Murray Kopelow, MD, to Retire As President and CEO of Accreditation Council for CME in July 2015

Dr. Kopelow to Retire after 30 Years of Service to the Continuing Medical Education Community
Chicago, IL
March 20, 2014

Murray Kopelow, MD, has announced that he will retire as President and Chief Executive of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) on July 31, 2015. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Kopelow will have completed more than 30 years of exemplary service to the continuing medical education (CME) community, with 20 of those years spent as the ACCME’s Chief Executive.

Dr. Kopelow discussed his retirement plans and the transition process during the ACCME Board of Directors meeting held today in Chicago.

“Dr. Kopelow’s executive management over the last 20 years leaves the ACCME in a healthy financial position, with an energetic, creative, and dedicated staff. Through these many years, Dr. Kopelow has envisioned and led the ACCME’s trajectory of innovation and improvement. The Board of Directors is committed to maintaining that trajectory. We are pleased that Dr. Kopelow will continue to lead the ACCME during the transition period, to ensure a smooth leadership transition process,” said Carlyle H. Chan, MD, Chair, Board of Directors, ACCME.

The timing of the announcement affords the ACCME more than a year to identify Dr. Kopelow’s successor and implement the transition process. In the coming months the ACCME will conduct a national search for Dr. Kopelow’s successor. The ACCME will keep the CME and stakeholder community apprised of its progress.

Leadership Comments

“The Board of Directors and staff of the ACCME will miss the visionary leadership and excellence Dr. Kopelow brought to the ACCME, but we join with all our stakeholders in congratulating Dr. Kopelow on his distinguished career at the ACCME. Those of us who have served as Chairs and members of the ACCME Board of Directors for the past 20 years can attest to the hard work, dedication, creativity, innovation, and tenacity he has always demonstrated in the fulfillment of his responsibilities. Murray, on behalf of the Board, the ACCME staff, and the staff and volunteers serving the accredited CME community throughout the US, we thank you and wish you the best of luck for your future,” said Carlyle H. Chan, MD, Chair, Board of Directors, ACCME.

“We have all benefited from Dr. Kopelow’s transformative leadership. He has demonstrated the ability not only to imagine change—but also to bring those changes to fruition. During his tenure, the ACCME, and accredited continuing medical education, have grown in stature, importance, and relevance. Accredited CME is recognized as one of the key strategic assets in support of healthcare improvement in America. The ACCME accreditation system is recognized internationally as a model. I am proud to serve on the ACCME Board of Directors during this transition time and look forward to building on the strong foundation Dr. Kopelow has created. Murray, I am confident in our future because of your legacy and model of leadership. Your contributions and achievements will benefit the accredited CME community for years to come,” said Kim Edward LeBlanc, MD, PhD, 2014 Vice-Chair, and 2015 Chair, Board of Directors, ACCME.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the ACCME, and the CME community, as the ACCME’s President and Chief Executive. I am grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and will always be humbled by the trust the CME community has placed in me. The growth and success of the ACCME system is due to the extraordinary efforts and expertise of the staff and volunteers with whom I have had the privilege to serve for the past 20 years. I know that in the future the ACCME system, and the people in it, will continue to make an important contribution to healthcare in America and around the world,” said Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO.


Dr. Kopelow’s Bio

Murray Kopelow, MD, MS(Comm), FRCPC, joined the ACCME in 1995. With his appointment, the ACCME began an ongoing process of growth and advancement, expanding in staff and services, as well as achieving national and international recognition.

As the ACCME President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kopelow leads the ACCME’s efforts to identify, develop, and promote national standards for quality CME that improves physician competence and performance, and contributes to improving medical care for patients and their communities. Dr. Kopelow is responsible for the implementation of the ACCME system for accrediting institutions that offer CME to physicians and other healthcare professionals, and for the ACCME system of recognizing state and territory medical societies as accreditors for intrastate CME providers.

Evolving Accreditation Requirements

Dr. Kopelow has led a trajectory of significant improvements in the national accreditation system, including the introduction of the 1998 criterion-referenced Essential Areas and Their Elements and the 2006 Accreditation Criteria, which successfully repositioned accredited CME as a Bridge to QualityTM. He has fostered the alignment of accredited CME requirements with other systems of physician accountability. The Accreditation Criteria were designed to align with continuing professional development systems such as the American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification® (MOC) and the Federation of State Medical Boards Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) initiatives; accredited CME is now recognized as a strategic asset to MOC and MOL. In 2014, he successfully fulfilled the ACCME’s strategic goal of simplifying the accreditation requirements and process. Moving forward, Dr. Kopelow is facilitating the evolution of the criteria for Accreditation with Commendation.

Collaborating to Ensure Equivalency

In collaboration with Recognized Accreditors, Dr. Kopelow coordinated efforts to create and implement the 2010 Markers of Equivalency and Maintenance of Recognition, adopted in 2011, in order to ensure that the standards for CME accreditation decision-making are consistent at the state and national levels.

Ensuring Independence

He oversaw the 2004 update of the ACCME’s Standards for Commercial SupportSM: Standards to Ensure Independence (SCS). The ACCME SCS, which are 10 years old this year, have become a national model. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education has adopted them, and the fields of optometry, nursing, osteopathy, family medicine, physician assistants, and dentistry base their accreditation standards on the SCS. In recognition of the value of the SCS, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services included a special exemption for accredited CME in its Open Payments ruleThe ACCME SCS are recognized nationally, by the profession, by the regulators, and by the government as safeguarding the independence of CME.

Fostering Volunteerism

The ACCME is successful in its mission only because of its dedicated volunteers. Dr. Kopelow has fostered the professional development and service of this national volunteer network of healthcare professionals and educators. Approximately 150 volunteers serve on the national level as surveyors, as committee members, and as members of the ACCME Board of Directors; thousands of volunteers serve at the state level. Taking into account national-level volunteers, intrastate accreditation volunteers, and CME committee volunteers serving ACCME-accredited and state-accredited providers, an estimated 20,000 people across the country support the system.

Fostering Collaboration across the Health Professions

For more than 15 years, Dr. Kopelow has fostered the collaboration of continuing education accreditors across the health professions in support of interprofessional education and collaborative practice. In 2009, the ACCME, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), launched the Joint Accreditation™ program, which offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide medical, nursing, and pharmacy continuing education through a single, unified application, fee structure, set of accreditation standards, and review process. Joint Accreditation is the first and only program in the world offering this benefit to providers committed to interprofessional continuing education.

Supporting Public Health Initiatives

Dr. Kopelow has led efforts to elevate the role of accredited CME as a strategic asset to public health initiatives. Through his interactions with government, he has fulfilled the ACCME’s responsibilities of transparency and accountability and informed public officials about the value of accredited CME. During his tenure, federal agencies, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, National Human Genome Research Institute, and National Institute on Drug Abuse have included accredited CME as a strategic partner in their public health initiatives. From June through December 2009 Dr. Kopelow served as a Special Advisor to the Office of Demand Reduction within the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. From 2010 through the present, he has worked with the FDA, CE accreditors, and industry to facilitate the role of accredited CME in supporting the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for opioid medications.

Facilitating the Evolution of International CME

Dr. Kopelow has facilitated the evolution of CME on the national and international level. He has served as an advisor to emerging and existing CME accreditation systems in nations around the world and collaborated on the creation of a substantial equivalency recognition process for CME systems outside the US. In 2013, he cofounded the International Academy for CPD Accreditation to provide a high-level forum for CPD/CME accreditation system leaders from around the world to explore and learn from each other’s accreditation systems and to promote the integration of CME/CPD accreditation systems within systems for licensure and revalidation.


A native of Canada, Dr. Kopelow holds a medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, and a Master’s of Science in Communications Systems from the Department of Communications Studies at Northwestern University. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a successful participant in that organization’s maintenance of certification program.

A bio is available here.

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The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting US institutions that offer continuing medical education through a voluntary, self-regulatory system. The ACCME also has a system for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors for local organizations offering CME.

The ACCME's mission is to identify, develop, and promote standards for quality continuing medical education that improves healthcare for patients and their communities. There are approximately 2,000 accredited CME providers in the United States, whose activities educate more than 24 million healthcare practitioner participants annually.

The ACCME's member organizations, which represent the profession of medicine and include physician licensing and credentialing bodies, are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the US, Inc.

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