Young-Jo Kim, MD, (center) moderates a roundtable discussion on best practices in resident education during the 2017 Resident Education Forum.


Published 3/1/2018
Andrew R. Jensen, MD, MBE

In Search of Best Practices in Resident Education

Resident Education Forum seeks to identify high-performing educational tools
Orthopaedic residency programs across the country use many of the same educational tools—such as cadaver labs, evaluations, and feedback—to teach residents. Despite the widespread use and importance of these methods, residency programs rarely communicate with each other. Without this dialogue, it is difficult for residencies to obtain comparative feedback or identify best education practices.

In 2017 the Resident Assembly surveyed U.S. orthopaedic residents for their opinions on the importance of common residency educational tools and how well their residency programs utilize them. The residents identified several areas—feedback and evaluations, Orthopaedics In-Training Exam and boards preparation, cadaver labs, surgical simulation, and operative experience—in which implementation was suboptimal relative to educational value.

This information led to small group discussions about best practices for these educational tools during the inaugural Resident Education Forum at the AAOS 2017 Annual Meeting. For each of the teaching tools, residents shared their experiences with what works well and what doesn't. The discussions were moderated by the following leaders in orthopaedic resident education:

  • Young-Jo Kim, MD
  • Derek R. Moore, MD
  • Paul Tornetta III, MD
  • Montri D. Wongworawat, MD
  • Lisa K. Cannada, MD
  • Bradford O. Parsons, MD
  • Dawn LaPorte, MD
  • Volker Musahl, MD
  • Nelson F. SooHoo, MD
  • Todd A. Milbrandt, MD
  • William N. Levine, MD

The forum yielded valuable information on how residents view current educational tools. This information was synthesized and distilled into easy-to-read documents called "two-pagers," which are available online ( The documents have also been distributed through social media, the AAOS resident newsletter, and the Resident Assembly, with the goal of helping residents and program directors self-evaluate their curriculum.

To optimally train future generations of orthopaedics surgeons, continual reflection and improvement of resident education practices is important. Clearly, there is no truly objective way to identify the best practice for a given education tool, and the existence of a singular "best" practice is doubtful. However, by taking a broad approach, we have identified consensus opinions that represent the collective experience of residents across the country. This summative feedback can guide residents and their program directors in improving their own education practices. We hope that by sharing these findings, we can help improve resident education nationally in a meaningful and lasting way.

Andrew R. Jensen, MD, MBE, is vice chair of the Resident Assembly.

2018 Resident Education Forum
The second annual Resident Education Forum will be held during the AAOS 2018 Annual Meeting on Friday, March 9, from 10–11 am. This year's forum will focus on a morbidity and mortality conference, core lecture series, and intern bioskills rotations. Residents attending Annual Meeting can register for the Resident Education Forum by visiting Spots are limited to the first 100 respondents.