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 on February 23-25, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
2023 Debra L. Dooley GME Program Coordinator Excellence Awardee Sherry Bucholz is a residency program coordinator in radiology at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.
ACGME: How did you become involved in academic medicine?
Bucholz: Luckily, I stumbled into a job opportunity 31 years ago introducing me to the exciting world of graduate medical education. Taking the job of coordinating a radiology residency program has turned out to be the best career decision I have ever made and has enabled me to achieve many milestones throughout my career.
ACGME: What does this award mean to you?
Bucholz: I am so honored to be chosen to receive this award. It represents the culmination of a career’s success in doing what I love. I so appreciate those who have mentored and guided me along the way. I couldn’t have achieved this without the help of others—my program directors, faculty members, and fellow coordinators. Throughout each stage of growth, these people helped me expand my confidence, knowledge base, and leadership skills.
ACGME: What is the most rewarding part of being a coordinator?
Bucholz: The most rewarding part of my career is knowing that I made a difference in the lives of my residents. I was able to ease their way as they pursued their dreams of becoming radiologists.
ACGME: What is the most challenging part of being a coordinator?
Bucholz: The most challenging part of coordinating a residency program for me was meeting new requirements while still allowing creativity into the solutions. It was sometimes difficult to keep the future vision of positive impact when program changes happened so quickly. I was lucky to have amazing program directors throughout the years that were willing to listen to ideas and collaborate best practices to continually improve our program.
ACGME: What advice do you have to brand-new coordinators who are just starting their careers?
Bucholz: Firstly, focus on balance in your career life and home life. This career is demanding, and you not only have to develop good time management work skills but also carve out time for yourself to renew your own spirit and well-being.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Own them, learn from them, and grow from them.
Thirdly, find a mentor who can guide you to resources and support your endeavors. This can be through joining your national coordinator’s association, utilizing the presentations on the ACGME’s Learn website, or using your local GME office resources. When collaborative opportunities present themselves, take advantage of them.
ACGME: Is there anything else you would like to add I haven’t asked about?
Bucholz: I want to thank my program director, Justin Frederick, MD, for nominating me for this award. His strong belief in my abilities, knowledge, and expertise over the years is so very humbling and I’m so honored to accept this acknowledgement.
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.