Coalition Makes Announcements on UME to GME Transition and Virtual Interviews for 2021-22 Residency Season

The Coalition for Physician Accountability today announced that is has accepted the final report and recommendations of the Undergraduate Medical Education to Graduate Medical Education Review Committee (UGRC) to improve the transition from medical school to residency. In addition, the Coalition earlier this week released new guidance for medical education institutions on interviewing applicants during the 2021-22 residency season.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates | Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (ECFMG|FAIMER) is a member of the Coalition, a cross-organizational group of national medical education organizations.

UME to GME Report and Recommendations

The UGRC, an independent body of stakeholders commissioned by the Coalition, submitted its final report and 34 recommendations to improve the transition from medical school to residency. The Coalition accepted the report and recommendations and has released them to the public. The release of the report marks the formal completion of the work of the UGRC.

UGRC Co-chairs Dr. Elise Lovell and Dr. George C. Mejicano released a statement in which they  thanked the Coalition for its support in conducting this important work, and thanked each member of the UGRC for their expertise, thoughtfulness, and dedication to improving the UME-to-GME transition for all.

“Over the past year, the UGRC worked tirelessly towards developing solutions to improve the UME-to-GME transition for all involved. We strove to follow a set of guiding principles that supported the public good and encouraged us to act boldly and transparently to address the challenges within the current transition. We believe the recommendations we put forward will create better organizational alignment across the transition, address inequities, enhance wellness and produce many additional positive outcomes.

The UGRC could not have completed its work without the invaluable input and feedback we received from the public and stakeholder organizations throughout the past year. The conversations we had and comments we received from students, program directors, DIOs, medical school deans, medical educators, international medical graduates, and the public had a profound impact in guiding our work and informing the final recommendations.”

The Coalition is committed to working together as each individual Coalition member organization further explores how to address moving forward with the UGRC’s recommendations, collectively and individually. Additional information will be forthcoming as progress is made on planning and implementation of the recommendations.

Recommendations on Virtual Interviews for 2021-22 Residency Season

On August 24, a working group of the Coalition released new guidance on interviewing during the 2021-22 residency season for medical education institutions considering applicants from Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited, U.S. osteopathic, and non-U.S. medical schools.

The guidance was created in response to ongoing concerns about continuing risk associated with travel for residency interviews arising from the COVID-19 delta variant and its spread across the United States. Eight major national medical education organizations support an extension of the 2020-21 recommendation on interviews. The Coalition urges each medical school, sponsoring institution, specialty society, and residency program to carefully consider the recommendations and commit to working together to create an equitable, transparent, and successful residency selection cycle that prioritizes the safety of all.

ECFMG|FAIMER supports the Coalition’s recommendations, which are intended to add to, but not supersede, the independent judgment of a medical school, sponsoring institution, or residency program regarding the immediate needs of its patients and the preparation of its learners. Medical school deans have the authority and responsibility to make decisions regarding their medical students; and designated institutional officials and program directors have the authority to make decisions regarding residents in their sponsoring institutions and programs. Because students rely on predictable, common practices across schools and programs as they prepare to transition to residency, a shared response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce unnecessary confusion, stress, and inequity among students while promoting a more successful residency selection process for all.

The latest recommendations include the following:

  • Recommendation 1: Conduct Virtual Interviews for the 2021-22 Recruitment Cycle

    Interest exists to extend a consistent approach to in-person interviews for the 2021-22 residency cycle; however, recognizing the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the near certainty, given insufficient national vaccination rates, that the pandemic will continue into the winter, albeit in unpredictable ways, the Working Group offers the following recommendation that we hope will minimize public health risks; mitigate inequity stemming from geographic variations in pandemic impact; and provide applicants, their advisors, and programs with guidance to promote consistency and decrease anxiety.

    Recommendation: All interviews should be conducted virtually for the 2021-22 recruitment cycle due to growing concerns about the delta variant and potential risks and disruptions from potential future variants.

  • Recommendation 2: Increase Our Understanding of Virtual Interviewing

    Recommendation: The medical education community should assess the value of virtual interviews and the concerns associated with them that were evident during the 2020-21 interview cycle.

Acknowledging that these recommendations cannot address every eventuality, they are offered to provide the best path forward to promote consistency and fairness across the country and to reinforce our commitment to an equitable process for all.