Vanderbilt CPD:  Embracing the Future

This new column aims to present and describe the work of CPD leadership teams at SACME member institutions.

On November 17, 2022, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Lori Deitte and Dr. Monique Drago from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.   Dr. Deitte is a Radiologist and Vice Chair of Education since joining Vanderbilt in 2015.  She is also the Vice President for CPD for the past 1.5 years.  Her career has focused on education, relationship building, and collaboration in the learning continuum including undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education, and continuing medical education.  Dr. Deitte has a strong interest in continuous professional development and the positive impact this can have on healthcare. Dr. Drago has a background in education design, with a Doctorate in Instructional Design.  She has been the Director for CPD for 2 years, and has an established career in medical education prior to this role.  Dr. Drago is passionate about healthcare and continuing to find ways to ensure medical education is meaningful, engaging and focused on improving outcomes.  This article will provide a brief summary to questions asked throughout this interview.  For full responses, please watch the video.

Question 1: How would you describe the CME/CPD leadership and governance structure, and relationships at the school?  How were these relationships established, and maintained?

Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University became separate organizations in 2016. Our CPD office falls under VUMC and reports to the Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education and the Executive Vice President for Educational Affairs.  We oversee the CME and MOC program, the Educator Development Program, the Academy for Excellence in Education, and the Center for Advanced Mobile Healthcare Learning.

Our strong relationships help connect the medical center and the school of medicine (university) to further synergize on education and professional development activities..  Relationships are cultivated through regular touch points and collaborations, strategy sessions, education summits and social events.

Question 2: We are curious about the various infrastructures that support CME/CPD.  As each organization approaches this slightly differently, please tell us about your infrastructure. 

How is your program financed and supported? 

We have limited revenue generated by our program, no charge for internal RSS and courses, but there is a charge for outward facing courses and activities.  We are considered a unit that is a benefit to the healthcare community at VUMC, so our budget is supported by VUMC. 

Our SACME members talk about the CME `value proposition’.  What does this mean to you as a CME/CPD leader, and how do you utilize this concept to promote CME/CPD at your AMC?

We are the office of continuous professional development; this title is intentional and includes CME plus professional development and other activities.  We see learning as an opportunity to improve competence, performance, and ultimately patient care. Additionally, professional development and engagement through learning can result in increased career satisfaction and impact faculty retention.  We consider research to be one of the top priorities of the medical center and university that creates value for the institution, patients, and society.  Additionally, as we have begun to connect with other departments on population healthcare concerns, this has brought to light an opportunity for collaboration between our office and the VUMC HR learning unit to expand the HR learning portfolio with the principles used for developing CME activities.  These types of collaborative conversations and relationships provide opportunities to increase the influence and value of our team and the CME program.

Question 3: Many programs are challenged to access and utilize medical practice and/or hospital data to inform their activity needs assessments, identify desired outcomes and design appropriate curricula. 

What success have you had at your institution in terms of promoting data-driven interventions? 

We hosted a strategic planning retreat to address how learning might help drive institutional goals and outcomes.  From this, we plan to pilot a process where our office partners with other offices or departments during the early planning phases of activities, aligning the learning goals with institutional pillar goals and outcomes metrics.

Are there some challenges in this area?

Yes – resources, time, integration of systems, and designing learning activities with measurable outcomes.

Question 4: Please give us an example of at least one activity that you consider to be an innovative and successful achievement for the CME/CPD program at your institution. 

We are successfully integrating micro-learning into the workplace through the development and implementation of a web-based quizzing app, QuizTime.  These quizzing courses are accredited activities.  This idea came out of an education summit with collaboration between informatics, educators, and clinicians, and support from VUMC.  It resulted in the creation of the Center for Advanced Mobile Healthcare Learning which oversees QuizTime.

This quizzing app provides us with opportunities in just-in-time learning, quality improvement, and interprofessional learning. 

Question 5: Please tell us about what challenges and opportunities you will face now and in the next decade ahead? 

As we look to the future, our challenges and opportunities include:

  • Interprofessional learning – how to grow and cultivate interprofessional learning – Joint Accreditation in the future?
  • Data tracking, management, and analysis. Integration of systems to optimize data tracking of outcomes
  • Future learning formats and learner preferences. The quick pivot to online and virtual learning in 2020 has been an amazing journey. We have an opportunity to collaboratively create education and learning for healthcare 2030.
  • Being nimble – we were tested in the pandemic, and we will continue to evaluate and adapt our education design and delivery as we look to the future.   

Question 6: How does your team address implementation of new programming?

We believe in team collaboration and building consensus before we implement any new processes.  We do this by first making sure we all have the same foundation to work off, so we engage in professional development activities together as a team.  We draw upon the tenets of design thinking and we use this process to help us take an organized approach to change, and we make sure that the entire team as well as our stakeholders are heard in the design and implementation.  We continue to work together to ensure we are inclusive and work collaboratively.


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