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ACCME Criteria Review: Criterion 1—Mission Statements

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it's still important to understand the criteria that underly CME activities. Today starts a new periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you. To quote a certain musical, let's start at the very beginning with Criterion 1 (C1):

The provider has a CME mission statement that includes expected results articulated in terms of changes in competence, performance, or patient outcomes that will be the result of the program. (ACCME, 2019)

Criteria fall into two general categories. They are about individual activities or about the program overall. C1 falls into the latter category. It is not about any specific activity. As I'm sure you have figured out, it is about an accredited provider's mission statement. A large organization such as the medical school I used to work for may have a mission statement for the organization as a whole and a mission statement just for the CME program. A medical education company such as i3 Health may include everything required within an organizational mission statement. That is definitely the case for i3 Health:

i3 Health's mission is to enhance the proficiency of the multidisciplinary cancer care team by providing evidence-based, fair-balanced CME/NCPD/CPE-approved activities that address identified professional practice gaps and unmet educational needs. (i3 Health, 2020a)

You'll note that i3 Health's mission statement doesn't use the exact language found in C1, but it describes a program focused on improving competence and performance. Now, if you've looked for the mission statement on this site, you may have found something different. As I said before, an organization can have more than one mission statement. i3 Health has a mission statement specifically for joint providership services:

The mission of i3 Health Joint Providership Services is to provide accredited educational activities that improve the clinical competence and performance of the multidisciplinary health care team in the delivery of state-of-the-art patient-centered care. (i3 Health, 2020b)

This mission statement is more focused because it is about a specific segment of the work i3 Health does. The first mission statement is broader because it covers the entire organization.But both are written with compliance with C1 in mind.

Now I know that you're probably wondering what this has to do with you if you aren't an accredited provider. You're right in thinking that your organization doesn't need a mission statement that meets C1. But C1 still affects you as an educational partner. The mission statement defines the goal of the program, which means it defines the goal of each individual activity. If you are planning an activity in hopes of having it be accredited, you need to have that goal in mind. And that is all that the mission statement is. It's a statement of the goal in the most general of terms.

Programs must seek to improve one of three things: Competence, Performance, or Practice.

This is what C1 boils down to. Have you designed an activity that provides new knowledge? Great. Knowledge is good. But if that's all that it does, will it meet the goal as defined in i3 Health's mission statement? No. C1 requires the mission statement to have a goal that is higher than knowledge. Your activity has to, at a minimum, teach how to use that knowledge so that it meets the goal of improving competency. And this is how C1 affects you.

As you are preparing an activity for accreditation, keep that goal in mind. What are your learners going to get out of your activity? Will it improve their competence, performance, or practice? If so, you're on the right path by designing something that meets i3 Health's mission statement.


ACCME (2019). Criterion 1. Available at:

i3 Health (2020a). About Us. Available at:

i3 Health (2020b). About Us. Available at: 

Image credit: Mo5ul. Licensed under GNU General Public License

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