Medical school reaches two accreditation milestones

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine—WMed—recently reached two more milestones that keep the school on track in its quest to secure full accreditation from two crucial accrediting bodies.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education granted provisional accreditation to the medical school during the committee's June 14-16 meeting. Meanwhile, the Higher Learning Commission granted the school candidate status for accreditation during the commission's June 30-July 1 meeting.

Provisional accreditation from the LCME, the national accrediting body for education programs leading to the Doctor of Medicine, marks a key second step for the medical school as it moves closer to seeking full accreditation status from the committee.

Similarly, candidate status with the HLC is a precursor to receiving full accreditation from the organization, which is one of six regional U.S. accreditors that accredits degree-granting, post-secondary educational institutions. It also means the school can begin the application process with the U.S. Department of Education to participate in federal student financial aid programs.

LCME milestone

Accreditation by the LCME determines whether a medical school's education program meets required standards. The process also fosters improvements in an institution and its programs.

"This next level of accreditation granted by the LCME confirms that the M.D. degree program at WMed meets nationally accepted standards of educational quality," says Dr. Hal B. Jenson, founding dean of the school.

WMed began preparing for program accreditation in 2011 as the medical school was still in the planning stages. In 2012, the LCME granted it preliminary accreditation, which allowed for the continuation of development efforts as well as student recruitment and the acceptance of applications for the school's inaugural Class of 2018 and future classes.

It is anticipated that WMed will gain full accreditation status from the LCME in February 2018 prior to the graduation of the members of the inaugural class.

"Achieving accreditation has been part of our plans since the earliest days of the medical school's development and planning, and this milestone of provisional accreditation is evidence that we are on time, on track and moving forward as planned," says Michele Serbenski, associate dean for planning and performance excellence. "This is important for a new school because it's confirmation and affirmation that we're doing the right things and creating a high-quality medical education program."

Most state licensing boards require that U.S. medical schools granting the M.D. degree be accredited by the LCME as a condition of licensure of the school's graduates. LCME accreditation also is necessary to ensure that U.S. medical school students can take the United States Medical Licensing Examination and that graduates of LCME-accredited schools are eligible for residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

HLC milestone

Now that the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine has been named a candidate for accreditation, the school has proven that it meets the HLC's eligibility requirements and has shown that it is making progress toward meeting all criteria for accreditation.

In addition to being able to apply to participate in federal student financial aid programs, candidacy status means the school is closer to being able to seek initial accreditation from the HLC.

As a newly established medical school, WMed has been working on that goal with HLC since 2011. Its candidacy status will last two to four years, but at the end of this period, HLC will evaluate the medical school for initial accreditation.

Accreditation by the organization assures quality by verifying that institutions like WMed meet threshold standards and are engaged in continuous improvement. The accreditation process is rooted in a system of peer review, and about 1,300 educators from institutions of higher education serve as peer reviewers and conduct accreditation evaluations of other institutions.

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