Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum (EPAC): First steps toward realizing the dream of competency-based education

the EPAC Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum (EPAC) Study Group is developing the first competency-based, time-variable progression from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME) in the history of medical education in the United States. EPAC, an innovation project sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and supported by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, was developed through a collaboration between five medical schools and multiple professional organizations with an interest in undergraduate and graduate medical education. The planning and implementation process demanded cooperatively addressing practical barriers such as education requirements for licensure and developing approaches to learner assessment that provided meaningful information about competency. Each participating school now has at least three cohorts of learners participating, and the program is transitioning its first cohort of students from UME to GME based on achievement of predetermined competencies that allow this transition. Members of the first cohort of learners in this program have begun their pediatric residency training at different times beginning in late 2016, confirming the feasibility of competency-based advancement from UME to GME in pediatrics. Although there is still much to learn about the outcomes of EPAC learners' professional development in residency training and beyond, EPAC has defined an operational approach to a different path through medical school and into residency training, based on the attainment of competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum (EPAC) Study Group is developing the first competency- based, time-variable progression from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME) in the history of medical education in the United States. EPAC, an innovation project sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and supported by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, was developed through a collaboration between five medical schools and multiple professional organizations with an interest in undergraduate and graduate medical education. The planning and implementation process demanded cooperatively addressing practical barriers such as education requirements for licensure and developing approaches to learner assessment that provided meaningful information about competency. Each participating school now has at least three cohorts of learners participating, and the program is transitioning its first cohort of students from UME to GME based on achievement of predetermined competencies that allow this transition. Members of the first cohort of learners in this program have begun their pediatric residency training at different times beginning in late 2016, confirming the feasibility of competency-based advancement from UME to GME in pediatrics. Although there is still much to learn about the outcomes of EPAC learners’ professional development in residency training and beyond, EPAC has defined an operational approach to a different path through medical school and into residency training, based on the attainment of competence.

Funding Information:
As the group began to move from the design to the implementation phase, it became clear that support for faculty with specific oversight of EPAC implementation would be critical to the project’s success. With support from the EPAC group, the AAMC applied for and received a grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in 2013. The Macy Foundation (http://macyfoundation. org), known for facilitating innovative projects in medical education, recognized the far-reaching implications of a program that could truly test the paradigm shift to competency-based, time-variable advancement across the continuum of education and training. This was an important milestone as the funding provided external validation of the project concept and design, and supported faculty effort and administrative personnel at each of the schools to ensure sufficient protected time for implementation. As part of the Macy application, each school agreed to commit to four cohorts of learners entering and advancing through residency training at their respective institutions. The proposed cohort size was four learners per year at each school.

Funding Information:
Funding/Support: EPAC has been supported by grant number B13-07 from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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