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Geisel receives an eight-year accreditation from the LCME

In November, the Geisel School of Medicine was granted an eight-year term of accreditation from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), the longest term a medical school can receive.

The LCME is the sole accrediting agency for allopathic medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. Accreditation demonstrates that a school's education program has met strict national standards.

"We're very excited to receive the full eight-year accreditation, which speaks to the current strength of Geisel's medical education program," says Geisel Dean Chip Souba.

Rand Swenson, LCME coordinator for Geisel and a professor of anatomy, directed a leadership committee of faculty, staff, and students that oversaw a long self-study process. The LCME requires schools to meet numerous standards in five areas: finances and organization, the educational program, student life, faculty, and educational resources (classrooms, clinics, clerkship settings). Swenson's group formed subcommittees to examine those areas.

"Rand provided the overall coordination of the LCME self-study process in a very logical and thoughtful fashion," says Richard Simons, senior associate dean for medical education. "Most impressive, he actually initiated efforts during the self-study to assist the institution in attaining compliance in many areas."

The final report included a 1,646-page report from Swenson's group, a 150-page report and survey written and designed entirely by current Geisel students, and a standardized questionnaire filled out by graduating Geisel students. The LCME used these reports and surveys as a basis to form questions for the intensive four-day site visit to Geisel in March of 2013.

When Swenson finally heard that Geisel received an eight-year accreditation, he was "extremely pleased. I think this was the best outcome that we could have anticipated."

In a letter to Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon, the LCME praised Geisel's plans for curriculum reform, its financial aid program, and its commitment to reducing student debt burden. The LCME also noted a few areas where Geisel needed improvement to meet national standards, including increasing interprofessional, cross-disciplinary educational programs, increasing the diversity of faculty and staff, and improving and monitoring the comparability of clinical training sites. There are several additional areas in which they acknowledge progress but will require regular reporting over the next several years.

These didn't come as a surprise, says Swenson. "These are things that we already have started working on and hopefully we'll be able to write an excellent [follow-up] report next December."


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