Published August 12, 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
Both the UB medical school and graduate medical education are evolving in a positive way. The new downtown campus will consolidate resources and build a critical mass for education and research. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) Next Accreditation System was developed in response to reports from the Institute of Medicine and inquiries from Congress and the public that made it clear that physician training nationwide needs to more explicitly focus on patient safety, communication, and teamwork. Adapting to this new culture has occurred more easily in some programs than others. A significant, positive sign this year is that fifty per cent more students graduating from the UB medical school have chosen a UB residency than did last year.
A medical resident has received his or her medical degree and is enrolled in an organized education program that entails providing patient care under supervision of faculty in a hospital or clinic. A residency is required in order to become eligible for board certification in the U.S. Residencies range from 3 to 7 years, depending on the medical specialty.
The Office of Graduate Medical Education in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences administers UB’s 60 residency programs, which are accredited by the ACGME. Approximately 780 residents and fellows from UB provide patient care throughout the hospitals of Western New York.
All but 3 have full accreditation. The residency programs in general surgery and pediatric surgery have probationary accreditation as a result of issues related to the learning environment and culture, and because of a faculty retirement, which are now being addressed.
The residency program in dermatology was put on probation following the abrupt resignation of four faculty members. That program now has been withdrawn, reconfigured and resubmitted to the ACGME. A successful ACGME site visit has already occurred and a decision will be issued in the fall.
The relocation of the medical school to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is transforming medicine in WNY. The residency programs are among many components being transformed by new chairs in the medical school and new leadership who understand the importance of these transformations.
It was important to install the proper leadership. To that end, in the past year, the UB medical school has appointed 12 new program directors and 6 new clinical chairs. Four additional clinical chair searches are now underway. The average tenure of a program director at UB is 7 years; in surgery, a program director had served for 20 years. In September 2012, a new program director for general surgery was named, who is emphasizing teamwork and resident participation in decision-making, which aligns well with the New Accreditation System.
It creates identity and opportunities for interactions to strengthen faculty allegiance to UB and its educational mission as opposed to faculty identifying their educational responsibilities only as hospital-centric. UB medical school faculty and students as well as our partner hospitals all belong to the greater Academic Health Center downtown, that’s the image and identity we all belong to and moving downtown helps cement that.
In the new culture, residents are actively engaged in setting their own educational standards, participating in their education and getting involved in quality improvement. The phase we’re entering now is the Next Accreditation System (NAS), which is focused on integration of research into their learning environment on quality control, safety, health disparities, interdisciplinary teamwork.
This is completely different from the way that residency programs were run 5-15 years ago. In general surgery, leadership was in that role for many years and changing that culture is difficult. In some programs, there was clearly a hierarchy that was considered the best way to train.
Emphasis on patient safety is recognition of how important residents are to patient care. We’re transforming health care in WNY. The SMBS is a major leader geographically and with new leadership is strengthening and improving our training programs to appropriately be fully compliant with 21 Century training requirements. We have proof we’re heading in the right direction:
--UB’s residency programs are being granted increasing
--Fifty per cent more students graduating from the UB medical school have chosen a UB residency than did last year. (Story: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2013/03/027.html)
--UB was one of 10 institutions in the U.S. selected to host the Gold Humanism Honor Society
--There has been a steady increase in the number of scholarly posters in basic, translational and quality research at annual Scholarly Exchange day.