Faculty- In- Training (FIT) Program

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The Faculty- In- Training (FIT) program is a learner-centered professional development program where experiential learning is coupled with guidance from a personal mentor. The FIT program builds on the skills developed in the Relationship-Centered Communication Facilitation (RCF) program and Train-the-Trainer (TTT)  program (must have completed either prerequisite to be eligible to apply to the FIT program).

The FIT program is designed to help RCF and Train the Trainer graduates achieve both their own self-identified learning goals as well as competencies in the four core domains of small group facilitation, coaching, workshop content and development, and personal awareness.  Participants develop interpersonal skills, including leadership, diversity, teamwork, and conflict engagement.

The success of the program resides in an abiding commitment to adhere to the basic principles of learning communities including caring relationships, unconditional positive regard, trust, inclusivity, mutual support, teamwork, and attending to ‘caring presence’ in our work.  Since its inception in 1988, over 100 people with varied backgrounds (MD, PhD, PA-C, MSW, PsyD, CNM, etc.) have completed this multi-year, learner-centered, self-paced, distance-learning program.  For many it has been the most transformative educational experience of their lives.  A qualitative analysis of FIT graduates from the ACH program found consistent increases in confidence and skill in the realms of communication, teaching, facilitation, relationships at work and home, and personal awareness (Chou et al, 2014).

Additional benefits from this longitudinal learning community include highly meaningful, trusting, and supportive relationships with other professionals with shared values. Many report significant career development and advancement due to monthly mentoring, networking, career advice, and collaboration on scholarly projects. For most, it is the safest place to share important professional and personal dilemmas and to work on managing them.

Participants said

"I have much more clarity and competence in communicating with patients, which enhances my personal satisfaction with practicing primary care."

"Finding a community of like-minded clinicians helped me feel less isolated and bolstered my confidence in maintaining values of caring about patients and myself in the context of practicing medicine.”

"I have become a more reflective, thoughtful course director and facilitator, much more comfortable giving feedback to faculty and students. ...I no longer avoid the challenging conversations with colleagues or with my husband and friends." "It became my professional home, and source of friends, collaborators, and kindred spirits."

"I learned about how others see me and how my behavior influences them. These realizations have helped me become a more confident, skillful, and fulfilled teacher and leader, and maybe a better friend and husband."

FIT Frequently Asked Questions

To be eligible to apply to the FIT program, you must first successfully complete the Relationship-Centered Communication Facilitators Program (RCF) or receive certification in an ACH train-the-trainer program. You may apply by following these steps.

For details on tuition and other related program costs click here.

Your time in the Faculty-in-Training Program should be one of significant learning and skill development, as well as one of exciting personal growth. Potentially, it will become one of the most valuable educational experiences you undertake. It is intensive. FITs spend considerable time in activities related to the training program, often as much as two to four hours per week, in addition to time spent at the annual ENRICH and Winter Training Courses. It is estimated to take at least 2 years to complete the program.  You and your supervisors should be aware of this level of commitment.

Each FIT is paired with an ACH faculty member “Guide.” ACH faculty are individuals who have graduated from the FIT program. The Guide acts as a mentor to facilitate progress and growth during training. FITs and Guides meet regularly to discuss learning issues and to negotiate many aspects of training relative to creating and implementing a learning plan. One of the first tasks of a new FIT is selecting a Guide. This is a mutual selection process with guidance provided by the FIT co-directors. To learn more, click here.

Occasionally, trainees discover that other demands or a change in professional interests require that they suspend or stop training. In the event of a leave of absence or withdrawal from the program, you must notify the program co-directors immediately and they will provide you with the appropriate formal agreement to sign

Once you have graduated from the FIT Program and have become an ACH faculty member, opportunities for continued involvement include facilitating a workshop or learning group at the annual Winter Course or ENRICH course, acting as a Guide for a FIT, or delivering on-site workshops to healthcare organizations and hospital systems on behalf of the Academy.  

Use our FIT contact form to get in touch with us.