Ralph F. Józefowicz, MD, FAAN, chair of the Education Committee and Annual Meeting Subcommittee, speaks with AAN.com about selecting Annual Meeting Education Program courses. Daniel B. Hier, MD, MBA, FAAN, conducted the interview.
AAN.com: Thank you for talking to us about how the Education Committee put together the education program for the 2009 Annual Meeting in Seattle. What was your role in this process?
Józefowicz: My role as chair of the Education Committee and Annual Meeting Subcommittee is to ensure that our Annual Meeting Education Program is excellent, comprehensive, and fully in compliance with ACCME standards. I work closely with AAN staff to ensure that we have a fair and efficient process in place for vetting new course proposals and renewing established programs. We have significantly increased the role that Academy Sections play as well as the role general neurologists play in course selection by forming the Topic Work Groups. We have also aligned the curriculum at the Annual Meeting with external benchmarks, including the content outline of the ABPN cognitive examination.
AAN.com: How many courses will be offered this year? How many topic areas will be covered?
Józefowicz: 184 programs in 26 topic areas.
AAN.com: What is a Topic Work Group and what role does it play in deciding what courses will be offered at the Annual Meeting?
Józefowicz: A Topic Work Group is a group of experts on a topic that helps select the programming for the Annual Meeting. A Topic Work Group consists of members from the Annual Meeting Subcommittee, the Education Committee, Section members, a general neurology practitioner, and two at-large members. This process was introduced several years ago and has dramatically increased involvement by Academy members in the review process.
AAN.com: By what process are courses developed and selected for the Annual Meeting? How are course directors and faculty selected?
Józefowicz: Each Annual Meeting Education program is reviewed immediately following the Annual Meeting.
Each program is evaluated by the attendees, directors, auditors, Annual Meeting Subcommittee members, Education Committee members, and Topic Work Group members. All of these evaluations are reviewed by the Topic Work Group members and recommendations for continuation of current programs or new programs are forwarded to the Education Committee. The Education Committee selects the programs and the directors for the next year. Each director is allowed to select his or her own faculty.
AAN.com: What role do the sections of the Academy play in developing new courses (for example, Epilepsy, Headache, Stroke, etc.).
Józefowicz: The sections provide members for the Topic Work Groups. Sections generate new program proposals and lecture topics. Sections are very important to the development of the education program.
AAN.com: What role does attendance play in deciding what courses to continue?
Józefowicz: It helps to determine programs that are of interest to attendees and it helps to predict which programs should continue and which can be rotated off the program. Attendance is only one portion of the evaluation process.
AAN.com: Can you tell me what some of the top rated courses were in Chicago last April?
Józefowicz: The best-attended programs are the full-day courses—specifically the course in the Neurology Update series and the Therapy series. Multiple sclerosis course are also always well attended. Many attendees want to attend overview programs that give them updates on a variety of topics in one day. The popularity of these programs continues to grow.
AAN.com: Thank you for talking with AAN.com. We look forward to another year of successful educational programming at the Annual Meeting.
Dr. Józefowicz has received personal compensation in an editorial capacity for The Neurologist.
Within the past 24 months, Dr. Hier received personal compensation for medical legal consulting to legal firms regarding medical malpractice issues. In the same period, he was paid for his role as editor of MDnetguide. Additionally, Dr. Hier has given expert testimony in medical malpractice cases.