adopting six children?

A couple weeks ago I mentioned our pediatric residency received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education--otherwise known as the ACGME. This past Thursday, November 17, we held our first interview session for applicants to our program.

Interviewing REAL people makes the residency seem much more REAL than before.

While excitement is one of the words that still describes how I feel about the program starting, there are many other emotions twirling around in my mind and heart.

Having a residency program is a big responsibility. Not only from the standpoint of all the rules and regulations we have to meet, but also on a more personal level. It represents as commitment of  individual to another. We (the department of Pediatrics, the Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital, and  the VTC school of medicine) have promised to provide the best possible training for the young men and women who will choose to do their training with us. We must not fail them.

The residents will come to us specific hopes and aspirations for their future careers. It is our job to help them reach those goals.

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Its kind of like we are signing up to adopt 6 children. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not thinking the residents will be children. But to some extent I do feel that as the Chair of Pediatrics I am the ultimate parent.

I have responsibility to these residents to meet their expectations as well as ours.

  • To be there at every step of the way.
  • To ensure that education is the primary focus of the program, and that service needs never outweigh educational objectives.
  • To be certain that they learn not only the what but the why and the how.
  • To be a positive role model.
  • To help the faculty be excellent teachers.
  • To prepare them to succeed in a healthcare environment that is rapidly changing.

The good new is that I have plenty of help. Drs Kraft and Kess, as the Program Director (PD) and associate PD will be formulating the recipe for success, and keeping us all on task. The rest of the faculty will actually be doing most of the education, training, and role modeling of patient care. Carilion Clinic will provide the environment in which this will occur, and the school of medicine the canvas for creative learning, research training and excellence.

So, what is there to worry about? Nothing? Everything?

It is an exciting time, but a time to recognize the importance and seriousness of the commitment we have made.

Would it be scary to do your training in a brand new program?

Would you feel comfortable that we have made a deep enough commitment to these future pediatricians if you were starting out in this training?

Are there things we or I should do to reassure graduating medical students that this might just be the right place for them?

I invite you to leave your questions, thoughts or comments here.

Recent Comments

Every program has to start somewhere! I think it's great that it is going to be so small...I don't know how big residency programs can be at other places, but it seems the smaller the better because there is so much opportunity to learn from each other and to make it personal. The people accepted into the program will be very lucky to have such great role models.

I think it would be kind of scary to start out in a brand new program, but I think there is also great value to being in a small program. By only having six residents, I would imagine you would have more one-on-one interaction and that they would feel more mentored and that there will be less of a chance of them just becoming one of the many faces of your program. I'm sure this journey will be challenging and exhausting for you and Dr. Kraft and Dr. Kees, but so rewarding when you see your "children" go on to succeed in their professional lives. And I personally think the program will very much improve the quality of care that you are offering to patients of the Childrens Hospital by having residents that want a future in pediatrics. Looking forward to hearing more about it, and wishing you all the very best.

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About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

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