Nov. 23, 2020

How COVID-19 is changing professional development for physicians

Global pandemic forces quick programming shift and brings new courses
CMEPD banner
CMEPD banner

In March, teams at Continuing Medical Education & Professional Development (CME&PD) and the Physician Learning Program, under the leadership of Associate Dean Dr. Kelly Burak, MD, knew course delivery needed to change. They quickly mobilized to provide training, education and resources to healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After postponing its regularly scheduled spring courses due to physical distancing requirements, CME&PD shifted its programming online and offered new courses that directly address the crisis at hand. These include the creation of the COVID Corner Series of webinars, the Personal Protective Equipment Certification Course, and COVID-specific content directed towards practitioners in rural Alberta for the Rural Virtual Conference Series. CME&PD provides this education free of charge.

Dr. Kelly Burak, MD

Dr. Kelly Burak, MD,

Riley Brandt

CME&PD’s COVID-19 content has attracted over 15,000 attendees since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, more than three times what it typically sees in an entire year. Topics have included everything from atypical presentations of COVID-19, managing anxiety and mental health for patients to addressing physician wellness. 

This content keeps healthcare workers on top of medical breakthroughs, busts myths, clears-up misinformation, and helped physicians to safely reopen after the surge of COVID-19 cases in the spring. This information has also helped doctors prepare for an increase in cases this fall. Archived content on these topics and more can be found on the eCME site.

The CME&PD team have rapidly become experts in offering virtual conferences and in adapting their fall curriculum to meet the new reality of life during the pandemic. It has transformed multi-day in-person conferences, such as the 44th Annual Pearls for Family Practice Conference, into a suite of multiple evening webinars and two half-day online virtual events. For a full list of upcoming course offerings visit

Kelly Burak is the associate dean of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development and co-lead of Alberta’s Physician Learning Program. He is a professor in the departments of Medicine and Oncology at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). He is also a member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the CSM.