#ACGME2025 Call for Sessions: A Q and A with Liz Johnson

May 30, 2024
ACGME Educational Project Manager Liz Johnson.

On Monday, May 20, the ACGME announced the Call for Sessions for the 2025 ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place February 20-22, 2025, in Nashville, Tennessee. The largest graduate medical education (GME) event of its kind, every year the conference features a wide selection of curated experiences and content for all roles in GME, and for both returning and first-time attendees. To create this unique event, the ACGME spends months planning, and soliciting and organizing content and activities. This effort is led by the ACGME’s Educational Activities team, a group of talented and dedicated professionals focused on bringing the best in the field to the GME community. Liz Johnson is the Educational Project Manager on this team. She joined the ACGME in 2017, and among her responsibilities is oversight of the annual Call for Sessions. While there are three options for submission in response to the call (Osteopathic Full-Day Course – submission deadline is Wednesday, June 12 at 12:00 p.m. Central; and concurrent sessions and Coordinator Forum Full-Day Course – submission deadline for these is Friday, June 14 at 5:00 p.m. Central), a session may only be submitted for one. We asked Ms. Johnson to share a bit more about the Call for Sessions, as well as some tips and suggestions to assist those considering submitting proposals.

ACGME: What are the goals of the Call for Sessions?

Ms. Johnson: We hold the Call for Sessions so that the voice and experience of the GME community is represented and can be shared with colleagues, so that new ideas, solutions to problems, and improved processes can come to light and, ultimately, so that attendees of our conference can leave with new ideas and inspiration to help improve health care across the board.

ACGME: Can you explain the differences between the types of sessions you’re looking for, and what do those considering submitting need to know about each?

Johnson: Our main Call for Sessions is for concurrent sessions within the conference. These can be workshops (interactive sessions) or didactic sessions (lecture-based), on topics that would appeal to various roles in the field, or that focus on processes within GME. These sessions might be geared to the work of DIOs [designated institutional officials], program directors, faculty members, or coordinators, for example, or they might address any of a range of topics, like best practices for accreditation compliance, GME administration, funding, leadership, and professional development. We also invite proposals for the Coordinator Forum Full-Day Course. These sessions, all presented in workshop format, should be focused on the role and activities of program and institutional coordinators. Finally, managed by the ACGME’s osteopathic accreditation and recognition staff team, proposals are also accepted for the Osteopathic Recognition Full-Day Course.

ACGME: What would you say makes a session proposal stand out?

Johnson: An idea or practice that addresses a need in the community and provides solutions or approaches that can be adapted and used by a wide range of programs and institutions is definitely going to stand out. It can be a fresh take or an innovation that has proven successful. Our conference is designed to cater to everyone in GME—from rural programs to large teaching hospitals—so we need and are looking for content to meet all needs in the GME community.

ACGME: The Call for Sessions information includes suggested topics to cover in proposals – do you accept sessions on other topics?

Johnson: Between our biannual Call for Topics, conference evaluation results, and the experiences of those at the ACGME, we have come up with a list of the topics that we strongly believe are pertinent to the broad GME community. Still, we are also open to new ideas!

ACGME: Can anyone submit a session proposal for consideration?

Johnson: Anyone working in or with the GME community is encouraged to submit a session proposal. However, we do not accept submissions from organizations promoting a product or service.

ACGME: Having reviewed hundreds of session proposals over the years, what would you say are your top tips for anyone considering submitting a proposal for the 2025 Annual Educational Conference? And what about top things to avoid?

Johnson: First, it is important to get everything organized before you start. Have all the required information that we outline in our checklist ready when you sit down to submit the proposal—this will make the submission process a breeze! We ask for a lot of information, but there are reasons. Not only will it help us better understand your proposed session, but because creating the session schedule for the conference is complex, having all this information helps us make the schedule available to attendees as quickly as possible.

After that, a compelling title and description. No matter the importance or success of your idea or experience, you need to give conference attendees reasons to choose your session. A title that is engaging and a clear description that includes what the topic is, why it is significant in GME, why someone should attend the session or how it will help them, and specifics about what they will get out of attending will make your session stand out.

As for what not to do… avoid ignoring the instructions! Make sure you read and follow them carefully. Make sure you’re not skipping anything – not supplying the requested information, and not providing a clear and compelling description of what to expect from the session will make it difficult for the selection committee to understand your proposal.

ACGME: You have a lot of really great, helpful guidance and information on the conference website and submission portal to assist people in preparing their submissions, but if they still have questions about the process, who should they contact?

Johnson: Anyone with questions should email acgmeconference@acgme.org or coordinatorforum@acgme.org. We’ll get right back to you!

ACGME: Anything you’d like to add that we haven’t already covered?

Johnson: It is very exciting to see the submissions we get each year. There is so much going on in GME and so many great ideas and approaches to the many activities our attendees are facing every day. It is an honor to be able to bring this wealth of knowledge to our conference attendees. The difficulty is that we get so many interesting proposals, from all corners of the country and our international partners, that it makes it difficult to choose among them. We gather a panel of people with expertise in various areas and work with a planning team to determine which proposals will be beneficial to our attendees and provide a balance of information to complement the sessions our ACGME/ACGME-I staff members also present at the conference.

Interested in submitting a session for the 2025 ACGME Annual Educational Conference? Learn more, review the submission guidance and checklists, and submit your proposal today! Remember, session proposals for the Osteopathic Full-Day Course are due by Wednesday, June 12 at 12:00 p.m. Central; and session proposals for concurrent sessions and the Coordinator Forum Full-Day Course must be received by Friday, June 14 at 5:00 p.m. Central. Stay current on all conference-related updates and announcements on the ACGME website and social media channels (follow us on X, LinkedIn, and Instagram)! Registration will open in the fall – stay tuned for more and join us in Nashville in February!