Toward a common taxonomy of competency domains for the health professions and competencies for physicians

Robert Englander, Terri Cameron, Adrian J. Ballard, Jessica Dodge, Janet Bull, Carol A. Aschenbrener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

371 Scopus citations


Although health professions worldwide are shifting to competency-based education, no common taxonomy for domains of competence and specific competencies currently exists. In this article, the authors describe their work to (1) identify domains of competence that could accommodate any health care profession and (2) extract a common set of competencies for physicians from existing health professions' competency frameworks that would be robust enough to provide a single, relevant infrastructure for curricular resources in the Association of American Medical Colleges' (AAMC's) MedEdPORTAL and Curriculum Inventory and Reports (CIR) sites.The authors used the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)/American Board of Medical Specialties six domains of competence and 36 competencies delineated by the ACGME as their foundational reference list. They added two domains described by other groups after the original six domains were introduced: Interprofessional Collaboration (4 competencies) and Personal and Professional Development (8 competencies). They compared the expanded reference list (48 competencies within eight domains) with 153 competency lists from across the medical education continuum, physician specialties and subspecialties, countries, and health care professions. Comparison analysis led them to add 13 new competencies and to conflate 6 competencies into 3 to eliminate redundancy.The AAMC will use the resulting Reference List of General Physician Competencies (58 competencies in eight domains) to categorize resources for MedEdPORTAL and CIR. The authors hope that researchers and educators within medicine and other health professions will consider using this reference list when applicable to move toward a common taxonomy of competencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1088-1094
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


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