COVID-19: Impact on Orthopaedic Graduate Medical Education in the U.S. Impact on Orthopaedic Graduate Medical Education in the U.S.: AOA Critical Issues Symposium

Ann Van Heest, Aaron M. Brandt, George Dyer, Cole J. Homer, Peter M. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 crisis has challenged the U.S. health-care system in a variety of ways, including how we teach and train orthopaedic surgery residents and fellows. During the spring of 2020, the cessation of all elective surgical procedures and the diminished number of outpatient visits challenged graduate medical education. While residency programs in less affected areas may not have had to make many dramatic adjustments, some of those located in pandemic hotspots had to redirect trainees from orthopaedic rotations to COVID-19 units. No matter the region, the time that trainees have spent in rotations has been altered, and absences have occurred due to quarantines. This symposium summarizes the impact of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic on residency and fellowship programs from the perspectives of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), a program director, and a graduating resident. Although new opportunities for virtual curricula, virtual surgical simulation, and virtual interviews have been innovated, residency programs and residents report primarily a negative effect from the pandemic due to decreased surgical volumes and the limitation of patient-care experiences. Ultimately, program directors have an obligation to the program, the trainee, and the general public to graduate only those residents and fellows who are truly prepared to practice independently; they have the responsibility of making the final decision regarding graduation. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to underscore the need for competency-based medical education. Assessing competency includes evaluation of the knowledge, the operative skills, the nonoperative patient-care skills, and the professional behavior of each and every individual graduating from orthopaedic residency and fellowship training programs. A hybrid model for time and competency-based training, with established national standards not only for accreditation for our training programs but also for board certification of our graduating residents, was enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic and is highlighted in this symposium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E65
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 18 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated.


  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency/statistics & numerical data
  • Orthopedic Procedures/education
  • Orthopedics/education
  • United States

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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