Q and A: Paul Foster Johnson, MFA on the First National Learning Community of Sponsoring Institutions Meeting

July 20, 2022
ACGME Vice President, Sponsoring Institutions Paul Foster Johnson, MFA

On September 7-8, 2022, the ACGME will host the first National Learning Community of Sponsoring Institutions Meeting, bringing together designated institutional officials (DIOs) of ACGME-accredited Sponsoring Institutions and other institutional leaders for a two-day meeting focused on solving shared challenges as a community and improving graduate medical education (GME). We spoke with ACGME Vice President, Sponsoring Institutions Paul Foster Johnson, MFA to learn more about the meeting and what it will offer to those who attend.

ACGME: Can you describe the purpose of this new meeting?

Foster Johnson: It’s really twofold: to give DIOs, institutional coordinators, and others a chance to learn from their peers; and to provide opportunities for building collaborative relationships. This is the first ever meeting of the National Learning Community of Sponsoring Institutions, and we hope to be able to convene additional meetings in the future.

Both the content and the structure of the meeting are meant to advance three pillars of the National Learning Community of Sponsoring Institutions: Transforming Education through GME Innovation; Optimizing Health Systems for Learning; and Demonstrating Commitment to Excellence in Patient Care.

ACGME: The theme of the meeting is “Building Connections, Leading Change” – can you tell us what that will mean for participants?

Foster Johnson: Institutional leaders play challenging and critically important roles, and we believe the theme reflects that this meeting will promote community-building among DIOs while emphasizing professional growth and skills for advancing GME.

ACGME: Can you talk a little bit about the format? What will the meeting be like?

Foster Johnson: The meeting will feature a range of learning opportunities, with an emphasis on the three pillars mentioned previously, which originated from the ACGME’s Sponsoring Institution 2025 (SI2025) initiative. In-person participants will interact and learn through presentations, plenary sessions with institutional and health system leaders, workshops, a poster session, a town hall, idea exchanges, and more. We are also offering a remote registration option with livestream access to many of these sessions through the ACGME’s online learning portal, Learn at ACGME.

Most of the educational activities will be led by DIOs and other members of the GME community, and there will be opportunities to hear from ACGME leaders in special sessions. A number of activities will be recorded and accessible through Learn at ACGME to in-person and remote attendees after the meeting.

ACGME: Can you share examples of the types of sessions participants can expect?

Foster Johnson: There will be three plenaries where national experts in clinical and educational innovation will join ACGME leaders in presentations designed to inspire change leadership for future-oriented Sponsoring Institutions. Each plenary will focus on one of the SI2025 pillars.

Meeting participants will select from multiple concurrent sessions of interest from educational pathways that correspond with the SI2025 model. Many of the pathway sessions, including presentations and workshops, were developed from submissions by institutional and clinical leaders.

A poster presentation session describing notable institutional and clinical learning environment projects will be featured, with poster presenters available to provide more information about their work.

We’ll also have an “Idea Exchange” for in-person participants, which will provide an informal opportunity to learn about innovative works-in-progress. Meeting participants will offer constructive responses focused on project development, feedback, and exploratory conversation.

We are exploring options for including peer-to-peer coaching, in which experienced DIOs and clinical and educational leaders would have small-group discussions with colleagues seeking support and guidance on GME responsibilities and professional and personal development.

Lastly, we’re planning an Innovation Town Hall—a collaborative discussion highlighting priorities and needs in support of advancing Sponsoring Institutions. The Town Hall will be led by ACGME senior leaders from the Department of Sponsoring Institutions and Clinical Learning Environment Programs. Meeting participants are encouraged to bring questions and other items for discussion.

ACGME: Can you explain how the in-person and online aspects of the meeting will be managed?

Foster Johnson: While the ACGME is limiting the number of in-person meeting participants both to optimize their learning experience and to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, remote attendees will have live access to all plenaries, the Town Hall, and many of the presentations. Remote attendees will also be able to engage with presenters through a live chat. A digital version of the in-person poster presentations will be available to remote attendees, and session recordings will be available to both in-person and remote attendees after the meeting. The online meeting platform will be hosted through Learn at ACGME. Continuing medical education (CME) credit is available for both in-person and remote attendees.

ACGME: What will be the ACGME’s role in the meeting?

Foster Johnson: We’re the convener, of course, but more importantly, ACGME senior executives will be on hand to answer participants’ questions about the ACGME, its role, and the future of GME and accreditation, both through presentations and informal, between-session chats. I should point out here that the meeting is designed to provide education beyond accreditation standards, and that participation in the meeting will have no impact on accreditation decisions.

ACGME: Any final thoughts?

Foster Johnson: We appreciate all the input and hard work of the GME community to make this meeting possible. This is an important step forward in the evolution of Sponsoring Institutions and we can’t wait to see everyone there!


Learn More and Register Soon!
To learn more about the ACGME's National Learning Community for Sponsoring Institutions Meeting, visit the meeting's web page on the ACGME website, where you can download the brochure with a more detailed meeting overview and access the registration link. Register soon—Early Bird pricing ends July 22, 2022!