Behind the Poster: An Interview with Megan Ping, MFA-IA

April 9, 2024

Before April 2021, physicians who were in the US to be educated and to train in an advanced clinical subspecialty for which there is no ACGME accreditation and/or American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) certification had to be endorsed by an appropriate ABMS Member Board to be considered for an exchange visitor (J-1) visa sponsorship. In April 2021, the recognition of Non-Standard Training (NST) for exchange visitor (J-1) physicians transitioned to the ACGME. This recognition was designed to ensure that ACGME-accredited Sponsoring Institutions are providing appropriate oversight of the NST program(s) they offer.

While the ACGME does not recognize individual NST programs, programs provide information as part of the Sponsoring Institution’s recognition application. This study shows how one institution implemented oversight of those non-ACGME-accredited programs to ensure compliance with the Recognition Requirements for Sponsoring Institutions with Non-Standard Training Programs.

Poster Title: Implementing Oversight of Non-Standard Training Programs
Lead Author: Megan Ping, MFA-IA
Co-Authors: Michael Green, MD; Nisha Matthews, EdD

ACGME: Can you tell us about your academic and professional role?

Ms. Ping: I have over seven years of experience in graduate medical education [GME], and currently am an institutional coordinator for UT [University of Texas] Southwestern. In this role, I oversee accreditation and provide support for over 200 programs, including ACGME[-accredited] and non-ACGME[-accredited] programs. I received my Master of Fine Arts in interdisciplinary arts from Sierra Nevada University in 2020. This year, I had five posters accepted between the ACGME and AHME [the Association for Hospital Medical Education] and will be a presenter at the AHME Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. I am the lead institutional coordinator overseeing NST programs and co-developed the UT Southwestern resources for these programs.

ACGME: Can you briefly describe your research project for us?

Ping: With the new implementation of NST programs for J-1 trainees, we developed an internal process for oversight. Since this is a new process with limited best practices available, we felt it was important to share our findings. Our process was comprehensive; we created an internal application for NST programs, established an NST policy, and formed an NST subcommittee that reviews applications and milestones for J-1 trainees. To educate NST programs, we held Q and A sessions for initial information on the internal application and NST policy. Once NST programs are approved by the Graduate Medical Education Committee, we have targeted training with each program to review what is required and provide an overview of the specific program’s profile in [the ACGME Accreditation Data System] ADS.

ACGME: What inspired you to do this project?

Ping: UT Southwestern has 78 non-ACGME-accredited programs with a history of recruiting J-1 visa trainees. With the new requirements for oversight of these programs, we knew we needed to be diligent with our processes and oversight. We have a responsibility to provide quality training for foreign national physicians in advanced subspecialty programs and to meet ACGME requirements.

ACGME: What did you discover?

Ping: Our initial iteration of the internal application for NST programs was developed before the ADS data entry section for NSTs was available to us, so the consistency of questions did not match ADS. Once we had access to a program profile, we were able to better tailor our internal application to align with ADS. This allowed us to provide a more thorough review of submissions. We quickly realized the importance of providing one-on-one training to program administrators to provide an overview of their program’s ADS profile.

ACGME: What was the main takeaway?

Ping: We have seen positive results from our strategy for approaching implementation and oversight of NST programs. To date, we have 16 approved NST programs with 15 pending out of our 78 non-ACGME-accredited programs. We continue to review and approve more NST programs while overseeing those already in place. We continue to learn and adapt our processes to have the best outcomes for programs and J-1 trainees. Editor’s note: The ACGME confers NST Recognition on Sponsoring Institutions, not on individual programs.

ACGME: Who could benefit from this research?

Ping: Any Sponsoring Institution that has non-ACGME-accredited programs that intend to recruit and train J-1 visa holders would find this research beneficial.