The ACGME Introduces Comprehensive Well-Being Resource for Medical Education Transitions

May 23, 2024

The ACGME recently unveiled a new learning resource designed to support the mental health and well-being of residents and others in the clinical learning environment during key transitional phases. This resource, spearheaded by ACGME Vice President, Well-Being Stuart Slavin, MD, MEd, addresses the inherent challenges and stressors associated with the transition from medical school to residency and beyond. 

“Mental Health and Well-Being During Transitions” acknowledges the increased responsibilities, potential self-doubt, and stress of relocating and separation from support networks that can accompany movement from medical school to residency, between post-graduate years, and from residency into fellowship or medical practice. 

“We are acutely aware of the stressful challenges faced during transitions in medical education, especially for new residents,” said Dr. Slavin. “This new resource for the graduate medical education community will aid in not only understanding these challenges but actively providing solutions and support.”  

Raising awareness about these vulnerable periods and providing actionable strategies and interventions to assist programs and institutions in offering necessary support is the most recent manifestation of the ACGME’s commitment to physician well-being. These resources outline a variety of institutional and program strategies to combat threats to mental health. 

Suggested interventions include: 

  • Setting limits on patient loads for first-year residents 
  • Regular check-ins and feedback from senior residents and faculty members 
  • Social gatherings and peer support programs to mitigate isolation 
  • Opt-out mental health appointments to encourage use of mental health resources 
  • Training on implicit bias and microaggressions 
  • Awareness by program leadership about risk associated with institutional factors, such as research ranking and altitude 

Additionally, featured strategies, like “Opt-out Mental Health Programs” and the “Transition to Residency Risk Index (TRRI),” further support resident and fellow physicians. There is also access to ACGME podcasts and a video workshop with a facilitator guide to address common problematic mindsets, such as the impostor phenomenon. 

The “Mental Health and Well-Being During Transitions” resources are now accessible in the ACGME's distance learning portal, Learn at ACGME