ACGME Seeks Proposals for Second Cycle of Back to Bedside

25 October 2018

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) today announced the release of its second Request for Proposals for Back to Bedside. The initiative is designed to empower medical residents and fellows to generate innovative strategies that will allow them to engage on a deeper level with what is at the heart of medicine: their patients.

The Back to Bedside initiative is a competitive funding opportunity created by residents for residents, to inspire new ways to foster greater meaning in their daily work. For this second cycle of funding, the ACGME will provide a total of $260,000 for up to 32 projects. Proposals are due by March 15, 2019.

"Entering the clinical learning environment, residents and fellows encounter a variety of challenges, including administrative burdens, the personal pressure of appearing infallible to patients, and heavy caseloads that may distance them from the very reason they entered medicine in the first place: connecting with patients. This can lead to burnout, and even depression if unaddressed," said Timothy P. Brigham, MDiv, PhD, ACGME chief of staff and senior vice president, Education. "Back to Bedside empowers residents and fellows to identify opportunities to engage with patients, find joy and meaning in work, and inspire their colleagues to do the same."

The ACGME is currently funding 30 projects from its initial launch of Back to Bedside in 2017. Kathryn Haroldson, MD, one of the team leads for a project focused on empathic communication and multidisciplinary rounding at the University of North Carolina Medicine reflects on Back to Bedside's benefits in her daily work. "I think what's really rewarding about being a doctor is taking care of people at some of the worst times of their lives. You're not always able to fix people, you're not always able to cure them, but I think there are things you can do that can make their lives better. And those are the times that I find the most rewarding," she said.

Dink Jardine, MD, former chair of the ACGME Council of Review Committee Residents(CRCR) and chair of the ACGME's Back to Bedside Work and Advisory Group, recognizes the initiative's broad reach. "Interest in the first round of Back to Bedside exceeded our expectations, and the residents and fellows who have been a part of the initiative have expressed the positive impact they have made at their institutions," she said. "There is momentum, innovation, and a cascading of ideas leading to a nationwide learning community."

The CRCR, a group of approximately 30 resident and fellow members of the ACGME Review and Recognition Committees and Board who advise the ACGME about graduate medical education from the resident perspective, developed Back to Bedside with the ultimate goal of providing more meaningful time with patients, whether that be at the inpatient bedside, in an exam room, or in the Emergency Room.

The second cycle of Back to Bedside will incorporate learnings from the first cohort of awardees, including an additional focus on community and outpatient environments, and an explicit emphasis on interdisciplinary efforts. The Request for Proposals calls for projects from residents and fellows in ACGME-accredited programs and Sponsoring Institutions that will improve the clinical learning environment and promote behaviors to:

  • Create opportunities for more engagement in meaningful patient care
  • Develop a shared sense of teamwork and respect among colleagues
  • Decrease time spent on non-clinical, administrative responsibilities
  • Foster a supportive, collegial environment
  • Increase patient satisfaction through more time with the care delivery team

To learn more about the initiative, access the application, or watch a video about the impact of Back to Bedside on current participants, visit Read highlights from current Back to Bedside projects here.

Back to Bedside is part of a larger ACGME commitment to tackle the critical issue of physician well-being, with collaborative strategies including well-being sessions at its Annual Educational Conference, Common Program Requirements related to well-being, co-leadership of the National Academy of Medicine's Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-being, and more.