try RRC had 18 members. The committee’s members are appointed by or sit as ex officio members from one of the following three organizations: the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), the Council of Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The ACGME requires that members of an RRC “have demonstrated substantial experience in administrative and/or teaching within the specialty” to qualify for service. Each RRC also includes a single member who is a resident in the appropriate specialty. Appointments are made for 3 years, and members’ terms are limited to 6 years. No provisions exist that specifically require the membership of researchers on the RRC (ACGME, 2002c), and at least two recent Psychiatry RRC chairs have said that researchers do not tend to be members and are not typically involved in the committee’s periodic revision of the written requirements for residency program accreditation (Miller, 2002; Winstead, 2002).
The principal responsibility of the psychiatry RRC is to review and accredit individual programs by checking documentation and making site visits to ensure compliance with the requirements set by the committee. Programs found in violation may be cited, and in extreme cases, their accreditation may be suspended or revoked. The accreditation process is designed to safeguard the public by maintaining necessary clinical standards in psychiatric graduate medical education. Additionally, the RRC must evaluate and update the written requirements for residency programs at least every 5 years. The requirements contain a lengthy description of the environment, curriculum, and overall procedures to which departments of psychiatry must conform to be accredited as a residency program in the United States.
Accreditation has a direct bearing on two important aspects of graduate medical education. First, one must graduate from an accredited program to qualify for professional board certification as an adult (general) or child and adolescent psychiatrist or in any of the other recognized subspecialties (such as geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and pain management). Second, program accreditation is necessary if training institutions are to qualify for federal funding that supports resident stipends, as well as other costs associated with graduate medical education (see the discussion of graduate medical education funding in Chapter 4).
In formulating program requirements, the Psychiatry RRC aims to represent the entire field of U.S. psychiatry as broadly and equitably as possible, with regard to both different branches of practice (e.g., geriatrics, addiction, forensics) and different sizes of programs (Miller, 2002). Although this universal approach permits a thorough formulation of