Published April 13, 2018
Melissa Beckman, the residency program administrator for the Department of Surgery in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, has been awarded a prestigious “Graduate Medical Education Program Coordinator Excellence Award” from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
Beckman is one of only six administrators at medical training programs throughout the U.S. to have received this honor. The award was presented at the ACGME Annual Education Meeting in Orlando last month. The ACGME is the organization responsible for accrediting the majority of graduate medical training programs for physicians in the U.S.
Residency program administrators, also known as training program administrators (TPAs), help administer and manage the education of medical residents; residents are recent medical school graduates now undergoing training in the nation’s hospitals and clinics.
As the TPA in the Department of Surgery, Beckman interfaces with faculty, residents, UB’s Office of Graduate Medical Education and the Residency Review Committees, which are specific to the specialty.
“Administrators, like Melissa, work closely as partners with residency program directors,” says Roseanne Berger, senior associate dean for graduate medical education at the Jacobs School. “They are often the ‘go-to’ people for residents with questions or concerns about their programs or their lives. They provide emotional, as well as administrative support for residents, fellows and faculty.”
Beckman’s colleagues and superiors say her skills are all the more noteworthy since UB’s surgery residency program is one of the nation’s largest. She is responsible for more than 50 residents.
“Melissa brings detail, ingenuity and compassion to everything she does in the realm of education,” says Steven D. Schwaitzberg, chair of the Department of Surgery at the Jacobs School and president of UBMD Surgery. “We are really proud that she is getting the recognition so richly deserved.”
James Lukan, program director, general surgery residency, notes that when Beckman joined the program, “her talent was immediately obvious, but I don’t think any of us fully understood her potential and ability to influence all aspects of the surgery training program here at UB.”
“She brings an ever expanding knowledge of graduate medical education issues and leadership skills that, when combined with her personal attention to faculty and resident staff, makes her one of our most valuable assets,” Lukan says. “It is great to see Melissa being recognized for her dedication to medical education in this manner.
“It is the job of the training program administrator to help ensure that residents meet an ever-growing number of requirements,” he adds, “so that they leave us as skilled surgeons and may continue to become board certified. These requirements include modules in laparoscopy, endoscopy and various other skills needed to provide surgical care. An intensive didactic program, as well as simulation and skills labs, is coordinated by the TPA. Extensive testing in both knowledge and skills must be monitored for each of the residents,” Lukan explains.
“At UB, the program has evolved to provide far more didactics, skills and simulation than required by the American Board of Surgery, making this TPA job more demanding than most.”
Beckman, a graduate of Niagara University, has been in the position with the UB Department of Surgery since 2016; before that, she was a program administrator with Catholic Health.