July 14, 2022

A New Blog Series: Introducing “ACGME Answers”

This spring, the ACGME published a new page of responses to frequently asked questions we often receive or see online. The goal of the page is to correct misinformation and have a place for people both in the graduate medical education (GME) community and the public at large to find answers about the ACGME and GME in general.

In conjunction with this effort, this post represents the first in a new ACGME Blog series, ACGME Answers, through which we will be able to go into detail on some of the topics featured in the ACGME General FAQs.

Who Is the ACGME?
The role of the ACGME within GME is often misunderstood. The ACGME is an accreditor of GME programs and institutions that sponsor them. The ACGME does not accredit medical schools. The ACGME is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization. It is not a government entity, nor is it affiliated with any other organization. To learn more about other organizations in the medical education continuum, we encourage you to visit their websites. Here are a few relevant links:

Historically, residency and fellowship programs for graduates of allopathic medical schools and graduates of osteopathic medical schools were accredited separately. Following the five-year transition to a single GME accreditation system, which concluded June 30, 2020, graduates of both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools can now complete their residency and/or fellowship education in ACGME-accredited programs and demonstrate achievement of common Milestones and competencies. Learn more about the Milestones, which are not requirements but specialty- and subspecialty-specific sets of guidelines and competency-based developmental outcomes, skills, and attitudes that can be demonstrated by residents/fellows throughout their education.

The Accreditation Requirements
The ACGME sets standards (requirements) for effective GME programs and monitors compliance with those standards through its specialty-specific Review Committees. These are specified in the Institutional and Program Requirements. The Common Program Requirements apply to all GME programs, regardless of specialty or subspecialty. Specialty-specific Review Committees comprised of volunteer physicians, including a resident/fellow representative, as well as a non-physician public member, create a uniform set of standards for programs in each of that specialty’s associated specialties and subspecialties. The specialty- and subspecialty-specific Program Requirements are found in each specialty's section of the ACGME website. Those are incorporated into a structure encompassing the Common Program Requirements. The Review Committees regularly examine their specialty and subspecialty accreditation requirements to ensure they are based on current and best practices in the field.

These regularly updated standards are designed to optimize patient care and cultivate a team-based learning and care environment and a culture in which residents and fellows serve as both learners and mentors in delivering high-quality, patient-focused care.

As mentioned above, this post is an introduction to a new series we hope the community finds helpful and informative. Future posts will explain more about the requirements development and program/institutional review processes, as well as other important areas, including funding, submitting concerns or complaints to the ACGME, resident/fellow complement guidelines, and more.

Please continue to look for other posts in this new series. And if you have questions or potential topics you’d like to see fleshed out in a post, email social@acgme.org.