The Florida State University College of Medicine has been granted a maximum eight-year accreditation by the sanctioning body of U.S. medical schools.
With the favorable ruling from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), Florida State becomes the first new medical school of the 21st century to be reaccredited.
“This news was not unexpected based on the remarkable outcomes this medical school has produced since the first class of 30 students arrived in 2001,” said College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty. “The leaders, administrators, faculty and students who helped plan and build this program should be extremely proud, as should all of our friends and supporters.”
LCME accreditation occurs every eight years as part of a nearly two-year process that includes a rigorous self-study by the applying institution and a thorough inspection from the LCME site visit team. Florida State’s site visit took place in early April.
The survey team was made up of representatives from six medical schools and included two deans, a professor of internal medicine, a fourth-year medical student, a vice dean for academic affairs and an associate dean for medical education.
Their report served as the basis for the LCME’s decision regarding Florida State’s compliance with accreditation standards in five areas: institutional setting, educational program for the M.D. degree, medical students, faculty and educational resources. Only LCME-accredited institutions may receive federal grants for medical education and participate in federal loan programs.
In addition, attendance at an LCME-accredited program is required for U.S. allopathic medical students before they can take the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam or enter residency programs approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
“Institutional accreditation assures that medical education takes place in a sufficiently rich environment to foster broad academic purposes,” said Dr. Alma Littles, senior associate dean for medical education and academic affairs at the College of Medicine.
In its letter of accreditation, the LCME cited several areas of strength within the program at Florida State:
· “The College of Medicine is a student-centered, educationally focused organization in which decision making and priority setting are guided by its primary mission to develop exemplary, patient-oriented physicians.”
· “The College of Medicine has a long-standing, well-organized and successful program for pipeline development and recruitment of students of diverse backgrounds.”
· “The community faculty apprenticeship model of clinical education provides students with the opportunity to see large numbers of patients, to be involved in all aspects of their care, and to be closely observed for development of competence in their roles as physicians.”
· “The College of Medicine should be commended for an impressive faculty development program, particularly for the diverse nature of the offerings and the sheer volume of effort expended to support the development of faculty on an ongoing basis.”
· “The retention rate for community faculty is high, creating a stable educational platform for the clinical program.”
Florida State is one of four fully accredited allopathic medical schools in Florida, along with those at the universities of Florida, Miami and South Florida.
Florida State began formal preparations for its LCME site visit in November 2009, conducting an exhaustive self-study involving more than 100 faculty, staff, administrators and students. The study took more than 18 months to complete.
Since first gaining full accreditation status in 2005, the Florida State University College of Medicine has opened new regional campuses in Sarasota, Fort Pierce and Daytona Beach and rural clinical training sites in Marianna and Immokalee; graduated seven classes; and grown from around 170 medical students to a full enrollment of 480. The new regional campuses are in addition to previously opened campuses in Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee.
LCME site-visit committee members indicated they were impressed by how well Florida State administers its community-based program, which sends third- and fourth-year students to cities across the state to receive one-on-one clinical training from experienced physicians. The learning takes place where the vast majority of people receive their health care, giving students the opportunity to directly interact with patients and take part in the types of cases they are most likely to encounter as practicing physicians.
The model is credited with helping Florida State produce a greater percentage of graduates entering primary care residency programs than any other medical school in the state since 2005.
“Our graduation and match statistics, our strong board scores and student performance with our community model, and the impacts we are having across the state have validated that this model is working and working very well,” Fogarty said. “We appreciated having an opportunity to share examples of that success with our LCME site visitors.”
The LCME is a joint committee of the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges.