Honoring Excellence: Q and A with Juliet Arthur, MHA, C-TAGME

February 20, 2023

This interview is one in a series of interviews with recipients of the 2023 ACGME Awards. The awardees join an outstanding group of previous honorees whose work and contributions to graduate medical education (GME) represent the best in the field. They will be honored at the ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place this week, from February 23-25, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.

2023 Debra L. Dooley GME Program Coordinator Excellence Awardee Juliet Arthur, MHA, C-TAGME is the residency administrator for the psychiatry program at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University.

ACGME: How did you become involved in academic medicine?

Ms. Arthur: I became involved in academic medicine by chance, some 20 years ago when as an administrative assistant, I was asked to assist a family medicine program director with recruitment activities. From that day on, I became the residency coordinator and never looked back. Since that time, I have worked in various specialties at different academic institutions. Becoming involved in graduate medical education has been the greatest move and decision that I have ever made.

ACGME: What does this award mean to you?

Arthur: Winning the Debra L. Dooley Coordinator Excellence Award means the world to me! It is the pinnacle of all coordinator awards and honors within academic medicine. To be a recipient of this award shows that I am acknowledged for the work that I have done and am doing as well as inspiration for work to be done. This proves that when coordinators work hard, contribute, take initiative, lead and be innovative, our efforts will be recognized. 

ACGME: What is the most rewarding part of being a coordinator?

Arthur: The most rewarding part of being a coordinator is being able to see the fruits of your labor regarding your participation in recruitment, seeing your residents grow within residency, watching them become great clinicians, and knowing that you had a part to play in their professional careers. My residents always come back and thank me for helping guide them through residency. One sentiment that I have the pleasure of hearing them say is, “There are many times, I didn’t think I could have made it if wasn't for you.”  There is no better feeling than hearing those words!

ACGME: What is the most challenging part of being a coordinator?

Arthur: The most challenging part of being a coordinator is the lack of resources provided for the amount of work that the position requires. Another misnomer is the assumption that coordinators are secretaries. The job of a coordinator may include some secretarial functions but there is so much more that goes into being a great coordinator. Everyone in academic medicine should recognize and acknowledge that.

ACGME: What advice do you have to brand-new coordinators who are just starting their careers?

Arthur: I would tell a brand-new coordinator three things: 

  1. A good relationship between the coordinator and the program director is critical for success in this career field. I would not be where I am in my career, without the support and encouragement of my program director. Having a good working relationship with your program director will enable the program director to fully support and advocate on your behalf.
  2. It takes a full cycle to fully understand the job, meaning from recruitment to graduation. Within that time ask as many questions as you can and if possible, find a mentor can who guide you through the day-to-day operations and bestow upon you jewels of wisdom that will last you a lifetime. Your mentor may also function as your listening ear when you get overwhelmed.
  3. Sometimes, being a coordinator can feel like a thankless job, but try to find the reward in it. Your residents and program director (even if they don’t always say it) do appreciate the work that you do and cannot function without you. You are part of program leadership as coordinators are the backbone of every program; never forget that!

Learn more about the ACGME’s
Debra L. Dooley GME Program Coordinator Excellence Award and nominate a deserving individual for the 2024 Award – nominations are due by March 15, 2023.