Introductory Letter from America


Introductory Letter from America

Published online: 27 January 2014

Journal of European CME (JECME) 2014. © 2014 Murray Kopelow. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

Citation: Journal of European CME 2014, 3: 23752 -


Wikipedia says that, “Letter from America was a weekly 15-minute radio <http://intranet/wiki/Radio> series broadcast on BBC Radio 4 <http://intranet/wiki/BBC_Radio_4> and its predecessor, the Home Service <http://intranet/wiki/BBC_Home_Service>. It ran for 2,869 broadcasts from 24 March 1946 to 20 February 2004, making it the longest-running speech radio programme in history. The programme was also broadcast for many years on the BBC World Service <http://intranet/wiki/BBC_World_Service>. Throughout its history, it was presented by Alistair Cooke <http://intranet/wiki/Alistair_Cooke>.” Wikipedia goes on to say, “Each week, Cooke would speak of a topical issue in the USA, often tying together different strands of observation and anecdote.” They first asked Mr. Cooke to do a dozen “letters” but he went on to do the show for 58 years.

Professor Robin Stevenson asked me to try my hand on a similar project for the Journal of European CME. I too have about a dozen installments in mind—but who knows what will happen. I know for sure that my messages will be shorter. At the average 130 spoken words per minute, Mr. Cooke's messages must have been about 2000 words. Professor Stevenson has asked me for 500 words. Maybe mine would be better termed an “Elevator Chat from America.”

My goal will be to write about things that are topical in the CME environment in America. The subjects may not be new yet, or anymore, in Europe. It will be a little like time travel. You may not know if I am talking about your past or your future.

I will also need you to believe that I am not trying to talk anybody, anywhere, into doing things a certain way or valuing certain things over others. I am just opening a window, so to speak, to let you look in and see what we are dealing with.

After my 30 years in the CME business, and almost 20 years at the ACCME, I understand that the culture of continuing professional education varies widely. As they say, context matters. So, I will need the readers to try and understand the context of my comments. I will try to provide the context but might not always do an adequate job. For that I apologize in advance.

Also, this will be my viewpoint and not necessarily be the only American perspective—and certainly not the ACCME's viewpoint. I am sure it will only be nanoseconds before someone else in America weighs in with another perspective. It is like what I say about driving in America. It is not the wrong side of the road; it is just the other side of the road.

Finally, I will commit, as long as people speak civilly and respectfully of each other, to engaging afterwards with the readers via the Journals “comments” functionality. Something Alistair Cooke could probably never imagine. Maybe I will get my 2000 words in, after all!

Murray Kopelow
President and Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
515 North State Street, Suite 1801
Chicago, Illinois 60654, USA

About The Author

Murray Kopelow

United States

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