Meet a Member: Caroline Robinson

Caroline Robinson, PhD, senior medical education manager at Genentech, can’t get enough of CE. From working in a university research setting to her current position on the Learning and Clinical Integration Team at Genentech, Robinson has dived headfirst into the CE world, and shares her time and talents with the Alliance any way she can. Currently, this dedicated professional serves as a co-chair for the Quality and Innovation Summit – which she eagerly looks forward to – but she first got bitten by the volunteering bug when selected to serve as a reviewer on an awards committee for the annual meeting.

How did you first get involved in CME and the Alliance?

Once my career path was firmly focused on continuing professional development, medical education, and research on and related to medical education, I eagerly looked for an organization to get involved in that would help me network with others in this field, learn what "great" in this industry is and learn about new approaches or ideas that I could try. Previously, I had spent some time at a university research setting where I looked to national and regional organizations to learn how to grow in my own skills and to set stretch goals. In the CME world, I began looking to the Alliance's conferences and journal once I got involved in the organization to set my professional development goals. My first "official" role in the Alliance was as a reviewer on an award committee for the annual meeting. I was so excited to be selected for this role, and I have been hooked on Alliance work ever since! So, maybe a takeaway from this experience is that new volunteers may stick around for a while. 

What initiatives are you pursuing at your organization?

I am fortunate to be a member of the hard-working and energetic Learning and Clinical Integration Team at Genentech, a member of the Roche group. This team, led by Nancy Paynter, manages the medical education and research grant strategy and tactics for the Genentech U.S. Medical Affairs organization. Over the last year, our team has been very purposeful about gathering information on the needs of U.S. healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers, and the systems in which healthcare is delivered. From this baseline, we have been developing and making initial efforts to systematically address gaps related to regional variations in care quality and outcomes, gaps within HCP and patient/caregiver shared decision making, and deficits in care and quality related to system-based barriers. Most importantly, each of these focus areas augment our core work of supporting high-quality medical education and research initiatives that aim to advance the adoption of evidence-based medicine in practice consistently, rapidly and appropriately. 

Many folks within the industry have become familiar with a novel framework that was the result of a working group convened by Genentech in 2014. This model provides an approach to planning, designing, and assessing learning programs and healthcare system-based interventions. The model, called TELMS or The Advanced Learning Model for Systems, has been one of the key focus areas of our team's work over the last year. As our own team and other medical education organizations who are working with TELMS continue to observe the impact of programs that are designed with or apply this model in some fashion, we will learn much from taking note of best practices and lessons learned from these focused interventions. It is exciting every day to be working in this medical education community, where we have so many opportunities to shape the quality of how healthcare is practiced and experienced in the future. 

What keeps you excited and passionate about working in CME?

What else am I excited about? Our team is continually charged by the opportunity to support medical education and research that is improving how healthcare is delivered today. We know that the healthcare landscape is more complicated than ever, and physicians and their staff teams, administrators and quality teams, and patients and caregivers have more information – and challenges – than ever before to make decisions that are aligned with evidence and are sensitive to cost and resource barriers. We are firm believers that learning – medical education, patient information and education, and interventions that improve quality – are critical drivers of better, safer care delivery. So, our everyday work is infused with the challenge – and excitement – to be open to new ideas and to be agitators for improvement. And that is fun! 

What has been your favorite part of working in this industry?

The people! Educators and people who work in education are a different breed. We think in terms of the process for improvement, how people think about and take in information, what it takes for folks to engage with an idea and put it into practice. Importantly, we also get to think about how concepts and models and frameworks can somehow capture the complexity of human behavior. This is heady stuff, certainly. And yet, collectively, the Alliance membership thinks about and improves upon the way we do this, and together, we are doing some really great work. Impressively, we are also, as a group, quite open to sharing what we learn and how we do things that work, so we can raise the level of our work product and process. This is the most exciting element of the work that we do – implementing the best ideas and advancing on the aim to improve healthcare together.

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