Miller School Leadership, Faculty and Students Prepare for High-Stakes Accreditation Visit

A year and a half of hard work and significant changes to prepare the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for reaccreditation culminates in a visit by the national Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in early February.

The team of site visitors — leaders from the University of South Carolina, the University of Virginia, and other medical schools — will have already reviewed data from a 380-page report from the Miller School, an independent analysis based on a survey of current students, and other AAMC school reports when they arrive on February 5.

“The visit will involve multiple interactions with groups of faculty, some senior including department chairs, and some more junior, administrators, students and residents, all of whom will engage in a dialogue relating to the educational programs at the school,” said Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., interim Dean of the Miller School. Three executives from other medical schools conducted a mock site visit in December, and based on their feedback and the Miller School’s extensive self-study, a few areas for improvement have been identified.

“The most significant issue in our view is what is called ‘sufficiency of faculty,’” Gardner said. “That is, does the school have sufficient faculty and deploy them to meet the educational requirements of the curriculum?” The answer is overwhelmingly positive, Gardner said, but the school’s self-study and the interaction with the mock site visit team showed there were still some challenges in freeing up faculty who want to teach from simultaneous clinical obligations.

“What we’ve done as a consequence of that is to institute with the University of Miami Health System a new policy that will set up a teaching schedule well in advance of when faculty are scheduled to teach,” he said. “So for someone who is actively teaching for a six-week period and may need two hours less clinical activity three times a week for those six weeks, that will all be arranged in advance — the same way a vacation would be scheduled.”

Another area the mock site visitors commented on was the importance of tracking the institution’s progress on its strategic plans for education, research and the clinical enterprise. “We have developed a process charging each executive dean — clinical, research and education — with identifying the progress or lack thereof of each element of the strategic plan and making it available to the Miller School community,” Gardner said.

The third major innovation is the addition of a centralized office for continuous quality improvement. “While many of the education offices have been doing ongoing quality improvement through ongoing review of our various metrics and outcomes, we didn’t have a centralized office to review that overall,” said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education. “So an office of academic accreditation has been created to monitor standards and to make sure we are incorporating national changes in the standards.”

The office, under the direction of Michael A. Kolber, M.D., Ph.D., who is also the LCME faculty accreditation lead, will look at both undergraduate and graduate medical education.
Medical schools must apply for reaccreditation every eight years. About 170 faculty, staff and students were involved in the Miller School’s self-study process, guided by the standards established by the LCME in its document “Functions and Structure of a Medical School.”

Here are the members of the team for the February 5-8 site visit:

Team Chair: Jerry R. Youkey, M.D., Founding Dean and Executive Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville

Team Secretary: Randolph J. Canterbury, M.D., M.S., Senior Associate Dean for Education, University of Virginia School of Medicine

Team Members: Debra L. Klamen, M.D., M.H.P.E., Senior Associate Dean, Education and Curriculum, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and Georgette A. Dent, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Faculty Fellow: Marc J. Kahn, M.D., M.B.A., FACP, Senior Associate Dean, Tulane University School of Medicine and A.B. Freeman School of Business

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