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Discussion Group Program

Program Goals and Description

The MLA Discussion Group program offers you an opportunity to explore a topic of interest with other professionals and earn MLA continuing education (CE) contact hours for professional development.

What are the goals of the MLA Discussion Group Program?
  • to promote the professional interchange of participants' experiences, knowledge, ideas, and opinions
  • to provide all MLA members with local or remote access to professional growth and development opportunities
How do you benefit?

Participation in an MLA Discussion Group

  • keeps you at the forefront of current issues in your profession
  • sharpens your skills in evaluating research
  • provides you with the opportunity to review materials relevant to health sciences information and librarianship and to share insights with your colleagues
  • allows you to continue your professional development and earn MLA CE contact hours without travel
Who can participate?

The MLA Discussion Group program is open to any interested individual, both MLA members and nonmembers.

Groups and Requirements

MLA Discussion Groups, consisting of three to ten people, may meet in person (face-to-face) or hold discussions electronically. A specific, well-defined topic, area, or theme for discussion needs to be chosen to qualify.

How does a group form?

An MLA Discussion Group forms when individuals decide they would like to learn about and discuss professional issues of common interest. One individual assumes the role of convener to recruit members, develop the list of materials for discussion, apply for approval, organize meetings, document the participation of members, collect evaluations, distribute MLA CE certificates, and report back to MLA's CE staff.

What kinds of materials will a group review and discuss?

All materials must relate to the MLA Discussion Group's focus. Articles from professional journals, book chapters, multi-chaptered books, electronic resources, and audiovisuals may be used. The amount of material to be covered should be the equivalent of six to twelve, five-ten page journal articles.

How often and for how long does a group meet?

Eight hours of time is spent in discussion. Face-to-face MLA Discussion Groups typically meet six times for ninety minutes per session. Electronic discussion usually takes place over a period of six weeks to six months. Both face-to-face and electronic groups must complete their series of discussions within twelve months of the starting date.

Contact Hour Approval and Academy Credit

Each MLA Discussion Group (face-to-face or electronic) may be approved for up to eight MLA CE contact hours using the MLA Discussion Group approval form. Conveners are responsible for the application process.

Individuals may use MLA CE contact hours earned through the MLA Discussion Group program for credit in MLA's Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP). While the number of discussion groups in which you can participate is not limited, only three discussion groups over a five-year period (or a total of 26 MLA CE contact hours) may be applied toward membership in the Academy of Health Information Professionals or toward academy renewal at the same or higher level.

The convener may apply for an additional five points for the responsibilities involved in organizing and facilitating the group.


  • A convener or group selects a topic of interest.
  • Participants form (or join) a group.
  • The convener or group decides on materials for discussion, format of group, and meeting arrangements.
  • The convener submits application for contact hour approval, which includes a bibliography, meeting schedule, and participant roster.
  • MLA processes the application and notifies the convener of approval.
  • The group participates in discussions.
  • The participants complete evaluations and receive MLA CE certificates from the convener.
  • The convener reports back to MLA CE staff regarding the completion of the group.

Discussion Group Fees

$50.00 per discussion group.

Fees are based on the number of discussion groups included with each approval application. For example:

  • Discussion group approval application #1 has 5 participants forming 1 group = $50.00 fee.
  • Discussion group application #2 has 14 participants forming 2 groups of 7 participants each = $100.00 fee.


Whom should I contact if I have questions?

Debra Cavanaugh, Coordinator, Continuing Education, 312.419.9094 x32, can provide further information and answer questions.