Pfizer may take CME in regional direction

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Kristofco: latest addition to Pfizer's CME unit
Kristofco: latest addition to Pfizer's CME unit
New hires in Pfizer's medical education grants (MEG) department signal the firm is moving in a new direction while raising competencies.

Bob Kristofco, MSW, joined this month from Meniscus Educational Institute, where he had been president since last May. Previously he served as an associate professor and director of the CME department at the University of Alabama Medical School.

Kristofco followed Maureen Doyle-Scharff, MBA, another high-profile hire who joined in September, from the Ross Products division of Abbott Labs.

More than just big-time “gets” for MEG team leader Mike Saxton, MEd, though, the pair represents the latest step in Saxton's plan to move toward regional grant management, where five professionals will cover local areas but will be based out of Pfizer's Manhattan headquarters. Each one will hold the title director of medical education, working under Saxton, a senior director.

Jacqueline Mayhew, hired last fall from the American Heart Association, was tapped to serve in a similar capacity, as was another existing member of Pfizer's CME department, Sarah Abbas. All that's left, according to Saxton, is someone to cover the West.

Providers prefer regional management, because it means grantors can better assess their competencies. It's also consistent with the growing trend away from didactic, update-oriented education toward developing quality-improvement-based activities. The old, myopic view of funding, where decisions are made solely from HQ, is outdated.

“QI-based CME is all local,” Saxton told MM&M.

It may also restore funding to community hospitals, which account for about a third of instruction but get a much smaller fraction of commercial support.

Regional management is far from a slam-dunk transition, however, as pharmas may be hesitant to relinquish command-and-control management. That hasn't deterred Saxton.

“I have no doubt that this is the way to go,” he said.

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