Graduate medical education (GME) leadership needs more diverse representation. Specialty medical education associations have a responsibility to support the development of the next generation of underrepresented in medicine (UIM) GME leaders. In our continued commitment to become an anti-racist organization,1  the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD), in collaboration with the APPD UIM in Pediatric GME Learning Community, created the Advancing Inclusiveness in Medical Education Scholars (AIMS) Program in 2019 to address this gap.

AIMS is a 12-month program that provides professional development and mentorship to UIM pediatric residents (AIM scholars) with the objective of exposing them to careers in medical education and mentorship earlier in their training with the goal of increasing the diversity of pediatric medical education leadership.

Pediatric residents are eligible to apply if they meet the following criteria: postgraduate year (PGY)-2 categorical or PGY-3 in a combined pediatrics program, UIM as defined by the Association of American Medical Colleges, able to attend the national APPD conference, and demonstrating an interest in medical education leadership.

The AIMS Program has been developed using the conceptual framework of self-determination theory, which posits that competence, relatedness, and autonomy lead to internal motivation. The program consists of:


Scholars participate in a half-day of programming before our national conference that includes: a welcome from APPD Board, an overview of careers in medical education, a meet the educator panel, speed mentoring (topics: mentorship, wellness/minority tax, career branding, medical education scholarship), and 1:1 meetings with their mentors. The scholars then participate in the regular conference educational content to engage with the broader APPD community and end each day debriefing with their cohort and program leadership.


Scholars are paired with UIM mentors who have an educational leadership position at a different institution and engage in peer mentoring, faculty mentoring, and inclusion in the UIM in Pediatric GME Learning Community.


Scholars have been deliberately provided opportunities and sponsored to participate in various national committees and academic scholarship within the APPD that aligns with their interests (eg, have served on the Confronting Racism Action Team, Workforce Initiative, Curriculum Reform).

Our first 2 cohorts consisted of 28 total scholars out of 71 applicants (2020 cohort: 30 applicants, 12 selected; 2021 cohort: 41 applicants, 16 selected). Scholars included 25 (89%) categorical residents, 22 (79%) female, 21 (75%) Black/African American, 8 (29%) Hispanic/Latino, and 8 (29%) first-generation college graduates. For each cohort, we ensured that there was representation across the United States from training programs in all APPD regions.

Twenty-four scholars (86%) have completed a voluntary anonymous program survey. For overall quality of the program, on a 5-point scale (poor to excellent), 21 (88%) rated it excellent and 3 (13%) very good. All scholars (100%) either strongly agreed or agreed that the AIMS programming and attending the APPD conference were helpful in: (1) career development, (2) networking, and (3) feeling like they belong in educational leadership. For the future, we plan to continue program evaluation and track longitudinal career outcomes.

As we continue to scale the program, the APPD has committed to fund 16 scholars per year for the next 3 years, and we continue to seek additional sustainable funding through key stakeholders. AIMS leadership comes from the established UIM in Pediatric GME Learning Community, which further supports its sustainability. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first 2 cohorts have participated virtually, which has reduced costs and increased accessibility.

The AIMS Program represents a feasible and adaptable framework that specialty medical education associations can utilize to build programs that provide career development, mentorship, and a sense of community for UIM trainees interested in careers in medical education leadership.

Gonzalez del Rey
et al
Dismantling racism: Association of Pediatric Program Directors' commitment to action
Acad Pediatr