What is Accreditation?
Through accreditation, the CACMS provides assurance to medical students, graduates, medical professionals, health care institutions, health authorities, regulatory authorities and the public that:
- educational programs culminating in the award of the M.D. degree meet reasonable, generally accepted, and appropriate national standards for educational quality, and
- graduates of such programs have a complete and valid educational experience sufficient to prepare them for the next stage of their training.
As outlined on the CACMS website, accreditation is a voluntary peer evaluation process by which institutions and programs undergo an evaluation of their compliance with accepted standards for educational quality. Regular self-evaluation of the medical school’s performance against national standards enables program administrators, faculty and staff to proactively implement changes to ensure ongoing continuous improvements of the undergraduate medical education program.
There are 12 standards with 96 elements, all of which are evaluated on an eight-year cycle with internal evaluation mid-cycle. The consultation process for reviewing the standards and elements involves various members of the medical education community, including students, faculty and practicing clinicians, in addition to collaboration with the LCME (the American body).
CACMS requires the submission of documentation to assist in determining the college’s compliance with the accreditation requirements several months prior to the visit. For a full site visit, every eight years, the college submits the Data Collection Instrument (DCI), Independent Student Analysis (ISA), and Medical School Self-Study (MSS). Each of these documents provides data related to the accreditation standards and elements from the viewpoint of the faculty and the medical students.
The submitted documents are used by the survey team and — along with the information gathered from on-site conversations with faculty, students and residents — aids in the preparation of a site visit report. The site visit report is reviewed by the CACMS and determines the accreditation outcome.
Accreditation update: What Now?
After our 2017 full site visit, the College of Medicine was again granted accreditation. This status is a result of outstanding work by faculty, students, and staff in the college. We should truly be proud of the work done by the people involved in preparing for and executing the last site visit. It is through dedication, attention to detail and an extraordinary amount of hard work that we were able to achieve this result.
Accreditation is an ongoing process, meaning that even though we have recently completed a successful full site visit, efforts are ongoing for continually improving the undergraduate medical education program. This involves an ongoing Accreditation Committee responsible for discussing changes made to the program via quarterly reports. The Accreditation Committee will also be responsible for identifying and working to resolve any issues that could have a negative impact on accreditation in the college. This quarterly updating and monitoring of continuous improvements will ensure that the college is in an improved position when reporting to the CACMS in the future.
As stated above, our college was granted accreditation following the 2017 visit. However, the CACMS has also requested the submission of follow-up reports for 13 accreditation elements. The first of these was submitted in March 2019, and the second, consisting of status reports for 12 elements is due in December 2019. The accreditation team has been working hard on completing this document and supporting units in implementing the changes needed. We are optimistic that the CACMS will appreciate the changes we have implemented.