Introduction to GME

"After completing medical school, students continue their education in residency programs, which train them in the specialty, or field of medicine, in which they hope to practice.  Many choose to do further training in a fellowship that is a subset of their specialty or subspecialty.  Whereas the purpose of undergraduate medical education (UME) is to provide students with a broad base of medical and scientific education, the goal of residency and fellowship programs is to prepare physicians to practice medicine independently, and without supervision in their chosen specialty or subspecialty.  This period of training in residency and fellowship programs is known as GME."

- from The Residency Coordinator's Handbook, Third Edition, by Ruth Nawotniak, MS, C-TAGME

GME at the University of Minnesota

View the UMN Overview of Graduate Medical Education Prezi to gain a better understanding of GME at the University of Minnesota, including GME's place within the Academic Health Center (AHC), partnerships with affiliated hospitals and clinic sites, the role of the GME Office, the structure of GME programs within their clinical departments, roles of program directors and coordinators, and a day in the life of a GME trainee.

The program coordinator role

At the University of Minnesota, program coordinators serve a professional role in the management of GME programs.  Coordinator duties vary between departments and between programs, so your local resources (e.g. education manager, department administrator, direct supervisor) will provide more detailed information about your specific position.  Regardless of the task at hand, the GME Office and UMN GME community are here for guidance and support.

Coordinator as the hub of GME program

As the hub of your program, you will wear many hats, which may include:

  • Accreditation partner
  • Agreement coordinator (PLAs and AIPAs)
  • Committees (PEC, CCC, other)
  • Curriculum maintenance
  • Duty hour oversight
  • Evaluation management
  • FTEs (funding)
  • Graduation eligibility
  • Milestone assessments
  • Policies and procedures
  • Recruitment
  • RMS, PeopleSoft, ERAS, NRMP
  • Schedules: Rotation, Clinic, Assignments
  • Trainee record management

Your program team

The program coordinator and program director are at the heart of managing a GME program.  They are in turn surrounded by a team ranging from the departmental level (may include the department chair, associate program director, education manager, chief resident, HR and finance staff, administrative support) to the institution level (the GME Office, MMCGME) to the national level (ACGME, ABMS specialty boards, ECFMG, licensing board).

Professional development

There are a number of development opportunities that may help you as you are first starting in your role, including:

In addition, the GME Office will keep you updated about professional development opportunities that arise throughout the year, such as:

Your specialty organizations/associations may also host annual conferences that may be beneficial to your learning.  Ask within your department about availability of these opportunities.

As you progress in your role, you may aspire to earn TAGME certification, which is available for those who have a minimum of 2 consecutive years of experience in the coordinator role.


You will find a wealth of GME-specific resources through this orientation, monthly coordinator meetings, and quarterly program coordinator trainings.  Many coordinators also provide administrative support as they carry out their role.  We hope you find these general administrative and operational resources useful:


The program coordinator role is broad and the world of GME is complex.  It will take a full year for you to experience all of your job duties for the first time.  If there are times you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount, variety, and/or complexity of your work, know that you are not alone!  No one is born knowing all the ins and outs of GME, and no one can pick it up over night.  Expect that it will take time to begin to feel comfortable in your role.


Next up: Learn about the metro area GME community