Accreditation is a process of quality assurance in postsecondary education
that determines whether an institution or program meets established
standards for function, structure, and performance. The accreditation
process also fosters institutional and program improvement. Medical
education programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States
and Canada are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education
(LCME). The LCME's scope is limited to the accreditation of complete
and independent medical education programs where students are geographically
located in the United States or Canada for their education and that
are operated by universities or medical schools that are chartered
in the United States or Canada.
the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (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 Department of
Education recognizes the LCME for the accreditation of programs of medical
education leading to the M.D. degree 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.
of the LCME as the accreditation authority for M.D. programs
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the Liaison Committee
on Medical Education (LCME) for accreditation of programs of medical
education leading to the M.D. degree in the United States. For Canadian
medical education programs, the LCME engages in accreditation in collaboration
with the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS).
The LCME is recognized as the reliable accreditation authority for
M.D. 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.
of LCME Members
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. The LCME holds two-day
meetings three times
a year, usually in October, February, and June, and may convene as needed
to deal with special issues.
of information related to accreditation
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 principal 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.
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