Improving Physician Well-Being, Restoring Meaning in Medicine

The ACGME has been committed to exploring causes of and solutions for physician well-being for as long as the organization has been serving the graduate medical education (GME) community. The ACGME’s Physician Well-Being initiative has expanded in recent years within the work of the organization and through partnerships in the medical community, with the ultimate goal of reducing burnout and helping physicians rediscover joy and meaning in work.

The ACGME offers a range of well-being-related sessions at its Annual Educational Conference; has hosted multiple ACGME Symposia on Physician Well-Being that unite a diverse group of stakeholders dedicated to improving residents’ and fellows’ quality of experience; and initiated a process for vetting and publishing tools and resources for resident, fellow, and faculty member well-being.

The ACGME integrates well-being into its business through the following initiatives and programs:


In 2017, the ACGME revised Section VI of its Common Program Requirements for all accredited residency and fellowship programs regardless of specialty, to address well-being more directly and comprehensively. The requirements emphasize that psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician.

Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) Program

The CLER Program provides Sponsoring Institutions with periodic feedback from site visits addressing the following six Focus Areas: Patient Safety; Health Care Quality; Care Transitions; Supervision; Fatigue Management, Mitigation, and Clinical Experience and Education; and Professionalism. In 2017, the CLER Program released the CLER Pathways to Excellence Version 1.1, which evolved the Focus Area of Duty Hours, Fatigue Management, and Mitigation into Well-Being, addressing four interrelated topics: work/life balance; fatigue; burnout; and support of those at risk of or demonstrating self-harm. This new Focus Area recognizes the important role of clinical learning environments in implementing systems that monitor and support physician well-being.

The Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME)

JGME publishes research and articles on innovative approaches to graduate medical education, including on topics related to enhancing physician well-being, combating burnout, and finding meaning in medicine. JGME encourages authors to submit articles on innovative approaches in GME programs related to resident/fellow resilience, well-being, and other related topics.

Back to Bedside

The ACGME’s Council of Review Committee Residents designed the Back to Bedside initiative to empower residents and fellows to develop transformative projects that combat burnout by fostering meaning in their learning environments and engaging on a deeper level with what is at the heart of medicine: their patients. In the fall of 2017, 30 projects were selected for funding from 223 proposals.

National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience

In 2016, the ACGME partnered with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to co-chair the Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. This collaborative, which now includes more than 150 other organizations, works to promote physician well-being and resilience, leveraging its members’ influence to create a healthier, safer medical community.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741

Contact Us

For questions about the ACGME’s Physician Well-Being Initiative, or to submit tools and resources for consideration for the website, email