Coordinator meetings lead to change

Residency Program Insider, September 23, 2008

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Chances are you’ve heard the saying “The only thing that is constant is change.” This philosophy defines the GME experience. In the three years that I’ve served as the senior associate director of graduate medical education and medical education, I’ve communicated the importance of communicating effectively, streamlining work processes, adopting best practices, and being cognizant of the myriad regulatory requirements.  

When I first came into my position, I discovered that residency programs operate in silos despite that many programs—such as internal medicine and pediatrics—have more similarities than differences. With this in mind, I saw an opportunity to restructure the organization and fuse frontline staff.  

To promote team-work and share best practices, the GME office instituted a monthly meeting for program coordinators. Although some resisted the idea initially, curiosity and overwhelming cooperation quickly replaced the opposition. Program coordinators and program directors promptly recognized the benefits of voicing concerns and sharing best practices. The wealth of information shared amongst the program coordinators created a sense of accountability and empowerment. In my opinion, only a coordinator can empathize with the highs and lows of another coordinator.  
Since the implementation of the monthly program coordinator meeting, the GME office initiated additional projects, including the following initiatives:

  • Toll-free GME phone number
  • More effective systems for managing resident portfolios
  • Mandatory attendance at the GMEC, ACGME/RRC meetings, and training sessions
  • Web-based residency management program
  • Residents' research day
  • Residents’ graduation event and mixer

There might always be issues and new problems. However, as a result of these kinds of  program coordinators meetings, the residency programs are much more effective. And yes, even the residents are noting the difference. That alone speaks volumes!

Chermain Cross, MBA
Senior associate director
GME/ME administrator
Woodhull North Brooklyn Health Network, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center

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