The History of TAGME
The evolution of certification for program coordinators dates back to 2002, near the same time the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) instituted the Outcome Project and core competencies. This resulted in profound changes in graduate medical education that increased the scope and depth of the functions of both the program director and program coordinator and resulted in a substantial change in expectations. The responsibilities of the program coordinator increased bringing about the need for a higher level of skills, ability and knowledge that elevated the program coordinator from a clerical/secretarial position to the professional position of manager/administrator. This culminated in the formation of the National Board for Certification for Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education Programs (TAGME).
In 2003, after a year of research and review, the Association of Residency Coordinators in Surgery (ARCS) unanimously voted to pursue certification for general surgery residency coordinators. At the same time, question posed in the AMA/GME newsletter from a coordinator asking if anyone had considered certification for coordinators. That email was answered in subsequent edition with information regarding the ongoing efforts of the surgical coordinators. As a result, several hundred responses were received, all indicating a high level of interest from program coordinators across the nation and in many clinical specialties.
Four representatives from three clinical specialties, Diagnostic Radiology, General Surgery and OBGYN, met in Baltimore to discuss this grassroots interest in certification and to see if there was some commonality that could be used as a basis for setting standards. An on-line job analysis tool was developed and distributed by word of mouth. Over 450 responses were received in the next several months from program coordinators, GME personnel, and training program staff across many clinical specialties nationwide. During this time, the TAGME name was established and the mission and vision statements developed by the surgical coordinators were adopted. TAGME researched other certification bodies and developed their goals and objectives, and criteria for certification. An Open Forum was held prior to the 2004 Spring ACGME meeting at which 45 people participated from 15 clinical specialties, GME personnel and representatives from the AMA and AAMC. At this Forum, the concept of certification, the mission and vision statements and goals and objectives, the criteria for certification, and the timeline for development were all open to discussion and scrutiny. From that a formal working board was established including representatives and fact finders from 9 clinical specialties: Diagnostic Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OBGYN, Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and General Surgery.
By 2006, TAGME had created a robust certification process that set a national standard to assess the knowledge, skills and abilities of training administrators of graduate medical education programs. Within the next few years, certification assessments tools were developed for over 30 medical specialties (and associated sub-specialties) resulting in more than 750 TAGME-certified professionals nationwide.
As the interest and recognition of achieving the TAGME credential continued to flourish, so too did the responsibilities and duties of the organization’s volunteer members. Concurrently, the ACGME announced the major initiative of The Next Accreditation System (NAS) which once again would significantly alter the depth and scope of knowledge and skills for all training program administrators and coordinators. Also, TAGME was now receiving a significant amount of requests for certification in GME specialties (and sub-specialties) that had not yet developed specialty-specific assessment tools.
Taking all this under great consideration, and within the context of providing superior services to potential and current members, the 2015 TAGME Board of Directors voted to restructure both the leadership framework and the certification tools, provide remote completion of assessment documents, and offer credentialing to all accredited GME medical specialties through global certification. TAGME is confident that these changes will keep the organization on a strong growth track for the future and ensuring that certification will continue to be available to training program professionals in all graduate medical education disciplines.