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A Speaker's Lament

Jean Spencer Felton, MD
JAMA. 1983;249(12):1583. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330360027029.
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Since continuing medical education (CME), in any of its many formats, has been mandated for many physicians in their retention of board certification or licensure, most medical centers—university or hospital based—have made lectures by their own staff members or by visiting faculty available to their staffs.

Having been closely affixed to many lecterns in over four decades of addressing medical and mixed audiences, I have experienced certain disconcerting occurrences that could easily have been averted.

While physicians giving public addresses often enjoy the sharing of knowledge, teaching can be carried out most effectively only after there has been adequate preparation, including preliminary discussion with the person who will introduce the speaker.

To avoid some of the glitches that often arise, I suggest the following checklist for caring for a visiting speaker:

  1. Invite the prospective speaker initially by telephone to establish a date and time convenient to both the guest


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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