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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2017 Jan 1:91217417745294. doi: 10.1177/0091217417745294. [Epub ahead of print]

Mapping the Balint groups to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education family medicine competencies.

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1 Guthrie Family Medicine Residency, Guthrie Clinic, Sayre, USA.
2 Family Medicine, American University of Beirut.
3 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
4 Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington.
5 Lehigh Valley Family Practice Residency Program.


Introduction Balint group discussions provide learning opportunities for many of the competencies and milestones put forward by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The current literature is mixed concerning the effect of Balint groups on communication skills and professionalism. Aim To map the content of the Balint discussion to the competencies and milestones put forward by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.


A group who were both experts in Balint and members of the clinical competency committee of residency programs rated narratives that summarized Balint group discussions. Credentialed Leaders of the American Balint Society were invited via email to submit narratives (250 words) about Balint groups that they have led, or were leading, with residents. Results Only four narratives were submitted. Additional cases were recruited through literature review of published Balint discussion cases. A total of 25 cases were rated by the committee. There was agreement between three out of four raters on at least one core milestone in every case. The most frequent milestones were C1 (develops meaningful therapeutic relationships with patients and families), C2 (communicated effectively with patients, families, and public), Prof1 (completes a process of professionalization), and Prof3 (demonstrates humanism and cultural proficiency). Balint groups provided a learning opportunity for a subset of milestones in at least 36% of the cases. Conclusion This pilot research suggests that Balint groups and the discussions of complex and challenging cases provide learning opportunities for multiple family medicine milestones, mainly communication skills and professionalism. Further research is needed to refine the methodology and the rating system.


balint; milestones; residency education

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