Dear Graduate Medical Education Colleagues,
I write to you as our world, nation, and clinical care and learning environments enter yet another year of sacrifice and commitment to preventing and caring for those infected with COVID-19. This pandemic has forever changed all our lives. The entire medical community has come together over the last two years to serve the public and uphold the mission of our healing profession. Despite our best efforts, and those of many others in society, today we face a fourth surge of this pandemic, caused by the confluence of the Delta and Omicron variants, in the setting of emerging winter and an incompletely vaccinated and boosted population.
The ACGME has heard from many of you and understands the overwhelming impact of the new Omicron surge on patient care as residents, fellows, faculty members, nurses, and other professionals focus their time treating patients with COVID-19, and institutions face the loss of members of the health care team as they, too, cope with illness. We also understand the potential for interruption to the operation of graduate medical education (GME) programs as the entire workforce focuses on its role in the nation’s ongoing response to the pandemic.
I want to reassure you that the ACGME remains committed to supporting the GME community during this time, and that our priority is the health and safety of all. We will continue to grant flexibility to accredited Sponsoring Institutions and programs, including through the process for Emergency categorization of Sponsoring Institutions facing operational disruption due to the pandemic.
This flexibility with expectations is provided consistent with the ACGME’s commitment to the safety of patients, as well as that of our residents, fellows, faculty members, and the entire health care community. As a reminder, the ACGME expects strict compliance in all settings with the following four requirements:
Over the next week, ACGME leaders will hold a series of listening sessions with program directors and program director association leaders, designated institutional officials, and select residents and fellows to fully understand the current challenges you are facing in providing patient care, as well as education, and to determine how the ACGME, in its role as an accreditor, can continue to support the GME community in both its clinical care and educational responsibilities. Please watch your email for details on how to participate.
As this new year begins, on behalf of the ACGME, I again offer my sincere gratitude for the persistent courage you each demonstrate in confronting this crisis and prioritizing the health of the public. You manifest altruism in your continued efforts to prevent illness and save those infected. You continue to face incredible challenges, and yet you continue to demonstrate exceptional professionalism, bravery, creativity, excellence in clinical care and research, and leadership to our nation and future physicians.
I ask that you also pay attention to your well-being, and to that of those around you. Emotional and physical exhaustion is real. Please check on your colleagues as well. We will get through this challenging time, together.
Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP
President and Chief Executive Officer