ASCCP Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Mission Statement and Purpose
The ASCCP educational mission is to improve clinician competence and performance and patient outcomes through educational activities focused on the study, prevention, diagnosis, and management of anogenital and HPV-related diseases.
The ASCCP is committed to building a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture. Through research and education, we strive to eliminate inequities in healthcare, and remove the barriers to improving health outcomes.
ASCCP CME activities teach targeted audiences about the clinical management of a spectrum of benign, premalignant, and malignant disorders of the lower genital tract (i.e., cervix, vagina, and vulva), especially those diagnosed or managed with evidence-based tools. Other conditions, including anal and perianal tissue disorders are addressed briefly as they relate to this primary content area. Additionally, CME activities include other HPV-related disease areas such as head and neck.
The intended audience are health professionals interested in anogenital and HPV-related diseases. Included are physicians (gynecologists, family physicians, gynecologic oncologists, pathologists, and others), advanced practice clinicians (nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives), nurses, public health advisors, epidemiologists administering cancer prevention programs, and learners in these areas. The audience mix varies by activity, from novice clinicians learning basic concepts to experienced practitioners seeking to update knowledge and refine techniques.
Types of Activities
Audiences receive CME through a variety of activities. Included are traditional live meetings with lectures to large audiences, hands-on workshops, and interactive case-based seminars; an annual meeting that incorporates debates, panel discussions, small-group seminars, case-based audience participation sessions, and lectures; print media, including clinical vignettes; and electronic media, case-based question-and-response vignettes with self-assessment, and full-length, self-directed Internet CME activities.
Non-CME functions designed to support these CME activities include:
- Post-course assessment program
- Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease - an international peer-reviewed publication
- Updated website with focused content
- Guideline development for best practices
- Residency self-assessment and curriculum development modules
- Mobile application for Managing Abnormal Cervical Cancer Screening Tests and Cancer Precursors
- Image Archive for use in educational materials
- Patient education materials
Expected results vary depending on the activity but focus on filling identified practice gaps by instilling new competencies. Achieving specific competencies allows clinicians to improve performance in managing anogenital and HPV-related diseases for improved patient outcomes. Specific competencies are:
- Recommend tailored management of genital HPV infections, abnormal cervicovaginal cytology, cancer precursors, and benign disorders involving the lower genital tract (Patient Care, Practice-based Learning).
- Developing important skills:
- Perform colposcopy of the cervix, vagina, vulva, and anus with graduated levels of skill, including the ability to distinguish normal from abnormal anatomy, and to define the colposcopic appearance of normal variants, benign disorders, low grade and high grade cancer precursors, and cancer. (Medical Knowledge, Patient Care)
- Describe the epidemiology and natural history of HPV and lower genital tract cancer precursors to distinguish those with disease likely to regress spontaneously from those with disease likely to persist or progress. (Medical Knowledge, Patient Care)
- Differentiate cytology and pathology of the lower genital tract and the terminology used to communicate these findings. (Medical Knowledge)
- Apply HPV testing to identify patients at risk for anogenital or HPV-related diseases. (Medical Knowledge, Practice-based Learning, Patient Care)
- Complete biopsies of suspicious lesions encountered and either observe or treat cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal disorders, depending on the likelihood of spontaneous regression or progression. (Patient Care, Practice-based Learning)
- Screen for (when appropriate), diagnose, and manage lesions involving the cervix, vagina, vulva, perianal skin and anal canal. (Medical Knowledge, Patient Care, Practice-based Learning)
- Implement new diagnostic and treatment modalities to the management of lower genital tract disorders. (Medical Knowledge, Practice-based Learning, Patient Care)
- Immunize appropriate populations against HPV following a thorough discussion of risks and benefits (Medical Knowledge, Patient Care, Practice-based Learning, Interpersonal and Communication Skills)
- Integrate the above skills through the application of management guidelines developed by ASCCP and other national organizations. (Systems-based Practice)
The Society intends to improve clinician competence and performance and patient outcomes in the field of anogenital and HPV-related diseases by educating health care professionals and others in colposcopy and related strategies. ASCCP seeks to provide physicians and other healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills necessary to overcome gaps in practice. Specifically, educational opportunities will allow clinicians to:
- Achieve expertise in colposcopic examinations including an understanding of normal and abnormal cervical anatomy, cytology, histology, and colposcopic findings;
- Recognize, evaluate, and manage premalignant and malignant diseases of the cervix, vagina, vulva, and anus, as well as other tissues affected by HPV;
- Observe, evaluate, and treat related diseases of the vulva and vagina including vulvodynia, non-neoplastic epithelial conditions, pre-invasive vulvar conditions ,vulvar carcinomas and vaginitis; describe the natural history of premalignant lower genital tract disease to allow more directed therapy;
- Characterize the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathophysiology of anogenital neoplasia and use HPV testing for evaluating and managing disorders;
- Discuss the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine and know how to access new information on the use of the HPV vaccine;
- Become familiar with new diagnostic modalities for anogenital and HPV-related diseases.
The ASCCP intends to meet its CME goals through the following educational objectives.
- Conducting postgraduate medical education courses on screening, diagnosis, and management of anogenital and HPV-related diseases, including instruction in colposcopy and management techniques;
- Directing an annual scientific meeting to disseminate new ideas, conduct debates and panel discussions on screening, triage, and management issues;
- Providing self-study educational resource materials such as web-based CME activities and case studies, electronic media, and other products;
- Publishing the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease, an international peer-reviewed journal;
- Supporting residency training in colposcopy and other skills related to anogenital and HPV-related diseases through a national online residents’ assessment program, and assistance with program curriculum development;
- Facilitating colposcopy education; and optimizing providers’ knowledge on the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine and facilitating easily accessible information on the use of vaccine related interventions.
CME Needs Assessment, Planning and Evaluation Processes
The initial development of any CME program, whether a postgraduate course or enduring material, begins with the Education Committee through the identification of performance and practice gaps, or through the identification of new modalities to address previously identified gaps. Appointed Program Directors, working under the direction of the Board, with the assistance of the Education Committee, identify appropriate needs and target audience(s), and develop the educational activity objectives, curriculum content, format of delivery, and evaluation methods. The appropriate committee chairpersons and staff ensure that the educational planning and evaluation of a particular program are handled according to the Society’s internal CME protocols and adhere to the ACCME’s Accreditation Criteria and Standards for Commercial Support. It is the Education Committee, working under the governance of the Board of Directors, who oversee the CME program. CME administration is supervised and conducted by relevant Society staff in conjunction with the appropriate Committee chairpersons or Program Directors.
The overall evaluation of all CME and non-CME educational activities are conducted by the Education Committee and Program Directors at least semi-annually. The Board of Directors reviews and approves the planning and evaluation reports, and the production and administration reports of any program or enduring material. The Society conducts a long-range planning retreat every 3-5 years. These retreats establish the main strategic thinking and planning processes for the overall mission of the society, to identify its 3-5 year goals and priorities, and to align these with existing programs, CME activities, and member services. Retreat outcomes are then built into term committee goals and strategies by the incoming presidents, and are shared with the membership at the annual business meetings.
Specific ASCCP policies regarding faculty selection and course director rotation may be found in the Society’s education and program files at the national office.
Reviewed and Approved by Kerry O. Curtis, CEO. December 7, 2023
Revised: December 2023