April 20, 2021

My Conference Experience: Q and A with Accreditation Field Representatives Donna A. Caniano, MD and Joe Gilhooly, MD

Dr. Donna Caniano is an Accreditation Field Representative with the ACGME’s Field Activities team, having joined the ACGME in that role in 2010. She has attended the Annual Educational Conference ever since then and has presented with colleagues at six of the conferences.

Dr. Joe Gilhooly joined the ACGME’s Accreditation Field Staff in 2015, having spent the prior 12 years serving on Review Committees (Transitional Year and Pediatrics). He has attended the Annual Educational Conference nearly every year of his almost 20 years of involvement with the ACGME through these roles.

We asked Drs. Caniano and Gilhooly to talk about their experience with the ACGME’s most recent and first all-virtual conference.


Q: What’s your role at the the Conference?

Caniano: At the most recent Annual Educational Conference I and two of my colleagues, Drs. Serge Martinez and Cathy Nace, presented the results of a Blank Fellowship research project on data-prompted site visits.

Gilhooly: At the conference, colleagues and I gave a talk on remote accreditation site visits. I also helped staff the Field Activities booth in the ACGME Hub to answer questions from conference participants.

Q: When do you begin preparing for the Annual Educational Conference?

Caniano: Usually a few months before a session.

Gilhooly: Almost as soon as the previous Annual Educational Conference is over, we begin planning on what to submit for presentation at the upcoming conference.

Q: What’s the hardest part of your job?

Caniano: Being sure that I address the needs of our stakeholders in GME – the program directors, coordinators, and [designated institutional officials] DIOs.

Gilhooly: Writing the Site Visit Reports. But currently being at home and not being able to do in-person site visits.

Q: What’s the best and most rewarding part of your job?

Caniano: Site visiting programs and Sponsoring Institutions, meeting the professionals dedicated to educating the next generation of physicians, and providing guidance in program improvement.

Gilhooly: Getting to meet residents and faculty members at programs around the country and around the world (ACGME-I-accredited programs) and experience all the different cities and cultures.

Q: Can you share a little about how the experience was for you with an entirely virtual conference?

Caniano: Recording our session was much easier that I had anticipated! During our semi-live session, we were able to respond to questions via the chat function. The hard part – watching yourself presenting and thinking I could have done that better!

Gilhooly: Hard! I like to talk to people face to face. It was hard doing virtual chats without seeing who I was “talking” to.

Q: Did you view or participate in any sessions other than what you presented?

Caniano: Yes, I attended the Opening Session with Dr. Brigham, Dr. Nasca’s plenary session, Dr. Berwick’s [Marvin R. Dunn Keynote] and Dr. Jones’ [Closing Plenary] addresses, the closing [Q and A with the Keynotes] session, and all of the sessions given by colleagues from Field Activities.

Gilhooly: I helped staff our Field Activities booth in the ACGME Hub and did consultation sessions. It is always nice to be able to help others navigate through Program Requirements and how to improve their programs.

Q: Is there anything you already know you would like to add or change for next year? How will that depend on the conference being in person versus virtual versus a hybrid of the two?

Caniano: No changes as of now, except I hope we are in-person in Orlando!

Gilhooly: I am just hoping we can do it in-person… but offering a virtual attendance could help many that cannot attend the meeting on site. That would expand our audience even further than in the past.

Q: So what do you do after the conference is over?

Caniano: RELAX! And then prepare for my next remote site visit via Zoom.

Gilhooly: Back to remote accreditation site visits! I have already done four since the conference… and I am just a part time employee!


Read Dr. Caniano's and Dr. Gilhooly's bios, as well as those of other Accreditation Field Representatives, here.