The American College of Surgeons launched the Accredited Education Institutes (ACS-AEIs) in 2005 to create a network of simulation centers to offer the highest-quality surgical education and training and to pursue cutting-edge scholarship. Specific standards and criteria were developed to accredit simulation centers, and decisions made based on the application, site surveyor visit, and ACS-AEI Accreditation Committee review. In addition to granting accreditation and providing recommendations for improvement, site surveyors and the Accreditation Committee identified best practices defined as areas far exceeding the accreditation standards or novel methods of advancing high-quality, impactful education. Best practices were compiled into a list starting in 2011 for dissemination to all members of the ACS-AEI Consortium through on-line videos, newsletters, and workshops at the Annual ACS Surgical Simulation Summit. Using thematic analysis, the authors classified common themes from the 337 best practices identified during 247 accreditation reviews between June 2011 and June 2019. As best practices were extracted, the authors compiled them into a single database. Eight overarching themes were identified, including approaches to faculty development, scholarly activity, development of curricula, use of resources, delivery of educational content, assessment of learners, and collaboration between centers. The authors discuss themes in the context of their practical relevance and highlight strategies used at different centers, with an emphasis on the importance of each theme in developing a successful simulation program.
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