Competencies, Essential Training, and Resources Viewed by Designated Institutional Officials as Important to the Position in Graduate Medical Education

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In 1998, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) added the stipulation that each institution providing graduate medical education (GME) have a Designated Institutional Official (DIO). The authors conducted this study via a cross-sectional survey designed to provide descriptive data on the beliefs held by DIOs regarding required competencies, training and experience, and desired resources for the position.


The authors collected data between January 2004 and May 2004 using a multistep process that included a prenotice letter; a survey, cover letter, and stamped return envelope; a thank you/reminder postcard; and a replacement survey with new cover letter and stamped return envelope. Data were summarized using descriptive statistics.


Completed surveys were received from 243 of 363 DIOs (66.9%). Eighty-two percent indicated that DIOs should have specified minimum experience or training requirements. Ten competency items were viewed as essential by greater than 50% of respondents, with five items endorsed by over 95% of respondents: professionalism, verbal communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, and written communications skills. The percentage of responding DIOs who indicated they would be very likely to use resources were as follows: templates for GME policies, contracts, and affiliation agreements (83.1%); DIO-specific training (58.0%); data on DIO demographics (53.9%); DIO job description templates (46.9%); a clear description of DIO versus program director responsibilities (46.1%); and a DIO certification program (32.1%).


Designated Institutional Officials supported the idea that there should be minimum experience and requirements and demonstrated remarkable consistency in endorsing essential competencies for the position. DIOs, their respective institutions, the ACGME, and other GME organizations and associations may use the data from this study to develop the role further.

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