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Curriculum Committee News                                             April 2018
University of South Alabama College of Medicine

LCME Accreditation Update: 'Striving for Continuous Quality Improvement'

Medical education programs leading to a medical degree in the United States and Canada are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). LCME accreditation is a peer-reviewed process of quality assurance that determines whether the medical education program meets established standards.

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.

Every allopathic medical school in the United States undergoes accreditation on an 8-year cycle. LCME’s next full survey at the USA College of Medicine will take place October 21-24, 2018.

Dr. Susan LeDoux, Associate Dean of Medical Education and Student Affairs, said significant effort has been expended during the past 10 months in preparation for the accreditation site visit and continues today.


To maintain accreditation, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine must meet the LCME’s 12 accreditation standards, each with an accompanying set of elements.
  • Standard 1: Mission, Planning, Organization and Integrity
  • Standard 2: Leadership and Administration
  • Standard 3: Academic and Learning Environments
  • Standard 4: Faculty Preparation, Productivity, Participation and Policies
  • Standard 5: Educational Resources and Infrastructure
  • Standard 6: Competencies, Curricular Objectives and Curricular Design
  • Standard 7: Curricular Content
  • Standard 8: Curricular Management, Evaluation and Enhancement
  • Standard 9: Teaching, Supervision, Assessment and Student and Patient Safety
  • Standard 10: Medical Student Selection, Assignment and Progress
  • Standard 11: Medical Student Academic Support, Career Advising and Educational Records
  • Standard 12: Medical Student Health Services, Personal Counseling and Financial Aid Services
The elements of a standard specify the components that collectively constitute the standard; they are statements that identify the variables that need to be examined in evaluating a medical education program’s compliance with the standard. The College of Medicine will be evaluated on performance in 93 supportive elements represented across the 12 standards.


In preparation for the accreditation visit, a self-study is conducted. The purpose of the self-study is to collect and review data about the medical school and its educational program; to identify both institutional strengths and challenges that require attention; and to define strategies to ensure that the strengths are maintained and any problems are addressed effectively.

The information collected is organized into two main documents – the data collection instrument (DCI) and the independent student analysis (ISA). Medical students at the USA College of Medicine completed the ISA this past fall, and the DCI is being completed.

The self-study is directly linked to the 12 overarching standards and 93 elements used in the accreditation process. Compliance with a standard is based on satisfactory performance in the elements associated with the standard. Compliance with each element will be judged to be either satisfactory, satisfactory with monitoring, or unsatisfactory.

A self-study task force – formed to analyze the information collected – consists of five subcommittees, each made up of USA College of Medicine faculty, residents and medical students.


From January through March, the task force subcommittees reviewed the relevant accreditation standards and elements, information from the DCI, the data from the medical students’ survey and the ISA report.

Earlier this month, the task force reviewed the subcommittee reports. Currently, the group is updating the data to address areas that were not clear and developing action plans to cover any gaps.

The task force will synthesize the individual subcommittee reports into a final self-study summary report that includes a statement of institutional strengths and issues that require attention to ensure ongoing or future satisfactory performance in the accreditation elements and to improve programmatic quality.
Dr. LeDoux said the College is on track to have all data, including a 35-page executive summary, to the LCME by the end of July. The LCME will review the data upfront, but there also will be an opportunity at the site visit to give the LCME extra documentation that might not have been in the data or that might not have been clear to them.

Moving Forward

“This process has been a significant amount of work; it took a tremendous amount of time to put the information together for the DCI, and the individuals on the subcommittees and the self-study task force have committed a large portion of their time ensuring that we meet LCME’s standards,” Dr. LeDoux said.

During the past five years, the USA College of Medicine has made significant progress in student outcomes. “We listened to what the LCME said in 2010 and redesigned our curriculum,” Dr. LeDoux said. “We’ve had really good outcomes because of that, and we are continually looking to see how we can improve.”

One major initiative is improving the learning environment and wellness of medical students. The USA College of Medicine implemented a wellness initiative last year, designed to promote mentorship and enhance the health and wellbeing of medical students.

“We are always striving for continuous quality improvement,” Dr. LeDoux added. “Although the self-study and site visit only happen every eight years, this is an ongoing process for us. It’s based on the fact that we are continuously working to create a more effective educational program for our students – the future leaders of the medical profession.”
CURRents, published by the USA College of Medicine Division of Medical Education, is designed to inform faculty, residents and students about ongoing developments and events in our undergraduate medical education program. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this newsletter or our UME program, email

CURRents Editor:
Ashley Givens
Division of Medical Education 

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