ACGME Answers: ACGME's Commitment to the Health and Well-Being of Health Care Professionals

September 21, 2023

This post is part of an ongoing “ACGME Answers” series, expanding on frequently asked questions the ACGME often receives or sees online. To learn more about the ACGME and graduate medical education (GME), review the ACGME FAQs on our website.

In the demanding world of health care, addressing and protecting their well-being is vital for physicians’ ability to deliver high-quality patient care. Recognizing this crucial need, the ACGME has taken significant steps to prioritize and promote the well-being of residents, fellows, and faculty members. In this post, we will explore the ACGME’s well-being efforts, including their impact on the GME community.

The ACGME acknowledges that the arduous and stressful nature of GME can take a toll on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of residents and fellows. To address these challenges, the ACGME has developed and implemented various initiatives to foster well-being throughout the residency and fellowship period.

The criticality of individuals’ well-being has been integrated into our Common Program Requirements, ensuring that programs provide supportive environments that promote health and wellness. The requirements emphasize the importance of monitoring clinical and educational work hours, providing adequate rest periods, and implementing systems to address burnout and mental health concerns. By integrating it into the Common Program Requirements, the ACGME encourages programs to prioritize well-being and indeed says that it is essential to do so.

Regular surveys are conducted to gather feedback on resident, fellow, and faculty member experiences, including with regards to their well-being. These surveys provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by learners, including identifying areas for improvement. The data collected help the ACGME identify trends, tailor interventions, and guide policy development to address well-being concerns effectively.

Well-Being Initiatives
The ACGME has several initiatives that promote and support resident and fellow well-being:

  • Back to Bedside is designed to empower residents and fellows to develop transformative projects that foster meaning and joy in work and allow them to engage on a deeper level with what is at the heart of medicine: their patients. Supported by the ACGME, Back to Bedside provides a competitive funding opportunity for resident- and/or fellow-led teams to innovate.
  • The organization hosts national monthly calls for members of the GME community to discuss issues related to well-being. These calls are open to anyone actively working in GME well-being to share resources, provide the ACGME with feedback, and create a supportive environment.
  • The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience is co-chaired by the ACGME, American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), and NAM and including more than 200 other organizations. Together these groups are working to promote clinician well-being and resilience, leveraging its members’ influence to create a healthier, safer medical community for all.
  • The ACGME regularly convenes and hosts events, webinars, and workshops focused on physician – including resident and fellow physician – well-being. Additionally, numerous well-being resources, including toolkits, videos, and educational materials, are provided on the ACGME’s online learning portal, Learn at ACGME, to support programs and individuals in their well-being efforts.

The ACGME's efforts aim to raise awareness about the importance of physician well-being and foster a community of health care professionals dedicated to addressing well-being concerns. By sharing experiences, knowledge, and best practices, health care institutions and professionals can collaborate to develop effective strategies and interventions. The ACGME hopes the increased focus on well-being will lead to positive influence on the overall professional satisfaction and longevity of physicians, leading to improved patient outcomes.

As the ACGME continues its work, it is crucial for health care institutions, educators, and learners to embrace these initiatives and actively contribute to a culture that prioritizes well-being. Learn more about the ACGME’s physician well-being efforts, tools, and resources on our website and in Learn at ACGME.