The authors describe a seven-step consensus development process used to create the two most recent editions of the Academic Pediatric Association's (APA's) educational guidelines for pediatric residency. The 1996 (printed) and 2004 (online) editions of the guidelines were designed as flexible tools to help residency programs meet changing accreditation requirements by providing lists of goals and objectives and objective-based evaluation tools. The guidelines were developed in seven steps: (1) centralized national leadership combined with coordinated, disseminated authorship, (2) clear definition of targeted users and repeated assessment of their needs, (3) incorporation of up-to-date information from the literature and national experts, (4) responsive consultation with the national Pediatric Residency Review Committee on the latest accreditation requirements, (5) wide distribution for prepublication review, to obtain broad organizational buy-in and end-user acceptance, (6) intensive dissemination and faculty development through multiple national workshops over several years, and (7) careful evaluation of utilization and user feedback. Representatives of all major organizations involved in pediatric education helped to refine the guidelines. User surveys conducted for the 1996 edition, and Web site user data collected for the 2004 edition, demonstrate that both editions have been used by most residency programs throughout the country. The authors believe that the multifaceted approach to consensus development and the customizable design of the curricular tools in the APA's guidelines are directly associated with their broad national use. These methods may help to guide educators in other disciplines who are interested in developing and implementing educational products for national dissemination and use.
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