The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville


CEPD Uses Focus Groups to Educate, Learn

The office of Continuing Education and Professional Development (CEPD) at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine employed focus groups to learn and teach about managing diabetes. A professionally diverse group of more than 20 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and others took part in the first-ever focus group sessions during the Ninth Annual Diabetes Regional Conference, March 16.

Led by Patrick Barlow, Office of Medical Education, Research and Development, and Tiffany Smith, PhD Candidate, the groups discussed potential barriers to treatment for the diabetic patient in the inter-professional healthcare setting.

Evaluations from participants were overwhelmingly positive for helping them identify, articulate and learn to manage barriers to treating patients with diabetes. Many stated that they gained from "being able to talk with multiple disciplines" and "[interacting] with other providers and discussing challenges."  They said that the changes they will make as a result of participating in the focus group include "refocus priorities in individualized education" and "…[be] more attuned to consulting help from other professions."

CEPD is an accredited provider of continuing medical and dental education, which earned Accreditation with Commendation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education in 2009 for a six-year period.  

"This higher standard of professionalism and delivery of educational activities requires that our office meet additional criteria," says Laura Maples, Director, CEPD. "The focus groups help us demonstrate an effort to impact patient outcomes and physician change."

Qualitative results of the focus groups will be used in a proposal to present the activity at the January 2014 meeting of the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

April 9, 2013



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