What to Look for in a Grant Proposal - Pharmaceutical Executive


What to Look for in a Grant Proposal
When it comes to effective learning formats, one size does not fit all—and each size comes in a variety of different styles. How to choose programs that effect change in physicians' practices and maximize investment?

Pharmaceutical Executive

Utilizing Competency-Based Learning Formats

Most certification boards require continuous professional development and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) for their members to maintain certification. In addition, the Joint Commission has established new processes for physicians seeking institutional privileges upon renewal every two years. CME providers must be aware of all such developments and their impact on certified educational activities.

Culture and Gender Considerations

Cultural, spiritual, and ethnic beliefs significantly affect one's interpretation and acceptance of healthcare. Consider programs that include:
  • CME cases, vignettes, and presentations that incorporate cultural and ethnic elements into the content provided.
  • Women presenters. Fifty-five percent of physicians under the age of 35 are women, yet few, if any, women are included as faculty in live or enduring educational programs. The absence of women "on the podium" may send a negative message to young physicians and minimize their readiness to engage in the educational messages presented.

Presentation matters

The most dynamic content and innovative formats wither at the hands of a poor speaker or a badly produced visual presentation. A program must include trained speakers and quality production skills. The simple inclusion of a dynamic moderator can save an otherwise lackluster presenter and/or program and minimize the perceived risk to faculty presenters.

  • Encouraging faculty members to improve their skills can be accomplished in numerous ways and helping them to assimilate skills into their personal delivery style will be readily evident as their performance improves. Adding slides to the presentation that pose a question, encourage debate, elicit opinions, or prompt the sharing of similar experiences are non-threatening ways to coax faculty to vary their delivery.

Investment maximization and value-added services

Commercial supporters looking to maximize the investment of their educational dollars also should consider education that "sticks." Jason Singer, senior grant associate at Eli Lilly and Company, challenges CME providers to provide innovative methods that will foster education that continues, rather than continuing education. "CME providers must be skilled in understanding the difference," says Singer, "and focus on providing practical, recurring sound bytes that resonate with learners, providing them multiple opportunities to access the information when they are most ready to receive it."

Education that sticks

  • Programs are especially effective when made available for an expanded audience, over an extended time frame, in multiple configurations to reach the learner when his "readiness" is high.
  • Enduring Internet access to content is increasingly valued and utilized by learners, and multiple types of learners participate in CME-accredited activities.
  • Adding accreditation for non-physicians (nurse practitioners, RNs, pharmacists) is another way to amortize the cost of programs while expanding the reach and utility of the supported programs.

Consider Your Own Learning Style Preferences

We can all readily name that favorite teacher, the professor who made a concept crystal clear, and the last best conference we attended for our own learning needs. What did you remember about the topic, the issue, or the value of the information to you? Was the information compelling and engaging and did the presenters exhibit a passion for the information they shared? Was it fun? Learning that has a fun factor is always more memorable, and in an appropriate environment, helps ensure the learners' "R's" are aligned.

Finally, adult-learning principles must be the instructional foundation of the content developed. Concepts delivered and measured in small modules, or 'modulettes' of 15 minutes or less are manageable learning blocks for otherwise time-constrained professionals. Color, graphics, examples, and ways to assimilate the information into one's domain of conscious behavior will result in effective learning and change. Changing behavior, in the end, is a complex, multidimensional task.

Sharyn Lee is president and CEO of MEBN. She can be reached at


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