Meet the CoM's accreditation whisperer

Kevin Siebert is the 'man behind the curtain' when it comes to managing UGME accreditation

By Marg Sheridan

At first glance it may seem like the most unlikely of duos, but when it comes to managing the accreditation process, between Dr. Athena McConnell and Kevin Siebert, the College of Medicine undergraduate medical education (UGME) program is in good hands.

Siebert, who joined the College of Medicine in late 2014, is the Accreditation Specialist. His first job in the role was to prepare for the 2015 limited site visit and provide support for the Assistant Dean Quality, McConnell.

“Whatever Dr. McConnell wants, I do as quickly as possible,” Siebert joked.

“With the program growing from 55 students in 2000 to 100 in 2012,” Siebert said, regarding UGME accreditation. “Increasing the number of residents, expanding curriculum at the Regina campus, and furthering distributed medical education, all this complexity got added (to accreditation).”

And now, with the 2015 visit successfully behind us, Siebert has turned the bulk of his focus on preparations for the full accreditation visit scheduled for fall 2017, but this time is a little different because the accreditation standards have changed.

“The other thing is that these standards from the accrediting body have been ‘repatriated,’” Siebert continued. “Previously, there was one set of standards spanning American and Canadian medical schools. While this system was sound, the drawback was it didn’t always take into consideration some of the nuances of the Canadian health care system.”

The Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) has rolled out its own set of standards; most involved organizational changes, although a few speak directly to the Canadian context. So far only the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine and University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine have been assessed under these new standards. Next to be reviewed are the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine in February 2017 and then our UGME program (October 29 – November 2, 2017).

New standards mean work, time and dedication, not just from Siebert and Dr. McConnell, but from a team of six accreditation subcommittees that are working closely with the pair to review the data needed for the accreditors. Medical students are also key participants, with representation on all accreditation subcommittees as well as on the Student Accreditation Task Force.

Siebert has previous experience with accreditation as a chief operating officer at a cardiovascular risk assessment clinic in Calgary, and prior to that as an administrator at a long-term care home in Regina, both roles that he draws important experience from.

“A personal challenge coming to the College of Medicine was understanding the academic environment, as I came from a more corporate exposure,” Siebert explained.

“It’s very unique and very interesting.”