Background: The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are committed to promoting patient safety through education. In view of the critical role of residents in the delivery of safe patient care, the ACS and ACGME sponsored jointly a national consensus conference to initiate the development of a curriculum on patient safety that may be used across all surgical residency programs.
Conclusions: National leaders in surgery with expertise in surgical care and surgical education, patient safety experts, medical educators, key stakeholders from national organizations, and surgical residents were invited to participate in the conference. Attendees considered patient safety issues within the context of the 6 core competencies defined by the ACGME and American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Discussions resulted in the development of a curriculum matrix that includes listings of patient safety topics, teaching and learning strategies, and assessment methods. Guidelines for implementation and dissemination are also provided. The curriculum content underscores the need to create an organizational culture of safety and focuses on both individuals and systems. Individual residency programs may prioritize the curriculum content based on their specific needs. The ACS and ACGME will pursue development of educational modules to address the curriculum content, disseminate helpful information, and assist in implementation of new educational interventions. This effort has the potential to positively impact residency education in surgery, help surgical program directors address the core competencies, and enhance patient safety.