Statement of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) on Proposed Changes to ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Pediatrics
April 5, 2023
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) supports targeted education for medical providers and physicians on developmental disabilities so that individuals on the autism spectrum and those with other developmental conditions can access equitable, high-quality, and appropriate healthcare. In 2018, the IACC hosted a workshop on Addressing the Health Needs of People on the Autism Spectrum in which the healthcare experiences of children and adults with autism, interactions with healthcare providers, and training for healthcare providers in developmental disabilities were discussed. The IACC recently heard public comments on and discussed this topic in their April 2023 full committee meeting. In addition, in the upcoming 2021-2023 IACC Strategic Plan for Autism Research, Services, and Policy, the IACC draws attention to the difficulties autistic individuals and their families face in accessing properly trained healthcare providers with expertise in working with individuals on the autism spectrum and calls for increased investments to provide primary care providers with the training necessary to meet the needs of autistic individuals across the spectrum and across the lifespan.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is an independent not-for-profit organization that oversees the accreditation of medical residency and fellowship programs in the U.S. The ACGME has recently proposed major revisions to program requirements for graduate medical education in pediatrics. Among these changes, ACGME would remove the requirement to have a developmental-behavioral pediatrician on the faculty of the residency program [II.B.1.e).(1).(b)]. Additionally, ACGME proposes to remove the requirement to ensure adequate exposure to the spectrum of normal development, and the longitudinal care of children with special healthcare needs [IV.C.6.g).(2)].
In the view of the IACC, these proposed changes would dramatically and adversely affect the ability of future pediatricians to equitably and effectively care for individuals on the autism spectrum, and to educate patients and families in the autism community.
The IACC strongly objects to the proposed changes in the ACGME requirements for adequate exposure to the spectrum of normal development at all ages and the longitudinal management of children with special healthcare needs during pediatric residencies. The IACC further objects to dropping the requirement for inclusion of a board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatrician on the faculty of residency programs. Additional training of primary care providers is needed to ensure appropriate and high-quality healthcare for individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism – not a reduction in training in this area.
The Committee urges the ACGME not to adopt the proposed changes and hopes to host future discussions on this important topic to support equitable, high-quality, and appropriate healthcare for people on the autism spectrum and others with developmental disabilities.
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is an independent Federal advisory committee that coordinates Federal efforts and provides advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Members of the Committee include representatives of Federal agencies involved in autism research and services, as well as members of the public representing a wide array of perspectives, including autistic adults, parents and family members, advocates, community providers, and researchers. The most recent authorization of the committee is included in the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (Public Law 116-60).
Please note that the IACC is an independent Federal advisory committee, and the views expressed by the IACC do not represent the view of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or other Federal agencies and Departments.