The clinical learning environment has tremendous influence on the practices and patterns soon-to-be physicians will take into the working world and throughout their careers. So, providing the best educational training is essential for both medical staff and patients.

In an effort to enhance this critical environment for graduates, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is launching the Pursuing Excellence in Clinical Learning Environments initiative. Announced earlier this week, the four-year initiative will provide up to $75,000 a year over four years to eight sponsoring institutions. The institutions will vary in size and geography for a truly collaborative exchange of ideas.

“This is an attempt to marshal the real expertise that exists in most of our institutions in quality and safety to ensure that each graduate physician has the knowledge and skills to bring quality and safety to whatever learning environment they go to,” said Thomas Nasca, M.D., the accreditation council's CEO.

Most unique is the community-based collaborative approach the ACGME is taking. Mandates from the top of the organization are a common approach to enact change, but Nasca asserts that a community approach will bring about a more holistic and innovative change. “We’re of the mindset that positive change will occur from the dissemination of community-based successful change and programs rather than us trying to create a one-size-fits-all solution — I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all solution to this.”

ACGME is partnering with 21 other national, interprofessional health care and educational organizations to provide critical insights and expertise to continually inform the initiative.

Sponsoring institutions will be designated in one of three categories: Pathway Innovators, Pathway Leaders and Pathway Learners. Each group will have varying levels of responsibility and input in the search to improve clinical learning.

The Pursuing Excellence Initiative follows in the wake of the Clinical Learning Environment Review. Launched in 2012, the CLER conducted site visits to 297 sponsoring institutions, focusing on six overarching areas: patient safety, health care quality, care transitions, supervision, fatigue management and mitigation and professionalism. The PEI will focus on these six areas with hopes to improve health care education across the country.

“Five or 10 years from now, we will say we really made a big difference in that domain of our sponsoring institutions who produce the next generation of medical professionals,” said Nasca.