Surgery Residency Program Administrator Honored

Published April 20, 2018

Melissa Beckman.

Melissa Beckman

Melissa Beckman, the training program administrator (TPA) for the general surgery residency in the Department of Surgery, has been awarded a prestigious Graduate Medical Education Program Coordinator Excellence Award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

“Melissa brings detail, ingenuity and compassion to everything she does in the realm of education.”
Professor and chair of surgery

The award is given to program coordinators in recognition of their in-depth understanding of the accreditation process, excellent communication and interpersonal skills and projects to improve residency programs.

She is only one of six administrators of medical training programs throughout the country to receive the honor from the ACGME, the organization responsible for accrediting the majority of graduate medical training programs for physicians in the U.S.

‘Go-To’ Person for Residents With Questions, Concerns

Residency program administrators help administer and manage the education of medical residents — recent medical school graduates undergoing training in the nation’s hospitals and clinics.

In her role, Beckman interfaces with faculty, residents, UB’s Office of Graduate Medical Education and the Residency Review Committees, which are specific to the specialty.

“Administrators such as Melissa work closely as partners with residency program directors,” says Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education.

“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.”

Has Responsibility For More Than 50 Residents

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, MD, professor and chair of surgery and president of UBMD Surgery.

“We are really proud that she is getting the recognition so richly deserved.”

Personal Attention to Faculty and Resident Staff

James K. Lukan, MD, assistant professor of surgery and program director of the general surgery residency, agrees that Beckman is very deserving of the recognition for her dedication to medical education.

“When Melissa 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,” he says.

“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 adds.

Evolving Program Requirements Increase Demands

Lukan also notes that TPAs “help ensure that residents meet an ever-growing number of requirements so that they leave the program 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 and extensive testing in both knowledge and skills must be monitored for each of the residents, he notes.

“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,” Lukan says.

Beckman, a graduate of Niagara University, has been in the position in the Department of Surgery since 2016. Prior to that, the Kenmore resident was a program administrator with Catholic Health.

She received the award at the 2018 ACGME Annual Educational Conference March 1-4 in Orlando, Florida.