Changing Medical Education When Change Is Hard: Implementing an Interdepartmental Entrustable Professional Activity

Eric Collins, Christopher Stahl, Benjamin Schnapp, Mary Westergaard, Jacob Greenberg, Sarah Jung, Alexandra Rosser, Rebecca Minter, Azita Hamedani, Aaron Kraut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) are a new tool for assessing learners that represents a significant movement in graduate medical education (GME) toward competency-based assessment and serves as a bridge between milestones and clinical practice. Whenever a major change is implemented to any system, resistance to change is expected. Many change management models have been proposed to overcome this resistance; a newer model is outlined in the book Switch. The objective was to describe the change management principles used to institute an EPA. Methods: The model introduced in Switch was used as a framework for implementing a trauma resuscitation EPA in a joint effort between the departments of surgery and emergency medicine (EM) at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. The Department of Emergency Medicine used the principles of change management, completing 295 faculty evaluations of trauma resuscitations compared to the Department of Surgery, whose faculty completed 50 evaluations between the study period of July 2018 through October 2019. A survey completed winter 2019 of EM faculty was used to determine the most important principles toward successful implementation. Results: Twenty-seven of 35 (78% response rate) of EM faculty identified key concepts from Switch as being instrumental in the successful implementation. Internal discussion of the implementation approach used by the Department of Surgery identified several limitations that would have been overcome by using these same change management principles. Conclusion: We conclude that the principles of change management provide a useful framework for successfully implementing EPAs into GME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10561
JournalAEM Education and Training
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Education
  • Emergency


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