Medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the United States and Canada are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The LCME's scope is limited to complete and independent medical education programs whose students are geographically located in the United States or Canada for their education and that are operated by universities or medical schools chartered in the United States or Canada.
LCME accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process of quality assurance that determines whether the program meets established standards. This process also fosters institutional and program improvement. To achieve and maintain accreditation, a medical education program leading to the MD degree in the U.S. and Canada must meet the LCME accreditation standards contained in the document Functions and Structure of a Medical School. Programs are required to demonstrate that their graduates exhibit general professional competencies that are appropriate for entry to the next stage of their training and that serve as the foundation for lifelong learning and proficient medical care. While recognizing the existence and appropriateness of diverse institutional missions and educational objectives, the LCME subscribes to the proposition that local circumstances do not justify accreditation of a substandard program of medical education leading to the MD degree.
Accreditation by the LCME establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the Public Health Service. Most state boards of licensure require that U.S. medical schools be accredited by the LCME, as a condition for licensure of their graduates. Eligibility of U.S. students to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) requires LCME accreditation of their school. Graduates of LCME-accredited schools are eligible for residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The LCME is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an accrediting agency for medical education programs leading to the MD degree. For simplicity, the LCME website contains references to “schools” instead of “medical education programs leading to the MD degree.” Though references on the LCME website to “schools” are synonymous with “medical education programs,” the distinction between programmatic accreditation vs. institutional accreditation is an important one.
In summary, the LCME accredits educational programs (i.e., leading to the MD degree) and regional accrediting agencies in the U.S. (e.g., the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accredit their sponsoring institutions (e.g., universities).
The LCME is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA). The AAMC and the AMA each appoint an LCME Co-Secretary (known jointly as the Secretariat) and maintain accreditation offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, respectively. For more information on who to contact, please visit the Contact page.
Canadian medical education programs leading to the MD degree are accredited through a partnership between the LCME and the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). For more than 50 years they have shared the same accreditation standards and most of the same procedures. The LCME and the CACMS reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to the accreditation of medical education programs in the U.S. and Canada with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on December 12, 2013.
The LCME is recognized as the reliable accreditation authority for MD programs by the nation's medical schools and their parent universities. It also is recognized for this purpose by the Congress in various health-related laws, and by state, provincial (Canada), and territorial medical licensing boards. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the LCME for accreditation of programs of medical education leading to the MD degree in the United States in institutions that are themselves accredited by regional accrediting associations. Institutional accreditation assures that medical education takes place in a sufficiently rich environment to foster broad academic purposes.
The LCME will disclose to the public only the accreditation status of the school. Following action by the LCME, a letter of accreditation transmitting the accreditation decision and a copy of the survey report are sent by the LCME Secretary to the president of the university (or the equivalent chief executive of the academic institution), with a copy to the dean of the medical school. The survey report and the letter transmitting the accreditation decision will be held confidential by the LCME. The final report may be disclosed by the medical school at its discretion.
The LCME holds meetings three times a year, usually in October, February, and June, and may convene as needed to address with special issues.
2014-2015 Academic Year
October 7-9, 2014
2015-2016 Academic Year
October 13-15, 2015
The members of the LCME are medical educators and administrators, practicing physicians, public members, and medical students. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA) each appoint six professional members. The AAMC and AMA each appoint one student member. The LCME itself appoints two public members, and a member is appointed to represent the CACMS.
The LCME is represented by ad hoc teams of evaluators who conduct on-site surveys of medical schools. Survey team members are a mix of basic science and clinical educators and practitioners. Members of the LCME and surveyors conducting field evaluations serve as voluntary, peer evaluators. The activities of the LCME are administered by two Secretariats, at AMA headquarters in Chicago, IL, and at the offices of the AAMC in Washington, DC. Members of the LCME and its survey teams, excluding full and part-time staff, serve the LCME without compensation.
Each year, the LCME reviews annual survey data and written reports on all of the accredited U.S. and Canadian medical schools, and conducts site visits to 20-30 institutions.
Patricia Butler, MD
Oscar Casiro, MD, FRCPC
Professional Member (2015-2016)
Joseph L. Fink III, BSPharm, JD
Terence R. Flotte, MD
Linda F. Golodner
Roger Hadley, MD
David R. Lambert, MD
Janet Lindemann, MD, MBA
Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD
Charles P. Mouton, MD, MS
Marsha D. Rappley, MD
Paul B. Roth, MD
Barbara A. Schindler, MD
Vice Dean, Educational and Academic Affairs
LuAnn Wilkerson, EdD
LouAnn Woodward, MD