What Is a Rheumatologist and How Do We Make One?

Calvin R. Brown*, Lisa Criscione-Schreiber, Kenneth S. O'Rourke, Howard A. Fuchs, Chaim Putterman, Irene J. Tan, Joanne Valeriano-Marcet, Evelyn Hsieh, Sarah Zirkle, Mary B. Bolster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: Graduate medical education is a critical time in the training of a rheumatologist, and purposeful evaluation of abilities during this time is essential for long-term success as an independent practitioner. The internal medicine subspecialties collectively developed a uniform set of reporting milestones by which trainees can be assessed and receive formative feedback, providing clarity of accomplishment as well as areas for improvement in training. Furthermore, the reporting milestones provide a schema for assessment and evaluation of fellows by supervisors. The internal medicine subspecialties were also tasked with considering entrustable professional activities (EPAs), which define the abilities of a subspecialty physician who has attained sufficient mastery of the field to be accountable to stakeholders and participate in independent practice. Although EPAs have been established for a few specialties, they had not yet been described for rheumatology. EPAs have value as descriptors of the comprehensive abilities, knowledge, and skills of a practicing rheumatologist. The rheumatology EPAs have a role in defining a specialist in rheumatology upon completion of training, and also represent the ways our specialty defines our abilities that are enduring throughout practice. Methods: We describe the collaborative process of the development of both the subspecialty reporting milestones and the rheumatology EPAs. The reporting milestones evolved through discussions and collaborations among representatives from the Association of Specialty Professors, the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The EPAs were a product of deliberations by the Next Accreditation System (NAS) working group of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Committee on Rheumatology Training and Workforce Issues. Results: Twenty-three subspecialty reporting milestones and 14 rheumatology EPAs were advanced and refined over the course of 3 subspecialty reporting milestone development summits and 3 ACR NAS working group meetings, respectively. Conclusion: The subspecialty reporting milestones and rheumatology EPAs presented here stipulate reasonable and measurable expectations for rheumatologists-in-training. Together, these tools aim to promote enrichment and greater accountability in the training of fellows. Additionally, the EPAs define, for all stakeholders, the expertise of a rheumatologist in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1172
Number of pages7
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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