February 27, 2020

Honoring Excellence: Q and A with 2020 ACGME Awardee Taiwana Mearidy, MBA

Taiwana Mearidy, MBA

This interview is one in a series of interviews with recipients of the 2020 ACGME Awards. The awardees join an outstanding group of previous honorees whose work and contributions to graduate medical education (GME) represent the best in the field. They will be honored at the upcoming ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place February 27-29 in San Diego, California.

GME Institutional Coordinator Excellence Awardee Taiwana Mearidy, MBA is the associate director, institutional coordinator at the Emory University School of Medicine.

ACGME: How did you become involved in medicine, and in academic medicine specifically?

Mearidy: I started with an associate’s degree in medical assisting and I preferred to work in the administrative component of medicine. My first position was an office assistant in pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School in Nashville, Tennessee. From that point on, I developed an interest in medical education administration.

ACGME: What does receiving this award mean to you?

Mearidy: I am humbled and grateful to the designated institutional official (DIO), program directors, program coordinators and residents who nominated me, and I am honored to represent Emory University School of Medicine in receiving this award. To me, this award means those I serve recognize my commitment to our Sponsoring Institution. I’ve been at Emory for 12 years. I started as an administrative assistant. I immediately became interested in accreditation and I began reading and asking questions to gain an understanding. I will never be able to express my gratitude to Dr. James Zaidan (the previous DIO) and Marilane Bond, EdD, MEd, MBA for their mentorship, which develop my love and interest with accreditation.

ACGME: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Mearidy: The most rewarding part of my job is working with our amazing program directors and program coordinators to ensure all our programs remain in compliance and receives continued accreditation. I am so happy when our programs receive their letter of notifications with Continued Accreditation and no citations! It is also rewarding to work with our resident and fellow house staff organization leadership.

ACGME: What is the most challenging?

Mearidy: There is not enough time in the day.

ACGME: What advice do you have to residents or fellows who may be interested in pursuing a career in academic medicine?

Mearidy: Never lose sight of the purpose you chose a career academic medicine and remember the decisions and behaviors toward your residents and fellows affect their decision to choose academic medicine.

ACGME: What advice would you give to a brand-new coordinator just starting out?

Mearidy: Recognize the importance of your role as the institutional coordinator for the Sponsoring Institution. Be open to change and learning something new. Develop healthy relationships with program directors and program coordinators. See this role as a career, not just a job. Stay engaged with your DIO and understand their goals and desires for the Sponsoring Institution. I absolutely love what I do. There will be days when you’re swamped or nights when you’re waiting for that last program to submit their annual update, but it’s all worth it when your Sponsoring Institution receives commendation. You know that you’ve contributed to the Sponsoring Institution’s excellence.