The UNLV School of Medicine received great news last week from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) - the national body responsible for accrediting MD-granting medical schools. Accreditation documents submitted on Dec. 1, 2015 qualified the school for a site visit. We are now one step closer to accepting our first class of students.
All medical schools in the United States and Canada must meet strict standards to be fully accredited institutions. Having accreditation allows the UNLV School of Medicine and our students to apply for federal grants and programs, especially loans and scholarships. We also must be accredited for our students to take the licensing examination required for residency programs.
About the LCME
The LCME is comprised of 19 members, including medical school deans and senior educational leaders of academic medicine. Members are managed and appointed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA). Each organization appoints a senior co-secretary - Barbara Barzansky, Ph.D., MHPE represents AMA; Dan Hunt, M.D., MBA represents the AAMC. Here is where you can find a list of 135 fully accredited medical schools in the U.S. The UNLV School of Medicine accreditation status now has transitioned from "applicant" to "candidate" status.
About the site visit
The LCME will now assign a team to spend three days in Las Vegas surveying our progress. A current medical dean will lead the team, along with Dr. Barzansky and several other members. After the visit, they will submit a report for all LCME members to review in October. If we get approved, we can immediately start accepting students for our charter class, which is expected to begin July 17, 2017.
I've been involved in medical school accreditation for decades and have served on both sides of the LCME site visit process. As a medical school dean, I've led 12 different LCME site visit teams. I often was assigned the financial data and the medical school's organization and relationship with its University or academic partner to review. I led one site visit for a new medical school during the fourth year of its charter class, which is the final stage of accreditation. I was impressed the school's faculty and students could explain perfectly how its school met every single standard. I'm hoping our students and faculty can do the same in 2021 when we reach that stage of our accreditation.
The accreditation process never ends
Even fully accredited schools need to complete a self-study and site visit every five years. I've been through several of these as dean of the Drexel University College of Medicine and at University of Kansas School of Medicine and Medical Center. Accreditation as a new medical school or a fully accredited one takes a lot of work by its entire team. It's important to ensure medicals schools are educating future physicians with the highest standards.
The university also has its own accrediting body. In Nevada, it's the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. We also submitted a detailed application to them, which was accepted in July 2015. They will complete their own site visit in the future.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us to achieve this important stage. It's wonderfully exciting.