#ACGME 2024 Session Summary: Building Belonging into GME through a New DEI-Focused Full-Day Course

April 26, 2024

In the realm of medical education and leadership, there's acknowledgment of the paramount importance of establishing safe, inclusive, and responsive learning environments. At the 2024 ACGME Annual Educational Conference, a groundbreaking course, one of the Full-Day Courses offered to attendees on Thursday, March 7, 2024, shed light on these crucial objectives. Throughout the day, luminaries across disciplines shared their expertise, extending invaluable insights and strategies. Hosted by the ACGME’s Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and drawing on foundational concepts from the ACGME Equity Matters® program, this event, entitled "Program and Institutional Strategies for Inclusive Learning Environments," was a pivotal moment for attendees to delve into the intricacies of fostering diversity and cultivating inclusive learning and working environments.

"The impassioned request for tools to foster equitable learning and patient care underscores the formidable hurdles confronting medical education amidst societal division,” said ACGME Program Director, Diversity Initiatives Morgan Passiment, who organized the course. “The dedication and resolve of participants to drive change is truly inspiring.”

Course Overview
Topics covered in the course included:

Building a Trauma-Responsive Culture
Led by Kemia M. Sarraf, MD, MPH, RCC, TIPC (Lodestar), this session underscored the imperative of recognizing and addressing trauma within educational settings. Key takeaways included identifying the transition from stress to trauma, recognizing signs of trauma in oneself and others, and fostering trauma-informed practices to support affected individuals.

Designing Inclusive Learning Environments
Christen Behzadi, MD (IIC Firm), delved into strategies for crafting learning spaces conducive to diverse learners. Participants gained insights into gauging readiness for equity work, dissecting power dynamics within organizations, and overcoming resistance to inclusive practices. 

Talent Management for Recruitment and Retention in GME
Stephany Sanchez, MD shared invaluable perspectives on attracting and retaining talent in graduate medical education (GME). Key focal points encompassed effective recruitment strategies, the importance of mentorship and professional development, and cultivating a supportive work milieu.

Sustaining Culture Change
Facilitated by Ronald Wyatt, MD, MHA, this session navigated the hurdles of maintaining positive cultural shifts. Highlights included the pivotal role of leadership in driving change, metrics for tracking progress, and foundational strategies for ensuring long-term success.

To deepen the learning, participants were afforded dedicated time to work in groups. Designed and facilitated by Ms. Passiment; ACGME Program Coordinator, DEI Patrick Guthrie; and the speakers, this portion of the course allowed attendees to engage in peer collaboration on each topic. The program’s comprehensive workbook facilitated a deeper exploration of organizational readiness, bias mitigation, stress management, safe space creation, innovative recruitment approaches, and sustainability evaluation.

Several participants noted the course provided a profound sense of being listened to and valued. It truly felt like a sanctuary where they could nurture their journey towards equity together.

This new offering at the Annual Educational Conference furnished invaluable insights and actionable steps toward cultivating inclusive learning environments. It stands as a beacon of support for educators, administrators, and advocates committed to nurturing environments where all learners can truly thrive and is planned to be offered again at future ACGME conferences.

Visit the ACGME Equity Matters educational resources in Learn at ACGME to further explore the topics addressed in this course, or email Diversity@ACGME.org to join the ACGME’s Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion interest list to get more information about the ACGME’s broad efforts in DEI and learn about opportunities to get involved.