Kathryn Decker and Alexa Vintimilla are colleagues at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Kathryn is the lead for the Global IME Grants team, overseeing operations for all therapeutic areas with specific management responsibilities for neuroscience. Alexa is a manager on the Global IME Grants team and the lead for oncology therapeutic areas. Both women recently achieved their CHCP credential and share what it was like to work toward that goal.
How long have you worked in CME/CPD?
What motivated you to pursue the CHCP credential? How did having another person in your organization pursue the CHCP credential at the same time influence your decision?
We were motivated by the challenge of a test and the recognition of our experience and knowledge. It also provides a level of recognition within our organization. Our colleagues in other functional departments, such as medical information and medical communications, have internal and/or external certification requirements. The CHCP credential was something that we added to our organizational goals and objectives this year to be more in line with the expectations of other groups within medical affairs.
What is the most important benefit of being a CHCP to you as a CPD professional?
Kathryn: Having never been involved in the development of educational activities from the provider side, I found that preparing for the test expanded my knowledge beyond the areas that impact my work on a day-to-day basis. For example, the requirements for mitigating conflicts of interest were an area that I was less familiar with, and learning about those details was very informative.
Alexa: For me, studying for the CHCP exam was beneficial in that it helped me recall key components of instructional design and adult learning principles. The sections related to the various accrediting bodies and laws around CPD also were informative and applicable to my current role as a supporter.
What value does your CHCP designation bring to your organization?
The CHCP certification has positioned us as IME experts within our organization and has been positively recognized by leadership. We hope that our full IME team will obtain the certification and be recognized in the same way as they become eligible.
How did you prepare for the exam? What were the benefits of having someone in your organization preparing at the same time?
Kathryn: As far as preparation is concerned, I wish I could say that we were collaborative and had study sessions, but unfortunately, the virtual environment and our current workload precluded this. I prepared by taking the practice exam and researching the topics listed in the test preparation materials. The ACCME website was a valuable resource. I also Googled the topics listed on the exam outline and found multiple resources regarding instructional design and other topics. I was surprised that it took close to the full three hours to complete the exam. When it came time to hit the submit button, I was pretty concerned that I might not pass. It was more difficult than I expected, but in the end, the exam information provided by the Alliance was very helpful in preparing for the test.
Alexa: My approach to studying for the exam was similar to Kathy’s. I prepared by reviewing the exam outline on the Alliance website and searching for topics online that I was less familiar with. I also took the practice exam which was very helpful. On the day of the exam, I mostly relied on my personal experiences as a provider and as a supporter to help me answer each question. I re-visited many questions throughout the exam and took the full three hours to complete it. Overall, it was challenging which made passing even more rewarding.
What would you say to someone considering pursuing the CHCP designation?
Just do it! It is not easy, but the process of preparing for and taking the exam will expand and reinforce your knowledge, increase your confidence and broaden your scope of understanding of the CPD landscape.
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