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Provider Education Update
CFIDS Association of
America’s ongoing efforts to educate healthcare providers about the diagnosis
and treatment of
CFIDS received a major boost
last fall. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved a
new contract with the Association to continue our provider education
The cornerstone of the five-year-old project is a
CFIDS curriculum, developed by national
CFIDS experts and taught by a core group of 52
trainers. This “
CFIDS 101” course is offered
across the country and can be used by primary care providers — including
doctors, nurses and physician assistants — to earn continuing education
The curriculum also is offered as a self-study unit, in print-
and video-based formats. A new Web-based format is available at
In addition to the curriculum, the project also involves
attending national and regional healthcare provider conventions across the
country. Last fall we staffed a
booth at four major conferences.
of Family Physicians
conference was held in
from Oct.16–20. More than 5,200 family practitioners gathered to obtain the
latest information on a wide variety of health issues.
The next stop for the exhibit was the Infectious Disease
Society of America conference in
Chicago . This specialized group of
physicians was interested and open to information on
CFIDS. Booth traffic here was very good; an
estimated 175 people dropped by to discuss
CFIDS and share personal experiences.
On Nov. 8–10, we exhibited at the Pri-Med East conference in
. Estimated attendance was
7,500 multidisciplinary providers, which included physicians, physician
assistants, nurse practitioners and behavioral health professionals. Compared to
past conference experiences, and in terms of the number of visitors to the booth
and distribution of literature, this was probably our most successful conference
site for another exhibit when we attended the Nurse Practitioner Associates for
Continuing Education conference on Nov. 14–16. This event attracted about 750
advanced practice nurses.
CFIDS was in the spotlight at
this conference as one of the workshops addressed the illness. Dr. Patricia
Major, associate professor at The University of Miami School of Medicine, was
the featured speaker for an estimated 75 attendees.
The project also helped spread the word about
CFIDS with an article appearing in the December
issue of Nursing Spectrum, a national publication for licensed RNs. The
article, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Nursing Implications,” discussed ways nurses
can assist in the diagnosis and proper treatment of
There is no data to support the following statements; they are
based on personal observations and interactions. I believe that receptiveness
CFIDS has increased, as has the level of
understanding of the disorder. More providers asked more questions and shared
clinical experiences than ever before. There also seemed to be a greater
awareness that a CFS case definition exists to act as a general guideline for
These conferences also acted as a major promotional vehicle
for the project’s self-study modules. Requests for the print-based module are on
the rise and interest is beginning to increase for the video module. The
greatest amount of interest is focused on the new Web-based self-study module.
Continuing education credits have served as a vital incentive for learning more
about CFIDS, as was anticipated.
Plans are now focused on priority activities for the New Year.
These include review and revision of curriculum content as necessary, new
train-the-trainer sessions, updates for our current core trainers, development
of a curriculum for behavioral health providers and additional exhibits at
national and regional conferences.