The ABS began exploring EPAs as a potential foundation for competency-based surgical training and initial board certification in 2016, following several years of discussion around various strategies to improve traditional time-based residency training models. The ABS then developed five index EPAs and piloted them at 28 diverse surgical residency programs from 2018-2020. Lessons learned from this pilot have been collated and formed into best practice strategies that are being deployed in developing and supporting programs of all types and resource streams during implementation of the EPA assessment model.
Many medical professionals have been involved in ABS discussions around EPAs, and even more have volunteered their time, their expertise, and even their surgical training programs in an effort to bring this training model to fruition for U.S.-based surgical residency programs. The ABS would like to thank all of those who have been involved in this initiative and those will be involved as we continue to develop and implement EPAs.
The ABS developed and piloted five index EPAs at 28 diverse surgical residency programs from 2018-2020. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, it became more apparent than ever that a move to competency-based assessment is necessary to appropriately determine trainee readiness to enter the ABS certification process and independent patient care.
There were two councils and five working groups responsible for the development and implementation of the general surgery EPAs:
Some, but not all, of these groups have also been established for each additional ABS specialty area.
All of the working groups include resident members who provide valuable insight and recommendations from the trainees’ perspective.