Education Events

Program Director Bootcamp 2022 Underway

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Educators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have the opportunity to hone their skills while building a supportive academic community through the Program Director Bootcamp Certificate Program. The bootcamp, sponsored by the Academy of Educators, consists of 10 monthly sessions geared towards current and aspiring residency and fellowship program directors and associate program directors. The first session, held this June in the King Center of Becker Medical Library at the medical school, featured presentations from current and emeritus Department of Surgery faculty and staff.

Abby Spencer, MD, MS, director of the Academy of Educators, provided an overview of the bootcamp program curriculum before introducing the session’s first panel of speakers.

The first presentation, “The Yearly Cycle—What’s Submitted Annually and Why,” featured Leanna Bell, assistant director of education for the Department of Surgery; Jennifer Duncan, MD, director of wellness for graduate medical education; Eric Strand, MD, associate program director for the obstetrics and gynecology residency; Saiama Waqar, MD, director of the hematology-oncology fellowship program; and Julie Byington, senior coordinator for the hematology-oncology fellowship. Bell and her co-presenters discussed the timing of various key program director duties.

“There are a lot of hats you’ll have to wear, and there is a lot of work to be done throughout the year,” says Bell.

During their presentation, Bell and team outlined how to tackle that workload, from recruitment and evaluation to onboarding and graduation. The presenters offered case studies and examples of their own calendars, provided exercises to prepare attendees, and engaged in a session of questions and answers.

Leanna Bell at podium with microphone

Academy of Educators Founding Director and Emeritus Professor of Surgery Mary Klingensmith, MD, provided details on achieving substantial compliance with the common program requirements. Klingensmith, who is Senior Vice President for Procedural Accreditation at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), has over 20 years of experience in education and leadership.

Additional presentations followed, helping attendees understand milestones, best practices, trainee assessment and creating optimal trainee evaluations.

This first session will be followed by nine additional monthly bootcamp sessions. Participants who attend at least eight total sessions will be eligible for the Program Director Bootcamp Certificate.

“I’m thrilled that our department gets to benefit from the in-house certificate program for current and aspiring residency and fellowship program directors now being offered by the Academy of Educators,” says Bell. “Within this well-structured program, The Academy fosters a supportive environment for faculty to build on their existing leadership skills, identify the regulatory requirements of a particular clinical training program, and engage and network with other leaders within the Graduate Medical Education Consortium. There’s so much knowledge to absorb over the span of the ten monthly sessions, but The Academy’s PD Boot Camp sessions are led by a variety of educators who are passionate not only about instructing the foundational rules to abide by, but also offering the pearls of wisdom needed for our next generation of leaders to thrive in their roles.”

Attendees included program directors and associate program directors from across the School of Medicine, including the Department of Surgery.

Nine sessions remain in the program, including presentations on delivering effective feedback, handling emergencies, simulation training and human resources topics. Both Bell and General Surgery Residency Program Director Paul Wise, MD, will present during a future panel on recruitment best practices, including the use of social media and marketing for programs.

To learn more about the Program Director Bootcamp Certificate Program, please visit the Office of Education website.

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