Glossary of Terms

Accreditation: A voluntary process of evaluation and review based on published standards and following a prescribed process, performed by a non-governmental agency of peers.

Accredited Training in Flexible Fellowship: Training described in the program requirements. In the flexible fellowship model, experiences that are not described in the program requirements (e.g., research training, practice, childcare), are not accredited.

Annual Report: An abbreviated application submitted annually by accredited programs to ensure that UCNS has the most current program information on file.

Applicant: Program that submits a completed application.

Assessable: Objectives must be practical, written using appropriate verbs, and linked to methods of assessment appropriate to the type of objective.

Assessment: An ongoing process of gathering and interpreting information about a learner's knowledge, skills, and/or behavior.

Citation: A finding of the Accreditation Council that a program is failing to comply substantially with a particular accreditation program requirement.

Clinical: Refers to the practice of medicine in which physicians assess patients (in person or virtually) or populations in order to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease using their expert judgement. It also refers to physicians who contribute to the care of patients by providing clinical decision support and information systems, laboratory, imaging, or related studies.

Common Program Requirements: The set of UCNS program requirements, approved by the Board of Directors, that apply to all subspecialties.

Competencies: Specific knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes, and the appropriate educational experiences required of fellows to complete the fellowship program.

Competency-Based Education: Assessment of the efficacy of training using the fellow's demonstrated competence at the end of the training period.

Comprehensive Objectives: Objective that include the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors of the fellow.

Concurrent Training: Training that simultaneously confers eligibility for more than one board certification.

Core Curriculum: The body of skills, knowledge, and abilities that is taught to all fellows.

Core Faculty: Physicians who oversee clinical training in the subspecialty. The program director is considered a core faculty member for the purpose of determining the fellow complement.

Designated Institutional Official (DIO): The person at an ACGME-accredited sponsoring institution who assumes the authority and responsibility for the GME programs.

Didactic: A kind of systematic instruction by means of planned learning experiences, such as conferences or grand rounds.

Elective: Indicates a rotation/experience that may be chosen at the fellow's discretion in consultation with the faculty.

Fellow: A physician in a program accredited by UCNS who has met all eligibility requirements to enroll in and complete a fellowship.

Final Fellow Evaluation: Evaluation completed by the program demonstrating that the fellow is competent as an entry-level practitioner in the subspecialty.

Flexible Fellowship: A fellowship format in which accredited clinical training (i.e., required clinical training under supervision of faculty and related scholarship), is combined with another activity or experience so that the fellowship term exceeds the minimum duration required for the accredited clinical training alone. The other activity or experience may be of several types, typical examples being research training, practice, childcare. The accredited clinical training and other activity/experience may occur in sequence or be blended concurrently. The accredited component (i.e., required clinical training and related scholarship), must meet the subspecialty requirement spent in FTE terms.

Flexible Fellowship Term: In the flexible fellowship model, the fellowship term is the duration in weeks, months, or years spent in the fellowship encompassing both accredited training and other activity. The fellowship term must be agreed upon by both the program director and the fellow.

Formative Assessment: Feedback without grading.

Goal: Educational accomplishments to be achieved within a set amount of time.

Institution: An organization having the primary purpose of providing educational and/or health care services (e.g., a university, a medical school, a hospital, a school of public health, a health department, a public health agency, and organized health care delivery system, a medical examiner's office, a consortium, an educational foundation).

Institutional Letters: The sponsoring institution must ensure that for each accredited program, appropriate letters of agreement exist between the sponsoring institution and the participating institutions used by a program that provides specific learning experiences.

Integrated: Defined before developing the curriculum.

Longitudinal Experience: An activity occurring regularly throughout the course of the fellowship or during a year of the fellowship. Examples include a clinic that occurs regularly, a patient case conference in which treatment decisions are made, or an in-patient experience that does not occur in blocks, but instead on a periodic basis (staffing the angio lab).  Longitudinal experiences typically are designed to build fellow independence to practice with graduated responsibility.

Months of Rotation: The total number of months on average the typical fellow spends at the institution.

Objectives: Learning objectives in a medical curriculum should be comprehensive, pertinent, assessable, extramurally consistent, intramurally consistent, integrated, uniformly taught, and linked to the six ACGME core competencies.

Off-Cycle Fellow: Fellow who enrolls in a program outside of the July 1-June 30 educational cycle.

Other Faculty: Physicians and other professionals determined by the Subspecialty to be necessary in order to deliver the program curriculum.

Ownership Type of Institution: Governance, control, or type of ownership.

Participating Institution: Institution that provides required experiences that cannot be obtained at the primary or sponsoring institutions.

Pertinent Objectives: Objectives that are learner-population specific. For example, for fellows, programs must include assessment of real-world technical proficiency and clinical judgement in relation to skill performance.

Primary Institution: Institution that is the primary clinical training site and may or may not be the sponsoring institution.

Program: The unit of subspecialty education, comprising a series of graduated learning experiences in GME, designed to conform to the program requirements of a particular subspecialty.

Program Director: The official responsible for maintaining the quality of a GME program. Other duties of the program director include preparing a written statement outlining the program's educational goals; providing an accurate statistical and narrative description of the program as requested by the UCNS; and providing for the selection, supervision, and evaluation of fellows for appointment to and completion of the program.

Program Evaluation: Systematic collection and analysis of information related to the design, implementation, and outcomes of a fellow education program, for the purpose of monitoring and improving the quality and effectiveness of the program.

Program Information Form (PIF): Also known as the accreditation application. The document completed by the program director for initial accreditation. The document is a compilation of information that reflects the current status of the educational program and is used to demonstrate substantial compliance with the program requirements. Also known as the initial program application.

Program Requirements: Document approved by the subspecialties and Board. Program requirements contain both the UCNS common program requirements and content subspecialty-specific information.

Progress Report: A progress report is requested of an accredited program to demonstrate continued compliance with the program requirements. Often program reports are requested following a comprehensive initial or continued review; however, a program may be requested to submit a progress report at any time there is a question that the program is in substantial compliance with the program requirements.

Reaccreditation Information Form (RIF): Also known as the accreditation application. The document completed by the program director for continued accreditation. The document is a compilation that reflects the current status of the educational program and is used to demonstrate substantial compliance with the program requirements. Also known as the reaccreditation application.

Scholarly Activity: Scholarship is defined as activities unrelated to the specific care of patients, which includes scholarship pertaining to research, writing review papers, giving research-based lectures, and participating in research-oriented journal clubs.

Senior Faculty Officer: The person at an RCPSC-accredited sponsoring institution who assumes the authority and responsibility for GME programs.

Six ACGME Core Competencies: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Professionalism, and Systems-based Practice.

Sponsoring Institution: Institution that assumes ultimate responsibility for the program and is required of all programs.

Staff: The non-faculty personnel required or recommended for subspecialty fellowship programs. Examples are coordinators, nonteaching providers, nurses, social workers, and administrative staff. 

Substantial Compliance: The determination of substantial compliance results from a judgement based on all available information as to the degree that the entity being evaluated meets accreditation standards.

Summative Assessment: Graded evaluations.

Supervision: A required faculty activity involving the oversight and direction of patient care activities that are provided by fellows.

Uniformly Taught: Part of the standardized curriculum of all fellows.

Staff Contact

Amanda Carpenter
Senior Manager, Accreditation
[email protected]
(612) 928-6065