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New AAMC Guidelines Released to Prepare Medical Students for Residency Training and Improve Patient Safety

Washington, D.C., June 10, 2014—A new set of guidelines from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) will help bridge the gap between patient care activities that new physicians should be able to perform on day one of residency training, and those they feel ready to perform without direct supervision. With the goal of improving patient care and safety, the guidelines are the first formal outline of the activities and requisite competencies and behaviors that every graduating medical student should be able to perform upon entering residency.

“As the nation’s medical school graduates prepare to begin their residency training in July, ensuring they have the confidence to perform these activities is critical for clinical quality and safety,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. “These guidelines take medical education from the theoretical to the practical as students think about some of the real-life professional activities they will be performing as physicians.”

Working with a group of graduate medical education experts, the AAMC developed the Core Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) for Entering Residency in response to feedback from residency program directors about the clinical preparedness of entering residents, and from emerging literature documenting a performance gap at the transition point between medical school and residency training. The guidelines include 13 activities that all medical students should be able to perform, regardless of specialty, to standardize the expectations for both learners and teachers and better prepare students for their roles as clinicians. The core EPAs—which include activities such as gathering a patient history, prioritizing differential diagnoses, and recommending tests—were chosen as the framework for the guide because they offer a promising approach for assessing the real-world impact of a resident physician’s education on patient care.

The guidelines describe expected behaviors and provide clinical vignettes demonstrating how new residents ready to be entrusted for performance without direct supervision would handle each of the specific EPAs. This summer, the AAMC will engage a few medical schools to launch a multi-year pilot and develop a learning community to share ideas about how the EPAs can be broadly implemented.

Click here to download the publication: Core Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) for Entering Residency.

Additional Resources

The journal Academic Medicine recently published two ahead-of-print online articles that examine the efforts of one of the few U.S. medical schools to develop and implement EPAs.


The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 147 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their nearly 160,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 115,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at

Brooke Bergen