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YSM Continuing Medical Education Joins Office of Medical Education

July 01, 2022
by Abigail Roth

Janet Hafler, EdD, appointed associate dean for teaching and learning

On July 1, Yale School of Medicine (YSM) Continuing Medical Education (CME) joined the YSM Office of Medical Education. CME most recently had been part of Yale Medicine. Janet Hafler, EdD, who has been appointed associate dean for teaching and learning, will lead the CME office.

Hafler, who says she has enjoyed working with the CME team for years, is “thrilled to have them join Medical Education,” describing them as “amazing colleagues and collaborators.”

Discussing opportunities for the CME office, Hafler looks forward to leading its expanding focus from “continuing medical education”—which largely focuses on the development of clinical skills—to “continuing professional development” (CPD), with its broader focus on professional development, including topics such as leadership and education. Hafler emphasizes that CME will continue to provide many courses focused on clinical training; the CPD courses will be additional opportunities. She envisions a continuum of learning and development from undergraduate medical education, through graduate medical education, CME, and CPD.

An unanticipated outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hafler says, is that we have learned how to successfully implement virtual and online pedagogies. She sees this as providing an opportunity for the CME team to expand learning opportunities well beyond Yale and the New Haven area.

Hafler also is eager to build on the scholarship that emanates from the YSM Teaching and Learning Center to help inform CME programing and ensure that it is impactful. She envisions “tremendous synergies between the two offices.”

Looking further ahead, Hafler hopes YSM’s CME team eventually can offer interprofessional credits, for PAs, nurses, therapists, social workers, and pharmacists, among others. Currently, members of the Yale and Yale New Haven Hospital community in these fields must look externally for such courses.

To help with future planning, Hafler is chairing a newly-convened CME Advisory Board, which has the charge to encourage innovation and dissemination of Yale expertise locally, nationally, and globally. The advisory board also will help the CME team plan and prioritize exceptional faculty and continuing professional development to meet the needs of Yale’s educators. Emphasizing the importance of interprofessionalism, the board includes members from the Yale Physician Associate Program, Yale School of Nursing, and the Cushing Whitney Medical Library, in addition to representation from YSM clinical departments.

Jessica Illuzzi, MD, MS, deputy dean for education and Harold W. Jockers Professor of Medical Education, views CME and continuing professional development as “vital to our medical education mission.” Illuzzi explains that “we are all lifelong educators and learners, and Yale CME is both a means to share the expertise of our YSM departments and faculty with the larger community, and a way for all Yale health care providers to continue learning about advances in their own and other specialties.”

Hafler will lead an enthusiastic and experienced team. Allison Rentfro, PhD, is returning to YSM and the CME Office as executive director on August 8. Rentfro most recently has been the continuing education manager at Hartford Healthcare.

Recognizing the role of virtual and online learning, Hafler created a new position in the CME office: director, global and online education. Sami Merji, PhD, who most recently was manager of pedagogical enhancement at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is serving as the inaugural director. Anne Stark rejoined the CME team in a part-time temporary capacity to lend her many years of CME experience to support the increased ongoing work.

Existing team members are very positive about the move. “This is such an exciting time for us,” says Farrah Nettleton, CME’s conference administrator, who looks forward to being part of the Medical Education team. “It feels like we are moving back ‘home,’ and I am looking forward to working with our new leadership team on expanding our programs and putting out some great educational content for our learners.” Nixida (Nixi) Vega Prentice, CME’s senior administrative assistant, echoes this enthusiasm. “I am very excited for the future of Yale CME and look forward to growing our content and the new innovative ways we will support health professionals with their continuing medical education needs!”

Hafler looks forward to working with her new team and is “confident that with our dedicated group of experts in CME, along with the leadership of our CME Advisory Board, we will enhance innovation and the dissemination of Yale expertise locally, nationally, and globally.”

Submitted by Abigail Roth on June 30, 2022