Through its oversight of residency education in the United States, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has mandated new structural changes in resident education with its newly created core competencies and an emphasis on outcomes-based education. These core competencies represent the central areas in which the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education believes a plastic surgery resident should receive adequate and appropriate education and training. In addition, as part of this outcomes-based education, residents are to be evaluated on their level of mastery in these core competencies. Increasingly, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will assess the ability of residency programs to integrate the teaching and evaluating of the core competencies in their accreditation process of plastic surgery residency programs. This shift in residency evaluation initiated by the Outcomes Project by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will have a significant impact in how plastic surgery residents are taught and, as importantly, evaluated in the coming years. The objectives of this work were as follows: (1) to outline the different methods available to foster a core competency–based plastic surgery training curriculum and (2) to serve as a primer to help both full-time academic and clinical faculty to further develop their curriculum to successfully teach and constructively evaluate their residents in the core competencies in accordance with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines. At the conclusion of this review, the reader should have a better understanding of what is necessary to formulate and help foster a plastic surgery core competency curriculum, particularly with an emphasis on the contemporary methods used for outcomes evaluations.
From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine.
Received for publication December 29, 2006; accepted May 2, 2007.
Disclosures: None of the authors has any financial interest in any item discussed in this article. No outside funding sources were used to support this work. There were no products, devices, drugs, or other commercial items mentioned or used in this article.
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