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The Division of Continuing Medical Education (CME) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) strives to be a national leader in defining and delivering meaningful lifelong learning opportunities for healthcare professionals to improve patient and community health.  The Division’s CME program strengthens the UAB Health System through the quality, scope, and diversity of its educational activities.


The mission of the Division of CME is to develop and provide a professional development program for physicians and physicians-in-training that is effective in increasing knowledge, awareness, and competence; enhances physician performance; and improves patient and community health.  We support the broader School of Medicine’s tri-part mission of research, education, and clinical practice, working together with other units within the spectrum of medical education, faculty development, and quality improvement. The Division of CME also supports and contributes to the UAB research enterprise, serving as a bridge to the practice community for clinical departments and interdisciplinary, university-wide centers, and as a catalyst for research on CME effectiveness.  Other core values and services include:

  • Providing CME credit educational initiatives that meet all applicable Essentials and Standards of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, and are free from commercial bias, control or influence. 
  • Using a rigorous, comprehensive needs assessment process to identify gaps in knowledge, competence or performance to differentiate between current practice and best practice, identifying professional development needs using data from quality improvement programs, review of scientific literature, expert opinions, self-reported barriers and other sources.
  • Providing high-quality CME guided by identified needs using evidence-based strategies and conducting rigorous evaluations of the outcomes and effectiveness of that CME.
  • Conducting rigorous scientific research on the comparative effectiveness of different CME strategies.
  • Collaborating with the community of practice through the Deep South CME Network. As the leading academic health care provider in Alabama, special emphasis is given to the unique needs of remote and rural physicians and their patients.
  • Partnering with organizations and supporters with like-minded goals to educate and interact with physicians.
  • Engaging in a process of continuous improvement, consistently examining the relevance of our mission, our organization, and ourselves, and initiating and adapting to changes in our institution, our community, CME, and healthcare generally. 

Content Areas

Substantive content presented to our target audience includes all areas of primary and specialty care. Topics include traditional areas of basic science, clinical medicine, patient care, and public health, as well as more contemporary themes of quality improvement, patient-centered care, leadership, and innovation among others within the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s professional core competencies.

Target Audience

The UAB Division of CME serves physicians in the UAB academic medical center, members of our regional CME Network, and others practicing nationally and globally.  Recognizing that improved patient and community health occurs in complex clinical systems, our services often extend to physicians-in-training and other related healthcare professionals, including nurses, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, social workers, community healthcare workers, and others.

Types of Activities

UAB CME sponsors a wide variety of educational initiatives including single- and multi-day live courses, regularly-scheduled series, print and Internet enduring materials, journal-based activities, and performance improvement activities.  The type of educational format used to deliver educational content is determined by a number of factors, but is driven by the needs of the target audience, evidence of desired outcomes, and important principles of adult learning and theories of human behavior change.  

Expected Results

The UAB Division of CME is committed to assessing the impact of our professional development activities on learner participants as well as the patients and health systems with which they interact, using a variety of methods that allow us to measure change at multiple levels. Guided by the related educational principles presented in Bloom’s taxonomy, Donabedian’s structure-process-outcomes triad, and Moore’s pyramid of educational outcomes (see appendix), our educational initiatives will aim to result in:

  • Improved knowledge, competence, and performance
  • Improved processes of patient care
  • Improved structure of care, to facilitate the improvement of processes of care
  • Improved patient outcomes

Appropriate assessment/outcome measures will be implemented to determine success in each of the aforementioned areas.  For example, changes in knowledge may be assessed with traditional pre/post measures designed to assess measurable improvements in knowledge.  Changes in competence may be assessed by measures such as case vignettes or validated instruments.  Other evaluation methods may be used to assess program impact when appropriate, including medical record review, patient simulations, and other measures of change in clinical practice or patient outcomes.