Erin Maxwell Snow
University of Nebraska College of Medicine
No one fully understands the complexity of the GME world without working within it. Educational programs have increased in terms of sophistication, and the program coordinator role has expanded to keep pace, yet human resources departments have not matched the growth of the coordinator in job descriptions and classifications. Furthermore, ACGME has not recognized the coordinator as a program manager or provided guidelines for coordinator FTE as has been done for program directors. There is immense room for growth at both local and national levels. In the past few years, I have worked to advance the position of program coordinator within my own institution. I have written new job descriptions, and in collaboration with other department and GME leaders, we created a new education job family for UNMC. There is still a lot of work to be done at my home institution to advance the role of the coordinator, but I am proud to be part of change that has already occurred and hope to continue elevating the coordinator role in years to come.
As I have served on the APDIM Program Administrator Advisory Council, we have made great strides in advancing the coordinator position at a national level. Under Bethany Millar’s leadership, we have created an AAIM approved statement regarding program coordinator FTE in relation to program size. I am currently part of a PA Job Description Taskforce where we are creating a job description that reflects the current position of the coordinator. In serving on the leadership team of PAAC, I look forward to continuing the work of elevating the coordinator position to the leadership classification it deserves. While we are long overdue in reclassifying the coordinator role, this will not be a quick endeavor. I foresee expansion of our projects may include ongoing efforts to facilitate changes to ACGME program requirements related to the coordinator, creation of a full job family, submitting and achieving publications, and creation of an enhanced comprehensive handbook for the position. I am excited to be one of the leaders in this time of change.
As PAAC Chair, my goal will be to continue the work we have already started in elevating the coordinator position to the leadership position it is in reality. We are in an exciting time of growth and cannot lose the momentum for change. I also look forward to promoting growth within the coordinator community through mentorship. Having a growth mindset can lead to great accomplishments among the coordinator community, further supporting the leadership role coordinators fulfill. I plan to mentor coordinators within my institution’s internal medicine department on the importance of a growth mindset and look forward to emphasizing it at a broader level as we work as a coordinator community to enhance our positions.
Jacob Barry, MPH, C-TAGME
Piedmont Athens Regional
As a member of the APDIM PA Advisory Council, I would like to advocate and develop Program Administrators to be integral parts of the Internal Medicine Leadership team. The role of the administrator has grown and developed from secretarial to one of key importance that is called upon to have an extensive wealth of knowledge, leadership skills, and problem-solving capabilities.
My experience has been limited to my institution which was new to Graduate Medical Education when I began five years ago, however, I have worked with several administrators with varying degrees of leadership skills and abilities.
As a new program, we have not been able to hire seasoned administrators, and it has fallen to myself and my Program Director to train the administrators in the position. In teaching new administrators, I have been able to determine several knowledge, skills, and attitudes that made the administrator successful and some that were not. Key among those were leadership and problem-solving abilities. As a member of the PA Advisory Council, I will work to help promote these skills throughout the members with enhanced training during the APDIM Program Administrator’s Meetings. I would also like to develop an online curriculum that will help prepare new administrators to tackle the tough job that is a Program Administrator. I believe that by preparing Program Administrators in leadership skills, it will help reduce PA burnout and increase retention.
Julie Byington, C-TAGME
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
At the 2019 ACGME Program Coordinator Forum, Dr. Timothy Brigham opened the conference with an inspiring presentation about the impact of a coordinator upon a program and its trainees. He offered a sophisticated analysis of a coordinator’s responsibility to transform chaos into order, leaning on philosophical frameworks and clever quotations to drive his point home. It was a truly insightful speech that did an excellent job of conveying the duties of a coordinator. But if you ask me, he could have limited it to one single slide: an image of Superman’s logo, with a ‘C’ in the center to replace the ‘S.’ Super Coordinator. I can think of nothing that more succinctly and accurately sums up our role.
Since the implementation of the competency-based framework for Graduate Medical Education, the responsibilities of a coordinator have drastically expanded. We are no longer limited to secretarial tasks; we are leaders, innovators, researchers and decision-makers. We work diligently and autonomously, and we have developed an incredible fund of knowledge in a role that is truly unique from any other in the medical community. We are fortunate to be a part of this transition, and to have the opportunity to advocate for ourselves and for the coordinator of the future.
The Program Administrators Advisory Council offers a forum through which our advocacy can gain traction. My goal as a councilor would be to first contribute to the efforts underway to establish uniform parameters for the role of a coordinator, and then to push for increased coordinator involvement in administrative leadership and medical education research. Coordinators can, and should, be an integral part of the team that shapes the future of medical education. I hope to lend my voice to the effort to redefine the role of a coordinator into that of a leader.
Florida State University College of Medicine (Tallahassee)
The Alliance has always empowered me for many years through our APDIM fall and spring meetings with the offered professional development to become who I am today. I am an Internal Medicine Residency Program Manager who serves the residents in an Administrative role while they navigate through residency. The PA community has helped me find the path to be more humbled in my position than I have ever been. The APDIM/AAIM leadership has shown me respect through their examples. I would like to give back to this community by serving as a PA Councilor.
I have served on the AIM Member Service Committee for 2 years, the APDIM PA Survey Committee for 2 years and have been serving as an Alliance Ambassador since 2017. I have contributed as a presenter on multiple ADPIM/AIM workshops and at other venues. Serving these roles has introduced me to other administrators who have been instrumental in mentoring me through my career and I would love to give back to the PA community.
My 7 years of experience as a program administrator with perspective from two different programs will allow me to offer new ideas as part of the leadership team for APDIM. I’d like to contribute further to the group by working to develop effective training modules for new administrators and coordinators. I am passionate about medical education and look forward to serving in this new role. The PA community is one of the most diverse communities, but still brings us all together in the interest for the greater good. I will be honored and serve with pride if you elected me to be a part of this committee.
University of Minnesota Medical School
I have been a residency coordinator for nearly six years and I am very appreciative of the support APDIM has given me via the PA group and conferences.
When I became a coordinator, GME was new to me, but I had an extensive background in Project and Program Management. I was surprised to find how easily the skills I had translated to working in GME. When I was a project manager, I developed advanced skills using standard programs like Excel and Access. Since joining GME, I have also learned to code desktop programs using languages like Virtual Basic, Virtual Basic for Applications, Python, and Java.
I have really come to love working with new and experienced coordinators to develop skills with technology to automate some of what we do. This is not to replace coordinators with computers, it is to free our time from the boring stuff by automating it so that we can spend our time on program improvement, analysis, or whatever our individual passions are within our programs.
My vision for the next few years is to create a repository of how-to tutorials specific to GME. Here are a few examples:
- How to create a program dashboard in excel using basic reports from RMS’s like New Innovations and Med Hub
- Individual tutorials on different formulas in excel and how they might be used to prepare, analyze, or visualize GME data
- Basics of coding that can be used to create desktop applications for automation (I used my new skills in Virtual Basic to make a program to draft the yearly block schedules)
Time is minimal for all of us, but these could easily be broken down into small 2-5 minute videos. My goal would be to provide a repository that new coordinators could go to in order to learn basics about GME data reporting and visualization, as well as seasoned coordinators being able to pick up new skills or discover a new way of completing tasks they might be doing manually.
At our conferences, we often see presentations and resources for soft skills, like communications and teamwork. What I would like to encourage more of are presentations on hard skills, like data visualization and programming. Hard skills make excellent professional development opportunities, are great additions to any resume, and create new avenues for creative problem solving.
I am very appreciative to even be considered for this role and I would love to give back to the community that has given me so much.