Conversations with Leadership: Linda B. Andrews, MD

August 28, 2019

Linda B. Andrews, MD joined the ACGME leadership team in February 2019 as the new Senior Vice President, Field Activities. She most recently served as an ACGME Accreditation Field Representative from June 2017 until February 2019. Prior to that, she was the senior associate dean for graduate medical education (GME) at Baylor College of Medicine. She served in that role since 2004, including during and after Hurricane Katrina, in which Dr. Andrews worked closely with the Tulane University School of Medicine to help more than 200 Tulane residents and fellows continue their education at Baylor for nine months.

We chatted with Dr. Andrews to learn more about her background and her vision for Field Activities at the ACGME.

How did you become interested in medicine, and in academic medicine in particular?
I always thought about medicine, even without any family members in medicine. Long before medical school and residency, I often found myself drawn to opportunities to support, mentor, and teach others. I loved to organize stuff, and tended to say yes when asked to volunteer or try new things. I was and still am a relatively quiet, lead-by-example kind of person. Psychiatry and academic medicine both suited my personality and skills.

How did you come to work as an Accreditation Field Representative?
After retiring from Baylor College of Medicine where I worked for 27 years and had served as a program director and DIO [designated institutional official], I took some time off, learned to run (I ran a half marathon with one of my daughters!), and eventually applied to be an Accreditation Field Representative. I had many positive interactions with the ACGME over the years, including serving on and chairing the Institutional Review Committee. I had (and still have!) tremendous respect for the ACGME, and the Accreditation Field Representative position seemed to provide the perfect marriage for my former GME leadership and expertise with my love of travel.

Now that you’re the Senior Vice President, Field Activities, what is your philosophy when it comes to how accreditation and recognition site visits are conducted and documented?
Field Representatives (site visitors) have the privilege, and bear the huge responsibility, to serve as the face of the ACGME during their time on the road conducting site visits. We try to be collegial and supportive of program and Sponsoring Institution efforts to provide excellent GME. At the same time, we function essentially as auditors who conduct an assessment of a Sponsoring Institution’s or program’s attempts to be compliant with ACGME requirements. A second important aspect of our job is to document our findings in reports to the Review and Recognition Committees so they can effectively render their accreditation and recognition decisions.

What are your top priorities for Field Activities?
Currently, I have six priorities for the team:

  1. Provide an outstanding work product.
  2. Develop and maintain trust and confidence among Sponsoring Institutions and programs in the integrity of our people and our work product.
  3. Increase our capacity to do site visits, which will require recruiting and training new Accreditation Field Representatives, expanding our current Field Representatives’ workloads, and finding ways to do our work more efficiently.
  4. Fully implement Field Activities’ role in the ACGME’s current system of accreditation, which will include performing site visits that result from Review Committees’ annual review of data, site visits for new program applications, Self-Study and 10-Year Accreditation Site Visits, and site visits to assist with the single accreditation system transition.
  5. Increase the team’s collaboration with other ACGME departments, especially the Review and Recognition Committees and the Application and Data Analysis team; prepare for ways to work effectively with the new Chief Accreditation Officer, Lynne Kirk, MD, who joins the ACGME in September.
  6. Expand professional development opportunities for Accreditation Field Representatives.

What do you look for when hiring Accreditation Field Reps? What makes a good/successful site visitor?
We want someone with a strong work ethic and integrity, and a generous and generative spirit. Most site visitors take this job after other careers in GME, and I believe they do so to give back to the GME community that has given so much to them!

Knowledge and experience in GME is clearly important, but the job also requires excellent interpersonal, communication, and interviewing skills, since conducting site visits is all about gathering information through interviews. Site visitors must:

  • put others at ease even during what most people would consider to be stressful circumstances of a program or Sponsoring Institution review.
  • maintain neutrality and bring an unbiased perspective to the site visit.
  • provide accurate and useful feedback to programs and Sponsoring Institutions at the conclusion of the site visit.
  • clearly and effectively communicate their observations and findings to Review Committees.

Site visitors need to love to travel. They need to love to meet people. They need to love to learn. Accreditation Field Representatives are often writing up a report from a previous visit and preparing for an upcoming visit simultaneously, so being organized and systematic in conducting your work is also key.


Learn more about the ACGME accreditation and recognition site visit here. And meet the Accreditation Field Staff here.