CME: AMA PRA Category 1 Credit for Preparing and Teaching Medical Students

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Medical Education recently announced the joint initiative, Learning from Teaching, awarding AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for the learning associated with preparing for and teaching medical students and residents.

Previously able to claim AMA PRA Category 2 Credit™ for such activities, part-time and other faculty members may now claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for their continuing professional development mediated by accredited CME providers affiliated with accredited UME and/or GME entities.

As reported by, “These new credits are only to be certified by academic teaching centers (i.e., medical school UME and GME and hospital centers that offer GME), and they are predicated on a collaborative process between the CME offices at those institutions and their UME/GME offices. Teacher-learners must complete an application for credit and/or special planning notes that document typical Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education planning criteria, and they must document the outcomes of their learning-through-teaching experience.”

The article, written by Steve Passing, gives a great explanation and detailed overview of the new program and its requirements. Below is various portions of his article.

“According to the AAMC, the purpose of Learning from Teaching initiatives is to “formally recognize and document the learning activity that occurs as a result of interacting with, teaching, and assessing the competence of students and residents.”

The AAMC also points out that, due to the expansion of traditional teaching sites from the main campus to community-based venues, it has become necessary to rely on volunteer teachers as opposed to only full-time faculty.” To be eligible to certify new Learning from Teaching in UME and GME credits, CME providers must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be a national organization that is accredited by ACCME or by a state medical association recognized by ACCME.
  • The institution must be Liaison Committee for Medical Education—and/or Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education—accredited.
  • Applying faculty must be willing to document what they learned through teaching in UME and/or GME.
  • The CME office must have adequate staff to manage and document this new type of learning in accordance with ACCME’s Criteria for Accreditation and the AMA PRA rules.

According to the ACCME, Learning from Teaching activities are essentially “personal learning projects designed and implemented by the learner with facilitation from the accredited provider.” The ACCME reinforces that these activities are expected to be developed in compliance with all applicable ACCME Criteria for Accreditation and policies, and that they must facilitate practice-based learning and improvement. In the case of Learning from Teaching activities, “practice-based” can mean the teacher’s professional teaching practice.

Importantly, the teacher-learners must document the gap in knowledge, competence, or understanding that required research, updating, reflection, or the development of materials relative to the teaching assignment (Criterion 2). Relative to Criterion 3 (the intended results of the activity), the ACCME suggests that such outcomes could include:

  • Improved teaching skills
  • Improved patient management
  • Better understanding of pathophysiology
  • Other types of improvements in the teacher’s competence or performance as a teacher

Likewise for Criterion 6 (universal competencies), Learning from Teaching activities are particularly germane to the ACGME Competencies, including:

  • Medical knowledge
  • Clinical practice/patient care and procedural skills
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-based practice
  • Practice-based learning/improvement
  • Communication skills

The AAMC suggests these categories of potential outcomes from Learning from Teaching activities:

  • Preparing for a student/resident encounter or teaching session
  • Literature searching: updating bibliographies, synthesizing literature
  • Researching case materials related to presentations
  • Case discussion prompting questions and information-seeking
  • Researching clinical questions online or in journals and other text sources
  • Reflection on teaching encounters and undertaking improvements, developing learning/teaching plans
  • Developing educational materials related to case or clinical problems

Learning from Teaching activities are reportable in the ACCME‘s Program and Activity Reporting System, also known as PARS. While the ACCME allows providers to group Learning from Teaching activities into one activity for reporting purposes, this is only applicable when all learners are claiming the same number of credits (i.e., their total claimed credits add up to two, for example). In most cases, since this is an individual learning experience, the number of credits claimed by the learners will vary considerably, and therefore—practically speaking—each Learning from Teaching activity may be a separate reportable activity in PARS.

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