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The Enigma Series: CME mixed with fun, food and collegiality
e-Reports, June 15, 2015
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A successful CME program to consider for your physician community Untitled document

Michigan City and LaPorte physicians enjoy continuing medical education (CME) packaged and delivered differently. It comes with “good food, fun and wine,” and it’s stated purpose is: ”to remind us why we do what we do!”

Approximately six years ago when physician morale began sagging, vascular surgeon Virginia Newman, MD, in Michigan City believed a way to approach the problem was to remind physicians why they became doctors – appealing to their interest in medicine itself rather than the practice of medicine. If physicians could get together on their terms to discuss medicine outside of hospital or group politics, perhaps a more healthy perspective would elevate morale, she thought.

Thus, the Engima Series was born. Its format is informal, educational but, most of all, interactive and fun. Usually, three physicians are chosen to individually present cases to their peers in a Socratic fashion. Each event – preceded by cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, catered dinner and wine – is free to any physician from any hospital who wants to attend.

“The cases are presented in such a fashion as to arrive at a diagnosis together with the group,” explained Dr. Newman. The presenter then gives a succinct review of the topic, noting the most current treatment and using a PowerPoint program. All cases are from the local community and are not disclosed before the event to encourage participation from all specialties.

“During the case presentations, discussion among physicians is sparked naturally in a friendly, sometimes challenging, and often humorous manner. It is these interactions that bring physicians together, foster collegiality, break down preconceived biases and re-energize interest in the respective specialties,” said Dr. Newman.

Organizing the event, including selection of speakers, assistance with slide presentations and reminders to physicians, is handled by Dr. Newman with assistance from Brian Dickover, MD, pulmonology critical care specialist, as well as Mary Laramore from Northern Indiana Education Foundation (NIEF) and Ellen Sharpe from Franciscan Alliance Marketing who help with communication, venue and CME requirements.

“The sessions become a reaffirmation of the talent of our colleagues and enhance our interest in medicine,” Dr. Newman commented.

Indeed, joy, fun and good meals are proving to be a winning combination. Each physicians only Enigma session hosts between 25 and 35 participants.

Mark Nelson, MD, gastroenterologist from Michigan City, has attended seven or eight sessions. What keeps him coming back? “Collegiality – hanging out with other doctors to discuss interesting cases in a relaxing atmosphere,” he said.

Two things keep internal medicine physician Heather Gillespie, MD, in attendance: “First, we all want to learn, and then we want to do it in a nice, friendly environment.”


Would you like to earn CME in this way?
The Enigma Series was designed as a quarterly activity, planned and sponsored by the Northern Indiana Education Foundation (NIEF) and the Franciscan St. Anthony Michigan City Medical Education Committee (co-chaired by Drs. Newman and Dickover), and the medical staff of Franciscan Michigan City Hospital.

Since many attendees are also members of the LaPorte County Medical Society (LCMS), a fifth Enigma activity, co-sponsored by LCMS, was added in January; the county medical society board often meets following the event.

Dr. Mothkur Dr. Newman Dr. Dickover
Presenters at the May 5 Enigma Series were:
Sheila Mothkur, MD (left); Virginia Newman, MD (middle) and Brian Dickover, MD (right).

Because the CME live activity format is presented by area physicians, no honoraria or commercial support is involved. Evaluation is required and AMA PRA Category 1™

CME credit is awarded by NIEF, an ISMA-accredited CME provider for Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region.

Physicians pay no fee. The cost of meals is shared by NIEF, St. Anthony hospital and the hospital medical staff, who are the invitees; however, presenters often invite other physicians from the county who have collaborated on a case.

A local restaurant first served as the location, but the latest session was held at a building owned by NIEF. A U-shaped table arrangement works best to encourage interaction, and no RSVP is required. Caterers are simply instructed to prepare for 25 to 35 people.

To learn more, contact Dr. Newman at (219) 872-6566 OR Dr. Dickover at (219) 879-0333.

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