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EPAs for General Surgery

The ABS EPA Project first began with general surgery, which launched in July 2023, and is now in development for the other ABS specialties.

EPAs and General Surgery Residents

An EPA composite profile will be required during QE application

All applicants to the 2028 General Surgery Qualifying Exam (GSQE) will be required to turn in a composite profile across all EPAs when they apply for the exam. In order to assist trainees in developing a robust composite profile, every resident should be assessed on every rotation.

All program faculty should be trained to function as assessors to promote reliability and validity of the assessment. While the requirement for an EPA profile as part of the ABS GSQE application process will not occur until 2028, use of EPAs for residents at all PGY-levels to promote consistent habits of meaningful assessment and feedback, and to provide other assessment economies, is strongly encouraged as a best practice strategy.

For more details and information about EPA development, implementation, evaluation, and more, please review our FAQs.

General Surgery EPAs Anatomy Visual

The 18 general surgery EPAs and their relation to a patient's anatomy.

Using EPAs to Support Struggling Residents Infographic

How EPAs can be used to support struggling residents by creating a shared language and a space for constructive...

How to Use EPAs to Take Charge of Your Training Infographic

An infographic detailing how residents can use EPAs to take charge of their surgical training.
surgeons having a discussion
ABS EPA App Totals

EPAs by the numbers

The implementation of general surgery EPAs began on July 1, 2023. Since then, trainees and staff have been using the ABS EPA app to create and complete assessments. The data below shows the most current EPA numbers.  (Data as of December 31, 2023.) 

Total Completed Assessments
Total Users Created 1 or More Assessment

General Surgery

EPA Task Forces and Working Groups

There have been two councils and five working groups responsible for the development and implementation of the ABS EPA initiative: the EPA Advisory Council; the EPA Scope Council; the EPA Revision Working Group; the EPA Best Practices Working Group; the EPA Technology Task Force; the EPA Writing Group; and the EPA Development Task Force. All five working groups include resident members who provide valuable insight and recommendations from the trainees’ perspective.

The following five groups are currently actively involved in the development and implementation of EPAs in all U.S.-based general surgery residency programs:

EPA Advisory Council

The EPA Advisory Council oversees the entire EPA project and provides much-needed expertise about surgical education and EPAs. This group is comprised of members and representatives from many of our partnering organizations, including a number of program directors from varying program types who were part of the 2018-2020 ABS EPA Pilot.

EPA Best Practices Working Group

The EPA Best Practices Working Group is responsible for gathering and assessing input from pilot sites as a foundation for “best practice” strategies that will be used in EPA implementation. This group will collaborate with the EPA Development Task Force and the Education and Training Committee of the ABS Council to inform the initial EPA training tools for program directors, administrators, faculty, and trainees.

EPA Scope Council​

The EPA Scope Council used insights gleaned from the pilot, alongside existing definitions of general surgery and case log data for both trainees and surgeons in practice, to define the final set of general surgery EPAs. The final suite of 18 EPAs for general surgery (listed above) has been developed by this group.

Having completed their initial responsibilities, the group now functions as a reactor panel for the full suite of EPAs that are being written by the EPA Writing Group. The full suite of 18 general surgery EPAs is meant to define the ‘floor’ of the discipline, as able to be meaningfully assessed across all program types and as framed by current training requirements, practice data, and demographic need.

EPA Writing Group

The EPA Writing Group is responsible for the detailed composition of the 13 additional EPAs that supplement the five included in the pilot to create a full suite for the discipline, including descriptions, essential functions, scope and expected behaviors. This group works in dyads with trained facilitators, each writing up to two EPAs which are then reviewed and critiqued by several reactor panel groups and ultimately will be approved through ABS Council committee structures and the General Surgery Board. Membership of this group is broad, and includes members of the various ABS specialty boards, APDS representatives, and residents.

EPA Development Task Force

The EPA Development Task Force is comprised of educators, program directors, residency administrators, and residents, and is developing the actual materials and strategies which will equip programs, faculty, and residents in implementation of the EPAs across the full spectrum of program types. The materials being developed will be provided for programs based on insights gained from the EPA Best Practices Working Group.

The following two groups have completed their designated responsibilities and are no longer actively involved in the ABS EPA Project:

EPA Technology Task Force

The EPA Technology Task Force established a list of the essential features of the electronic tools required to implement EPAs in surgical residencies and was responsible for sourcing or developing the application that would be used to track EPAs in all U.S.-based general surgery residency programs. The ABS will provide this tool free of charge to all training programs for their use, with priorities around ease and efficiency of use, secure data management, and meaningful dashboard and other outputs to assist learners, programs, and accrediting agencies in their critical work.

EPA Revision Working Group

The EPA Revision Working Group was responsible for the revision of the initial five general surgery EPAs that were evaluated during the 2018-2020 pilot to make them Milestones 2.0 compliant. This group was also responsible for the development of the final entrustment scale, which will be used across all specialty EPA programs.

EPA Publications
Check out our publications related to the ABS EPA project
Contact Us
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