New beginnings

Residency director: ACGME application is a chance to re-evaluate program

David Pizzimenti, DO, says restructuring his residency program to meet the ACGME’s standards has been a catalyst for improvement.


Osteopathic residency program director David Pizzimenti, DO, has students who are committed to training in one of the most medically underserved U.S. states.

“I have two residents who want to stay in the area,” says Dr. Pizzimenti, who directs the internal medicine residency program at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth, Mississippi. “One of my residents wants to do rheumatology, and another wants to do nephrology. There aren’t osteopathic fellowships in the area in those subspecialties, but there are allopathic ones.”

Preserving opportunities for residents like these—which will help keep physicians where they’re most needed—is the main reason Dr. Pizzimenti’s residency program was among the first to apply for accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). With limited exceptions, starting next year residents in programs without ACGME accreditation will not be able to enter ACGME fellowships.

Comparable standards

As osteopathic training programs began to transition into a single accreditation system for graduate medical education, Dr. Pizzimenti made sure his program submitted an application as soon as the ACGME started accepting them. He found that the two entities have comparable standards.

“The new application had a lot of the same questions we were used to answering,” he says. “Of course, it took a lot of work to put everything together, but the ACGME’s standards are very similar to the AOA’s.”

Initially anxious about his ACGME site visit, Dr. Pizzimenti found that many aspects of it, too, were familiar to him.

“It was very similar to the AOA inspection in terms of how they spoke with the program director, then they spoke with the residents, then they spoke with core faculty,” he says. “The ACGME just wants to make sure that we’re meeting the standards.”

The residency program currently has pre-accreditation status; it will receive an accreditation decision in the fall, after the ACGME’s internal medicine residency review committee meets.

In the process of applying, Dr. Pizzimenti had to make some tweaks to the program to meet ACGME standards, but he says these changes will strengthen his program. For instance, he had to create two new committees: one in charge of evaluating residents, and one in charge of evaluating the overall program, and assign faculty to serve on them.

“Previously, the program director did everything,” he says. “Now we’ve reinvented our program so that there are subcommittees within our GME department and the program director just oversees all of it. This new system seems to be working well for us so far.”


  1. Niko Kostas

    It’s good that Dr. Pizzimenti feels that his program has improved as a result of switching over to ACGME accreditation.

    It’s unfortunate that his is one of only 18 programs (total, nationwide, in all specialties) which has applied for osteopathic recognition.

  2. Jef Groesbeck

    Agree with Niko. I was surprised to hear our program was the first to apply for recognition, and that only 18 have nationwide. While the process takes some time, as stated, much of what is asked should already be in place.

  3. Pingback: DO program director on ACGME residency application? – More review

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