By Kurt Snyder, JD
“Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Next week, I will be doing one of my favorite things as a CME provider — I will be attending my state and regional organization (SRO) annual meeting. Specifically, I will be attending the 5th Annual Midwest Providers Conference in Columbus, Ohio. The next day, my associate director will be attending the SRO in Southern California organized by the Southern California Medical Education Council (SCMEC).
These two meetings are great examples of SRO annual meetings that happen each and every year. There are many other SROs throughout the United States. I encourage you to find one close to you or consider creating one if there are not any “local” to your area. Below is a list of additional SROs.
Why Do I Like SROs So Much?
First, I get to rub elbows with my colleagues who are in close proximity to me. It is great working with people from across the world, but nothing is like home cooking. It is easier for us to talk about local issues and the like, and I often talk to people I have known for years.
Second, they tend to be less formal and more pragmatic in nature. I love going to the various national meetings such as the Alliance Annual Conference in January each year, but sometimes I find myself searching for solutions and examples that I can implement immediately. It has been my experience that SRO meetings tend to provide ideas/lessons learned that I can leverage immediately.
Third, the cost of SRO meetings is generally less expensive. As far as CME providers go, I have a lot of employees. I embrace professional development, and I think of myself as someone who seeks the very best of my staff. With that said, sending people to national meetings is expensive. With air, hotel and registration fees, it can cost up to $4,000 to send an employee to a meeting. I can’t afford to send 20 people to a single meeting. SROs are a great alternative to national meetings. Does this mean that you should only attend your SROs? Of course not, you should budget and support as many organizations as you can. In a perfect world, you have a mixture of support for local and national meetings.
Fourth, SROs are a great way to allow your junior staff to present in a less intimidating forum. We all have had stage fright at some point in our lives. SROs typically are more inviting and more forgiving in this respect.
Fifth, it is the right thing to do. Some providers are big, some are small. Some specialize in a specific area, some of us take a broad approach. Some are schools, some are not. But, in spite of all of our differences, we all have the same fundamental mission: We want to improve patient care via continuing education. If by sharing lessons learned at an SRO annual meeting I help someone else do their job better, I am still improving patient care. In reverse, I can leverage what I learn at these meetings to help make my institution better.
Below is some additional information that might answer your questions on SROs from the ACEHP website.
Just as healthcare is shaped in part by local influences, so is continuing professional development (CPD) affected by issues at the local, state and regional levels. These factors include the types and distribution of healthcare providers in a particular region, their educational needs and preferences, the local availability of continuing educational resources, and each state’s own legal, regulatory and licensure requirements for continuing education.
Why Form a SRO?
To enhance the quality of CPD, continuing healthcare professional educators have formed state and regional organizations (SROs) to provide local opportunities for education, networking and career development.
Who Belongs to a SRO?
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of many individuals, SROs have grown to include hundreds of continuing healthcare professional educators. SRO members represent hospitals, health systems, medical schools, medical education companies and more. Job responsibilities of SRO members range from directors, managers and coordinators to entry-level educational staff.
What Does an SRO Do?
SROs present local educational meetings, provide networking opportunities, offer mentoring programs, tools and resources, conduct research, and other important information. While addressing issues and delivering services of interest, SROs may work closely with state medical societies and local politicians to incorporate relevant state content.
What Is the Structure of an SRO?
Administrative structure and constituent demographics vary from one SRO to another. Before joining, understand how your local SRO is structured.
However they are structured, SROs share a commitment to education, collaboration and professional growth. SROs provide the opportunity to advance grass-roots level knowledge and connections.