Highlights from the NRMP Inaugural Stakeholder Conference

“Meeting and collaborating with UME and GME leaders of different specialties in the same space. This felt revolutionary and so helpful to our shared mission of preparing our students to become better residents.”

– Conference participant on most valuable part of the conference

On October 1-3, the NRMP hosted 250 attendees at its inaugural stakeholder conference, Transition to Residency: Conversations Across the Medical Education Continuum, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The meeting brought together medical school student affairs deans, faculty, and administrators with residency program directors and hospital administrators to collectively discuss ways undergraduate and graduate medical education can better align to produce more capable and competent young physicians. On every level, the meeting surpassed expectations and left attendees wanting more.

Presentation Highlights

The event opened Thursday evening with a presentation by Drs. Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband on the medical mind and how physicians must acknowledge and accept the health-related beliefs and attitudes of their patients and themselves in order to promote better quality of care. Attendees were able to discuss those ideas and network during the reception that followed before heading out into the French Quarter to absorb some Big Easy culture.

On Friday, attendees listened to Dr. Pauline Chen talk about the “anti-hero” and the role educators must play in helping young physicians embrace empathy and compassion to build meaningful relationships with patients. Also on Friday, attendees delved into physician workforce issues, listening to presentations by Drs. Deborah Powell, Fitzhugh Mullan, and Linda Andrews on the governance and financing of GME, whether additional training slots are needed, and the initiatives being implemented by some organizations to address workforce shortages in their backyards. From there attendees dispersed into breakout sessions to discuss student readiness for residency, innovative interview and recruitment practices, and preventive strategies for students at-risk of not matching.

The meeting closed on Saturday with more breakout sessions, an NRMP Town Hall that invited attendees to ask Match-related questions of NRMP leadership, and a heartfelt presentation by Dr. Abraham Verghese on the transcending power of humanism in medicine.

Frank Dialogue Between Schools and Programs

The presentations, the breakout sessions, and the NRMP Town Hall brought together professionals from all points along the continuum, and if that is all the meeting had accomplished, it would have been measured a success. But the conference also gave attendees the rare opportunity to engage in honest and at times candid dialogue about the need for existing medical education and clinical training models to do a better job preparing young physicians.  It filled an important need within the undergraduate and graduate medical education communities.

It was clear from discussions that program directors want more authentic student evaluations, and student affairs deans want better access to the criteria program directors use to evaluate applicants. The frank discussions energized attendees and many stated repeatedly how much they appreciated the opportunity to talk with colleagues on the “other side of the continuum”, to hear new perspectives, and to consider ways in which UME and GME communities can work in better partnership.

“Hearing perspectives from diversified attendees. It didn’t address just one audience, it was very beneficial regardless of your specific job.”

“Just getting the undergraduate and graduate medical education folks together was great. We are in silos, even in our home institutions, to some extent.”

Attendees also valued the small, intimate setting and the feeling that they were part of the conversation.

“What made this better than [other] meetings was the smallness of it. It felt a lot more intimate. I did not feel anonymous and disconnected as I do at the other meetings. Also, the topics were very relevant as I advise med students and work in GME. As successful as I hope it is, I also hope it keeps its relatively small size!”

Keeping the Conversation Going

Nearly 90 percent of attendees who completed the meeting evaluation reported that the conference met their expectations. In addition, 69 percent rated the conference “excellent,” and additional 29 percent rated it “good,” and three-quarters were “highly likely” to attend a future NRMP meeting. Attendees saw the meeting as a much-needed catalyst for re-engaging the community on a wide range of topics pertaining to student education and training, and they are eager for more.

“How do we create working groups within the existing organizations (program directors professional organizations, UME, AAMC, etc) to keep this work moving forward? We can’t afford (nor accept) to lose momentum.”


The NRMP conference filled a need for academic and clinical training professionals, so stay tuned for information about the next conference. We hope you will plan to join us for more meaningful and lively debate about the transition to residency!

Maria C. Savoia, MD
Chair, NRMP Board of Directors
Dean for Medical Education, University of California San Diego