE (Community and Academic Partnership in Education) Toolkit
  • Asthma Biologics Self-Assessment program
  • Allergy Extract Quiz
  • AIM Self-Assessment Volumes 1 and 2
  • Practice Management Resource Quiz
  • On Demand 2023 Annual Meeting

Of particular note is a feature called MicroCME. If you are like me, your week (and sometimes weekend) is packed with things to do – professional, personal, family, hobby, etc. However, we all typically have snippets of time and often would like to learn something new to better care for our patients. MicroCME modules can be an incredibly useful resource for you. Each module is less than 30 minutes and covers a variety of topics and you can get CME credit. It is free for College members. We currently have 55 modules available and more are on the way.

All of this educational content is produced by your member colleagues and other experts and coordinated by the education department. Volunteers from our six Education Council committees  propose, develop, implement and evaluate all of these activities. They help review countless hours of content to ensure the College is providing the highest quality, scientifically valid, most relevant and unbiased continuing education possible. If you have a passion for education and would like to get more involved with like-minded colleagues, please consider joining an Education Council committee.

Lest you think I have thoroughly defined all that the education department does in my comments above, get a taste of some the other efforts they make on your behalf as members of the College – almost everything in the CLC and more! These folks are champions for our specialty and provide a product that makes all of us better allergists-immunologists, scientists, allied health professionals and just citizens who realize the important impact that allergic and immune diseases make worldwide and are committed to mitigating the impact as much as we possibly can, both individually and collectively.

I wish all of you a robust, interesting, safe and successful spring and summer. As always, if I can be of any help to you, feel free to reach out to me directly ( There is much to do for our patients, our profession and our organization. Support the College whenever and wherever you can – it does make a difference!