March 16, 2021

Honoring Excellence: Q and A with John F. McConville, MD

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, which took place virtually February 24-26, 2021.

2021 Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Awardee John F. McConville, MD, is the internal medicine program director at the University of Chicago. He specializes in pulmonology and critical care.

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

McConville: My father was an infectious disease doctor, internal medicine program director, and overall fantastic role model for what it means to be a thoughtful physician, a passionate educator, and overall excellent human being.

ACGME: What does this award mean to you?

McConville: It is a tremendous honor to have valued colleagues take the time and effort to nominate me. To win…well that just means I have outstanding friends and colleagues: truly a humbling honor.

ACGME: What do you feel is the most important job the program director has?

McConville: To help every resident achieve their post-residency career goals and enter the next phase of their medical career with outstanding clinical training.

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

McConville: Having graduates come back and say, “I was really well-prepared for my job/fellowship after completing my residency training at the University of Chicago.”

ACGME: What is the most challenging? 

McConville: Knowing what needs to be done to improve resident well-being or the resident educational experience and then having to convince institutional leaders that resident education should be amongst the highest institutional priorities during troubling economic times and constrained resources.

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

McConville: Do it! Internal medicine offers an unparalleled array of career opportunities and the privilege of impacting families’ lives for generations to come.