Continuing medical education (CME) consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance as well as relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public.


Core requirements for certifying an activity for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™: 1) Must conform to AMA's definition of CME; 2) Address demonstrated educational needs; 3) Communicate to prospective participants a clearly identified educational purpose and/or objectives in advance of participation in the activity; 4) Be designed using approved learning formats (Live, Enduring Materials, etc.); 5) Present content appropriate in depth and scope for the intended audience; 6) Be nonpromotional in nature and planned in accordance with the ACCME's Standards for Commercial Support; 7) Evaluate the effectiveness in achieving its educational purpose and/or objectives; 8) Document credits claimed; 9) Be certified in advance of the activity (an activity may not be retroactively approved for credit); and 10) Include the AMA Credit Designation Statement in any promotional materials. Credit is awarded hour-for-hour and a physician can only claim the amount of time they spent in the activity.


CME Application Questions


A "professional practice gap" can be defined as the difference between processes or outcomes observed in practice, and those potentially achievable. Said another way, a gap can be expressed as the difference between what actually occurs and what ought to occur. The educational planning process begins by identifying the "practice gaps" of your own learners. Professional practice is not limited to clinical, patient care practice, but can also include, for example, research practice or administrative practice.


Ask yourself: Why does the gap or problem exist? What are the underlying needs or causes of the gap that should be addressed? Does the problem or gap exist because there is a knowledge deficit (learners don’t know something), a competency problem (learners don’t have methods or strategies to do something) or a performance deficit (learners don’t execute the methods or strategies resulting in sub-optimal behavior)? Or some combination of causes? Describe how the gap or problem was analyzed. What sources and kinds of information did you use to determine the cause of the gap or problem? Your analysis of the causes of the gaps is your needs assessment and must link to the sources you have included with the application.


CME activities are designed to increase physician competency, influence physician behavior and /or improve patient outcomes. After you have identified the gap or problem and determined the causes, you must decide the goals you want to achieve. What is the desired level of change in your learners you are striving for? How can the CME activity be designed to produce the changes in competence, performance or patient outcomes you want?


The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) have determined that there are 10 critical competencies that physicians must master in order to provide optimal clinical care. Determine which of the competencies is relevant to the gap or problem you have identified and that the CME activity will address. Integrate the competency into your educational design.


You want to create content and format that promotes improvements or quality in healthcare.  CME activities cannot promote proprietary interests of commercial interests. How will you ensure that all decisions concerning the activity (needs, objectives, content, faculty, methods, etc.) are free from the influence or control of commercial interests? How will you ensure that faculty present education that is fair, unbiased and non-promotional? Identifying relevant financial relationships, resolving conflicts of interest, disclosure to learners, and appropriate management of commercial support contribute to ensuring the independence of the CME activity.


Scope of practice refers to the rational link between the content of the activity and what the learners or target audience are reasonably expected to be doing in the type of professional practices they have.


Identified gaps and desired results should be considered before the learning objectives and educational content are developed. Learning objectives represent the translation of identified practice gaps into relevant educational goals. Planners should develop and present learning objectives to speakers and faculty, not vice versa. Well thought out objectives serve as a guide to faculty so that they can create content that will help the learners close their gaps. Objectives should contain action verbs and criteria that will help activity planners evaluate whether or not the gap was closed and if the activity improved competency, influenced behavior and/or improved patient outcomes.


Educational planners need to recognize why their learners have not been able to translate new knowledge, competence or performance into practice. Think about what factors can be identified to explain why the physician has not changed what they are doing. Educational planners need to consider addressing these barriers to change in their CME activities.


Formal CME activities are only one strategy that can be used to close the gaps of learners and affect learner change. Educational planners can include support strategies and additional resources as an adjunct to the educational activity that may further help close the gaps of learners. These tactics go beyond the educational activity or intervention.


The current CME application fee is $1,000. Direct any additional questions regarding application fees to your CME specialist.

Commercial Support


Commercial Support is financial, or in-kind, contributions given by a commercial interest, which is used to pay all or part of the costs of a CME activity. (Examples: meals, speaker honoraria or travel expenses, meeting space, etc.).
UAB has very strict rules regarding commercial support of CME activities.  If you are considering or intending to use commercial support for your activity, please contact the Division of CME prior to submitting your application to make certain your activity is in compliance with both UAB and ACCME commercial support standards.


You will need to make a direct request to the commercial company.


Commercial support must be acknowledged on your publicity and at your event. The wording to use to acknowledge commercial support should be "We gratefully acknowledge an unrestricted educational grant from ...".


No, a commercial support company should never be listed as a sponsor of an activity. They can only be listed as a "supporter".


Yes. The most updated certification statement needs to be listed on any promotional material. If you receive commercial support, it must also be acknowledged.  Please send a copy of the promotional materials to your CME specialist for review prior to publication.

Commercial Support Letter of Agreement


A LOA is a written agreement specifying the terms, conditions, and purposes of the commercial support awarded by a commercial entity to a provider. All commercial support, both monetary and in-kind, requires a LOA with signature by UAB (at the University-level, not the department level) and signature by the supporting company. All support must be disclosed in writing to participants prior to the educational activity. A copy of the signed LOA should be dated and received in the CME office prior to the live program date or enduring format release date.


You can request one from the CME office and we will either email or fax it to you.


No, the LOA must be fully executed through Grants and Contracts in the University.


We need a copy of the fully executed LOA, after all signatures, before the activity begins.


Lunch is an "in kind" contribution and should be noted on the form under "Program Expenses".

Financial Disclosure


All individuals who are in a position to control the content of an educational activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months related both to content and to commercial supporters of the activity.  An individual must disclose to learners any relevant financial relationship(s), including the following information: name of the individual, name of the commercial interest(s) and nature of the relationship the person has with each commercial interest.  For an individual with no relevant financial relationship(s), the learners must be informed that no relevant financial relationship(s) exist.


A financial disclosure form must be completed by anyone who is in the position to control the content of an educational activity. This means that we definitely need a signed form from the speaker, regardless of degree, training, expertise, faculty or nonfaculty status, external or internal to UAB, etc. and anyone else who has any control of the content of the presentation.


Every speaker must sign a form at least once a year (prior to the first presentation) and then as appropriate if any of the information changes within the year. The planner and/or faculty member in charge of the series should also complete a form.  All disclosure forms must be uploaded to the file.


Faxed forms are acceptable, as are emailed forms.


You will need to re-contact the speaker to clarify whether or not they have anything to disclose. We can't assume that they do not have anything to disclose, just because nothing was checked.


The results MUST be shared with the audience. This can be done in a number of ways: written on the top of each sign-in sheet; posted next to the sign-in sheet; posted as the first or an introductory slide on the screen. For live, one offering activities; your CME specialist will also provide a disclosure summary to provide learners.


A provider must disclose the above information to learners prior to the beginning of the educational activity.


No, you must upload them to the online file before the presentation. The CME office also needs the evidence that the disclosure was made to the audience and how the disclosure was made.


A Conflict of Interest Resolution must be completed for that presentation by the activity director.  If the activity director is the one with the potential conflict, then the department/division director should complete the form.

Conflict of Interest


A conflict of interest is present when individuals in a position to control the content of CME (or their spouses/partners) have a relevant personal financial relationship with a commercial entity that benefits the individual and may ultimately bias the presentation of that content to colleagues and participants.
If a perceived conflict exists, it must be resolved by the completion of the conflict of interest form.


The current CME Application fee is $1,000. For any questions about application fees, please contact your CME specialist.


You will need to upload disclosures, flyers, and advertisements to the file for the activity on a regular basis prior to the session date.


For Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS), your our activity must now be re-certified once a year.  Certification is based on the academic year (July 1 - June 30).  You should receive a reminder to re-apply from your CME specialist.  For live, one offering activities; they must be certified at least 90 days before the activity begins.

Schedule Revisions


Yes, schedules and any changes should be uploaded to the activity file. You should also notify your CME specialist that a change has been made.

Program Evaluation


Quarterly for RSS activities.


Yes, you can send your evaluation forms to your CME specialist. A summary of the activity will be uploaded in the file.

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