The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is a private professional organization responsible for the accreditation of about 9,500 residency education programs. Residency education is the period of clinical education in a medical specialty that follows graduation from medical school, and prepares physicians for the independent practice of medicine. The ACGME's volume of accredited programs makes it one of the largest private accrediting agencies in the country, if not the world.
Stakeholders of the ACGME's accreditation process are residency programs, their sponsoring institutions, residents, medical students, the specialty boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), patients, payers, government and the general public. Accreditation offers these stakeholders assurance that a given residency program and its sponsoring institutions meet an accepted set of educational standards. The ACGME accredits residency programs in 140 specialty and subspecialty areas of medicine, including all programs leading to primary Board certification by the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
To develop and refine its accreditation standards and to review accredited programs for compliance with the standards, the ACGME relies on experts in the various medical specialties. Twenty-seven specialty-specific committees, known as Residency Review Committees (RRCs), periodically initiate revision of the standards and review accredited programs in each specialty and its subspecialties.