How education can bend the curve in the tick-borne disease epidemic
There’s a dire shortage of health-care providers who are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of tick- and other vector-borne diseases. This means many suffering patients must travel long distances and wait months for an initial appointment, leading to worse patient outcomes. 
There are immense insurance and logistical barriers that discourage providers from taking on patients with tick-borne diseases. Some of these were identified in a 2022 survey-study of 155 clinicians from 30 states who treat Lyme patients. They included complexity of care (79%), the cognitive impairment of patients (57%), and frequent patient calls between scheduled appointments (49%). 
This shortage of trained providers is getting worse as the incidence of vector-borne diseases rises. The Centers for Disease Control reports that:
- Diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks, & fleas tripled in the U.S., 2004-2016.
- Since 2004, 9 new pathogens spread by mosquitoes & ticks have been discovered.
- 476,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, in all 50 states.
Despite the alarming rise in these diseases, a 2023 study led by Cornell University, “Review of Continuing Medical Education in Tick-Borne Disease for Front-Line Providers,” found a “limited availability of continuing education for multiple life-threatening tick-borne diseases of increasing importance in the United States.” 
Invisible International is filling this educational gap by producing best-in-class Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses on vector-borne and environmental disease, available to anyone online for no cost. These courses cover prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these disease.
What is CME?
Continuing Medical Education (CME) educational activities are classes, workshops, or conferences that increase the knowledge and skills of health-care providers, ensuring that they stay current on the latest medical research and best medical practices. Some states require that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals accrue a certain number of CME course credits each year to keep their medical licenses active.
What is unique about its CME offerings?
Invisible has one of the largest online CME collections of vector-borne diseases available. The courses are delivered by some of the most knowledgeable experts in their respective fields, featuring topics like persistent Lyme disease, the Bartonelloses, Lyme disease treatment, and neuropsychiatric symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Our courses incorporate the One Health concept, a recognition that the health of humans, pets, and the environment are all intertwined.
What is CME accreditation?
CME courses can be developed by medical societies, universities, companies, or nonprofits such as Invisible International. For these activities to be counted towards annual CME totals, they must be approved by independent accreditation organizations. This ensures that the educational activities are relevant, practice-based, effective, based on valid content, and independent of commercial influence.
Is Invisible’s CME accredited?
Invisible International’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) platform is accredited by two governing bodies:
- The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) sets course development guidelines to ensure accurate, balanced, scientifically justified clinical-practice recommendations, all free of commercial bias.
- The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reviews individual courses to ensure that they:
- are relevant to family practice
- are evidence-based
- communicate the risks and benefits of clinical recommendations
- evaluate a learner’s grasp of the material.
Physicians taking AAFP-approved courses can receive reciprocal continuing education credits from the American Medical Association, (AMA), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and other health professional organizations.
The Invisible Education Initiative, funded by the Montecalvo Foundation, provides free, accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses that focus on vector-borne and environmental illness within a One Health framework. These courses are available to clinicians and the public. To donate to this initiative and to learn about Invisible International, please go here http://invisible.international/give.
 Johnson LB, Maloney EL. Access to Care in Lyme Disease: Clinician Barriers to Providing Care. Healthcare. 2022; 10(10):1882. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101882
The authors of this study are Elizabeth L. Maloney, MD, a Minnesota family physician and Invisible’s education co-director; and Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, the Chief Executive Officer of LymeDisease.org and the principal investigator of its patient registry and research platform, MyLymeData.
 Malkowski AC, Smith RP, MacQueen D, Mader EM. Review of Continuing Medical Education in Tick-Borne Disease for Front-Line Providers. PRiMER. 2023;7:497812. Published 2023 Feb 2. doi:10.22454/PRiMER.2023.497812