The importance of understanding curriculum

Residency Program Insider, June 3, 2008

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We are all aware of the major changes in accreditation that have taken place over the past eight years. Those of us involved in the day-to-day management of graduate medical education training programs have seen the explosion of required documentation, not only for the competencies and duty hours, but also including program letters of agreement (PLA's) and curriculum. In order for coordinators to be successful, they need to understand the purpose for accreditation, the underlying concepts involved, and the impact of their training program on the career choices of their residents or fellows. 


Over the past eight years, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has increased its focus on education. Along with this new focus, comes the need for curriculum re-design. New curricula must have goals and objectives that meet the requirements of the ACGME’s six core competencies.


The more coordinators understand educational concepts and adult learning behaviors, the more supportive they can be of their program director. In many instances, this knowledge and understanding allows the coordinator direct involvement with the development of educational activities, goals, and objectives. This also impacts the crucial ability of the coordinator to act as a liaison between the residents and fellows, the faculty, and the program director. The coordinator is often the person who fields questions or has to further explain a concept, so he or she needs to speak the language of competency-based education.


Ruth Nawotniak, MS, C-TAGME
Program Coordinator
University at Buffalo-SUNY, Surgery Department

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