This interview is one in a series of interviews with recipients of the 2021 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 were honored at the ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place virtually February 24-26.
Debra L. Dooley GME Program Coordinator Excellence Awardee Jennifer Wilson, BA, C-TAGME is the GME program administrator for family medicine at the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center.
ACGME: How did you become involved in medicine, and in academic medicine specifically?
Wilson: I began working at the UVM Medical Center in 2005, and initially worked in the human resources/recruitment department. In this role, I saw various positions posted, and worked to recruit individuals for those positions. When I first saw the program coordinator position become available, I was intrigued. I knew this was a highly sought position, and I was very interested. I applied for the family medicine opening in 2007, and the rest is history!
ACGME: What does receiving this award mean to you?
Wilson: Being nominated for this award is amazing. I am extremely honored to have been selected. I am so proud of the work that I do, alongside my colleagues in my institution, in family medicine, and other specialties as well. To be recognized for the effort I dedicate to this career is very gratifying. There are so many deserving coordinators, and I am so privileged to have been acknowledged this year.
ACGME: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Wilson: I find the most rewarding part of being a coordinator is watching the journey the residents take. To see them on their interview day as students, preparing the myriad of information that must be submitted prior to starting residency, starting residency so uncertain and nervous, and then flourishing into an amazing doctor—and knowing I played a part in shaping them to be who they are—this is why I love what I do.
ACGME: What is the most challenging?
Wilson: I think the most challenging part of being a coordinator are the changing requirements and making sure we keep up with them. You work in today’s work, with today’s requirements, but you also have to be thinking ahead for what is coming on July 1, and how you are going to implement the revisions, or track the new requirements.
ACGME: What advice do you have to residents or fellows who may be interested in pursuing a career in academic medicine?
Wilson: Don’t get discouraged! There are so many things that only happen once a year, so you really are “new” for a good three years. Once you have hit that three-year mark, you finally start to feel a little more settled. You are able to move through situations/events more easily as they are no longer unknown or uncomfortable. Also, if there is a national organization for your specialty, reach out to them! Often, they have webinars, mentors, listservs, and more that you can access. This information is invaluable.