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ACGME Core Competencies

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is a private, non-profit council that evaluates and accredits more than 9,000 residency programs across 135 specialties and subspecialties in the United States. The ACGME establishes educational standards and common program requirements for all training programs, and ACGME accreditation signifies a program’s commitment to maintaining quality education for residents and safe care for patients. A program must be ACGME-accredited in order to receive federal graduate medical education (GME) funds.

In 2002, the ACGME launched a competency initiative called the Outcome Project. As a result of this project, ACGME identified six ACGME Core Competencies to be used by GME programs to evaluate their residents in training. The six ACGME Core Competencies are: patient care; medical knowledge; practice-based learning and improvement; interpersonal and communication skills; professionalism; and systems-based practice. Each competency is made up of different milestones residents are required to master at key stages of their medical training.

Patient Care
Residents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

Medical Knowledge
Residents must be able to demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
Residents must be able to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and improve their patient care practices.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Residents must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, patients’ families, and professional associates.

Residents must be able to demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.

Systems-Based Practice
Residents must be able to demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.

Source: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Outcome Project, © ACGME 2003. Note: This information was revised by ACGME in 2007 when it revised its Common Program Requirements. For more details and updates on the Common Program Requirements: General Competencies, refer to the Outcome Project or “The Next Accreditation System (NAS)” on the ACGME-NAS or ACGME website.

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Last updated July 5, 2012.
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