New Toolkit to Support Medical Students and Programs in the Transition to Residency during the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 24, 2021

In an effort to help medical students entering residency programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, several organizations across the medical continuum came together to create a toolkit with guidelines, resources, and activities to ease the transition. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates | Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research designed the toolkit to aid programs preparing for incoming residents, as well as help students entering residency after a challenging and potentially disrupted final year of medical school.


Created by a work group that included medical students and residents, the toolkit is divided into three main sections, questions to review, a matrix of possible activities, and a comprehensive list of additional resources. The toolkit’s recommendations should not be viewed as requirements. 

“This year more than ever, it is essential to ensure that the incoming intern class has a robust educational experience, especially considering some experiences in medical school may have been interrupted or cancelled entirely. To that end, we have prepared these resources to help incoming interns and program directors optimize the graduate medical education curriculum for incoming interns,” said two medical students and a resident who worked on the toolkit.

Section I lists key topics and questions for program leaders to answer to better meet the needs of incoming residents. Issues include COVID-19 safety, personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines, patient safety, well-being, and transition logistics. There is also a list of questions that incoming residents can use to conduct a self-assessment to help frame their education as they enter their new program.

Section II features resources and recommendations for program curricula, assessing and advising residents, and guidance to eliminate bias and inequity. In 2020, the racial and ethnic biases within societal structures were highlighted more than ever before. As the GME community seeks to increase the diversity of its workforce and to provide inclusive learning environments, the work group provided materials on the recognition and mitigation of various types of implicit bias common in medical education.

The final section has an extensive collection of resources from the partnering organizations on a variety of related and relevant topics, such as financial guidance, cognitive skill-building, clinician well-being, and faculty development.

Access the toolkit on the ACGME website.