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The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology has been the most prestigious provider of continuing medical education (CME) for pathologists globally for more than a century, superbly integrating CME into the process for improving professional practice and patient outcomes by reducing the gap between evidence-based practices and adoption of those practices into clinical care. Although many pathologists do not see patients directly, they unquestionably provide effective patient care. Therefore, while USCAP is not a health care delivery institution, it provides scalpel-edge educational information and the new results of translational research literally as they happen, as well as information and educational activities addressing best practice standards for pathology.
All medical specialties, including pathology, face a common barrier to change: information overload. It is this barrier that USCAP is poised to remove or overcome by its style of educational delivery, directed primarily to pathologists, with secondary influence on clinicians but a direct positive effect on patients. As a member organization (10,000), it is driven to be a prominent solution provider and practice changer in support of members and pathology trainees.
In order to overcome the challenge of information overload, USCAP organizes information in a wide variety of packets or modules that can be assimilated in learning episodes in order to manage contemporary information and “breaking news” in research. For example, over 3,000 abstracts are submitted on diverse pathology topics annually. These are carefully vetted and selected to provide poster sessions or succinct 10-15 minute platform sessions to give learners access to the newest information in aliquots they can digest (usually 1,500 abstracts are selected and divided as posters/platform presentations). In addition, this information is also available online, so that participants can review information or continue to gain new information at home following the Annual Meeting. Furthermore, because the acceptance of an abstract is prestigious and the presentations are excellent opportunities to network, pathologists whose abstracts are accepted are among the most compliant and pliable to change. They develop reverence for USCAP as their career paths are enhanced.
CME is delivered through a variety of mechanisms including posters, platform plenary sessions, short courses, a long course, interactive microscopy courses, stand-alone courses, and online digital assets for delivery on a variety of mobile devices.
Below is a summary of the panorama of educational activities offered at the 2015 USCAP Annual Meeting:
The USCAP faculty are generally world-class pathologists and career educators who have established and maintained the gold standard in the delivery of first class education in anatomic and molecular pathology and in translational research. The faculty, in conjunction with the dedicated and pre-eminent Education Committee, create the substance and foundation on which rest the Academy’s ideals and reputation for creating better pathologists.
The impact of USCAP’s educational products on professional practice can be well assessed by immediate feedback at courses during which registrants are interviewed on camera regarding the value and impact of the course in which they are involved in real time.
It is reasonably well-accepted that showing physicians their outcomes drives behavioral changes, and results in improved practice performance. One of the most cogent tools operating at USCAP to show physicians their outcomes is a sophisticated computer-based evaluations process that gives a detailed analysis of individual performance by every member of the faculty from the perspective of both learners and peers, including oversight by members of the Education Committee. These evaluations are integrated into the decision making process of the Education Committee in selecting courses for renewal or termination, assigning faculty to emerging novel programs, and assessing performance qualifications to serve on the Education Committee. Specific questions in the evaluations address whether or not the information that the learner acquired will be beneficial and useful to their practice, and will contribute to the evolution of best practices in their practice setting. These evaluation forms provide opportunity for learners to report perceived commercial bias. This is significant because informed learners are considered to be the final safeguard in assuring that a CME activity is independent from commercial bias.
USCAP is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to grant CME credits and by the American Board of Pathology to provide SAMs credits.
USCAP is dedicated to pursuing the development of modern digital assets that will further condense important information into manageable modules delivered electronically, at the convenience of the participant. The development of the USCAP Interactive Center in Palm Springs, California, a digital environment for mentoring by interactive microscopy and teaching ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy, will be expanded with a broadcast studio and conference theater where new digital assets can be created and distributed, particularly to low-resource countries.
The Academy sponsors two high impact journals published by Nature Publishing Group, Modern Pathology and Laboratory Investigation.
USCAP is kinetic and fluid, imaginative and innovative, immersed in next generation learning to create tomorrow’s best pathologists.