In July 2001 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) charged U.S. residency training programs to implement a curriculum and evaluation plan covering six competencies. The authors describe the curriculum and evaluation strategy of the first surgical training program developed to meet the competencies, and list each competency and the teaching method and measurement instruments used. Implementation began July 1, 2001, and the program was fully operational on July 1, 2002. Meeting the curriculum challenges required modification of the existing curriculum and the addition of new instructional units. Nine additional evaluation instruments were needed. The largest investment was in planning and implementation, a one-time development cost. Staff workload increased by 252 hours; this is expected to be a continuing annual requirement. Faculty workload increased by two hours per resident and each resident's workload increased by 112 hours per year (2.3 hours per week). The transition was smoother than expected. Faculty and residents' buy-in was crucial. Faculty and residents were alerted to upcoming changes at the beginning of the year in a grand rounds presentation on the ACGME competencies and the approach to meeting requirements. Updates were presented periodically. The authors recommend that residency programs engaged in similar efforts make effective use of instruments developed elsewhere and collaborate with other programs rather than develop everything locally. The program's benefits include time savings and the availability of validity data and norms to inform decision making on residents' and program progress.
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