#ACGME2021 Day 1 Recap: Pre-Conferences and Looking Ahead

February 24, 2021
Welcome to the 2021 ACGME Annual Educational Conference!

While the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the GME community from convening in person, approximately 6,000 people—the largest number of attendees to date—gathered online to listen, share, and network during the 2021 Annual Educational Conference. The conference, which is being presented in a completely virtual experience, kicked off today with five pre-conferences, each customized for specific members of the GME community.

In the largest pre-conference, while things looked a little different for attendees of the Coordinator Forum: Well-Being, Leadership and Communication, that didn’t stop lively discussion amid inspiring presentations. ACGME Senior Scholar for Well-Being Stuart Slavin MD, MEd kicked things off with a motivating speech centered around positivity and empathy. His message of not being too hard on yourself set the tone for the rest of the day.

Other presentations addressed communication during the COVID-19 pandemic, what to expect with remote site visits, leaderships traits and resources, and how institutions and programs can create change around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Using the analogy of climbing a mountain, the presenters of the resident/fellow pre-conference, Be the Change: Building Skills to Lead Effective Change in Your Program and Institution took 150 resident and fellow participants on a journey beginning with assessing their skills at Base Camp, overcoming obstacles and maintaining momentum during the climb, to reaching the summit where they plan for sustainability and dissemination of their work. This was the ACGME’s first pre-conference designed specifically for and open to all residents and fellows. The four-hour session was interactive and highly engaging, and celebrated wins along the way. Participants were given resources for planning and sustaining their own projects. The session ended with participants sending a message to their future selves, via a website that will send it back to them a year from now.

The inaugural Osteopathic Recognition Pre-Conference, presented in partnership with the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators, provided attendees with the opportunity to hear directly from Directors of Osteopathic Education, osteopathic faculty members, and designated osteopathic residents in programs with ACGME Osteopathic Recognition. This is the first osteopathic pre-conference to focus on Osteopathic Recognition rather than on the transition to single accreditation for graduate medical education, which was successfully completed in the summer of 2020, and presentations explored how Osteopathic Recognition can preserve and expand the practice of osteopathic medicine in the future, leverage the resources of an osteopathic GME consortium, advance scholarship in medicine, provide allopathic physicians with osteopathic training, and lead to attaining Continued Recognition status.

The Introductory Course for Program Directors pre-conference featured robust chats among participants and presenters, with tips shared between attendees, and hearty discussions on the information presented. Topics included the history of ACGME, an overview of accreditation, program director responsibilities, use of the ACGME’s Accreditation Data System, the Annual Update, and data collection. Also covered were Milestones and their use as a lifelong learning tool, and evaluations. Attendees appreciated the bigger-picture look at the program director role in GME and the ACGME.

Registrants from New York to Alaska to Oman attended DIO 101: The Basics of Institutional Accreditation a half-day pre-conference designed for new designated institutional officials (DIOs) and focusing on DIO roles and responsibilities, especially as they relate to ensuring compliance with ACGME requirements. DIOs come from a variety of Sponsoring Institutions, from large academic centers with hundreds of residents to small clinics with a handful of learners, noted ACGME Institutional Review Committee Chair Steven Rose, MD. This can create challenges when applying a standard set of requirements to such diverse environments. DIOs are advocates for residents and fellows, faculty members, program directors, and coordinators, he said, adding that they should leverage the strengths of others to build strong GME systems, and not go it alone. In reviewing the Institutional Requirements, Dr. Rose noted the Background and Intent included with a requirement can be just as important as the requirement itself and encouraged DIOs to use both the Institutional Requirements and their associated Frequently Asked Questions to guide compliance efforts.

Mirroring the in-person experience, this year’s conference includes a Poster Hall where visitors can review research, including from residents and fellows participating in the Back to Bedside initiative. One Q and A chat session was held Wednesday afternoon; a second will take place Thursday, February 25 7:30-8:30 a.m. Central.

The Awards Hall features the recipients of the 2021 ACGME Awards. (Interviews with the awardees will also be posted during and after the conference here on the ACGME Blog.)

During down time between sessions, the Exhibit Hall and Lounge are open! In the Exhibit Hall, attendees can chat with representatives from more than 50 businesses and organizations related to GME, as well as view open job listings in the Career Corner and meet with ACGME staff representatives in the ACGME Hub. The Lounge includes the ACGME’s Twitter Feed, a link to the ACGME Blog, a list of networking opportunities throughout the conference, and a fun photobooth opportunity.

Thursday will open with the ACGME President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP delivering the President’s Plenary. After Dr. Nasca’s talk, attendees will participate in live, semi-live (recorded presentation with live chat with presenters), and on-demand sessions on a wide range of topics, including COVID-19; diversity, equity, and inclusion; competency-based medicine; and more.

Missed today’s pre-conferences but don’t want to miss anything else? You can still register for the conference and join in! Learn more here.