The United States Department of Education recognizes the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) as the responsible authority for the accreditation of medical education programs leading to the MD degree. The LCME's scope is limited to the accreditation of complete and independent medical education programs for which 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. Under usual circumstances, medical education programs are reviewed by the LCME every eight years.
A Quick Overview of the Accreditation Process
The major steps in the accreditation process for medical schools with full accreditation survey visits during the 2021-22 academic year are as follows:
- Compilation and submission of a “survey package” comprised of the following:
a. Data Collection Instrument (DCI) – a database that details compliance with the 12 standards and 93 elements
b. Independent Student Analysis (ISA) - a student-driven component of the LCME reaccreditation process that entails a comprehensive survey and analysis by the students
c. Self-Study Summary Report – a report that summarizes institutional strengths, challenges related to performance in elements, and strategies to address the specific identified challenges.
d. AAMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire (GQ) – a survey completed by graduating medical students
- A survey visit, which is an on-site evaluation by a survey team of external peer experts that results in a report of the survey team’s findings for each element.
- The LCME’s review of the survey team’s report.
- The LCME’s final determination of the program’s performance in accreditation elements, its compliance with the 12 accreditation standards, its accreditation status, and any necessary follow-up to address identified problem areas.
The full accreditation review process takes about two years for most medical education programs.