TAGME update

Residency Program Insider, July 31, 2007

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Incorporated in November 2004, the National Board of Certification for Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education (TAGME) was established to provide an avenue for establishing standards and assessing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals involved in the day-to-day operation and management of graduate medical education programs. Representatives from nine clinical specialties came together to form the first board of directors. The specialty representatives included:

  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Family medicine
  • General surgery
  • Internal medicine
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry


Each clinical specialty is responsible for developing tools to assess competence using standard templates developed by the members of the board of directors. General surgery and pediatrics, as surgical and non-surgical specialties, were the first to complete development of their tools. The pilot program for certification of these specialties was completed in the spring of 2005. In the fall of 2006, during development of the TAGME board of directors' strategic plan, the focus was expanded to include fellowship programs and graduate medical education office personnel.


Assessments are offered in two parts. The first part is the monitored assessment, which includes a series of true/false, yes/no, or multiple choice questions taken from the following ACGME guidelines and documents:

  • Institutional requirements
  • Common program requirements
  • Glossary
  • Specialty program requirements
  • Competencies
  • Acronyms commonly used by graduate medical education


The monitored assessment may be completed at the specialty association meeting in the spring or during the fall open assessment offered at several sites throughout the United States. The second part is a Work Effort, or applied knowledge, which assesses the applicant's knowledge of the function of his or her program, his or her ability to access information and his or her knowledge of specialty-specific requirements. This Work Effort is completed in a time frame of three to five months at the applicant's home base.


Eligibility requirements for certification include:

  • Three years on-the-job experience in the specialty
  • Attendance at one national meeting that focuses on graduate medical education in the past three years
  • Participation in a site visit or internal review within the past three years
  • Personal professional development within the past three years, including presentations at national, state, institutional or departmental level; poster presentations; or manuscripts published

A supportive verification form is then completed by the program director or departmental manager. The application fee is $250.


Upon successful completion of both required parts of the assessment, applicants are presented to the board of directors for certification in the specific specialty. Applicants have a year from the date of their first attempt at the monitored assessment to successfully complete both tools. Currently, initial certification is valid for three years from date of certification; however, beginning with the cycle in 2008, certification will be valid for five years. For more information on TAGME, please visit


All the best,


Jeri Whitten

President, TAGME


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