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LCME Accreditation

lcme process

The Heersink School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the nationally recognized authority for accrediting medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the U.S. and Canada. The LCME is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association.

Accreditation demonstrates that the Heersink School of Medicine has met and is maintaining high standards set by the LCME. Students and graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools are eligible to take USMLE, enter residencies accredited by the ACGME, and graduation from an LCME-accredited medical school is, in most states, a prerequisite for medical licensure.

Heersink School of Medicine awarded full accreditation

Our school underwent a successful accreditation site visit on April 11-13, and the LCME has been awarded a full eight years of accreditation. This is a tremendous milestone, reflective of the countless hours of data collection, self-reflection, and preparation from faculty members, students, and staff across the Heersink School of Medicine. A special thank you to those individuals who participated in and helped lead this important work.

LCME Findings

We received communication from the LCME detailing findings from our accreditation site visit team and outlining our reviewers’ areas of concern. Many of these areas were in line with findings from our Self-Study Task Force, and we have already implemented strategies to fully resolve several issues while we have begun the process of addressing others. 

Satisfactory with Need for Monitoring 

This means the policy, process, resource, or system exists, but efficacy has not been demonstrated. Ongoing monitoring is required to demonstrate that the school is compliant with LCME standards. 

Buildings and equipment

Students will begin using our new Active Learning Center on the second floor of Volker Hall in the 2023 academic year. LCME will monitor student satisfaction with the renovated space. 

Fair and timely assessments

All clerkship grades submitted within six weeks following the end of the clerkship. LCME will monitor that clerkships grades are submitted within the 6-week window following clerkship completion. 


One or more aspects of the policy, process, resource, or system exist, but it is not meeting its intended purpose. Ongoing monitoring is required to demonstrate that the school is compliant with LCME standards. 


LCME reviewers found the school had not used a faculty-approved diversity policy.

A schoolwide diversity policy was approved by the school’s Executive Committee in April 2022. 

Learning environment

Student survey data demonstrated several areas for improvement during preclinical and clinical training.

A new postdoc in the Department of Medical Education is tasked to work with school and campus leaders to analyze learning environment data, create a standardized approach for sharing student feedback, and develop initiatives to address student concerns.

Available study, lounge, and storage space for students

Student survey data demonstrated a lack of satisfaction with available lounge space in the preclinical years and, similarly, high student dissatisfaction with study, lounge, and storage space available at hospitals and clinical sites during clinical training.

We have added student lockers in North Pavilion and are exploring the relocation of relaxation space in Volker Hall. Leaders will monitor student satisfaction for both relaxation space in Volker, along with the relaxation, study, and storage spaces at our clinical sites and regional campuses.

Required clinical experiences (RCEs)

Newly approved tables detailing RCEs were requested and provided to the site visit team during the visit. These tables failed to duplicate LCME documentation that included the required skills to be performed by students, appropriate clinical settings, and the expected level of student responsibility. 

New tables have been created delineating each required component as tracked by the Qualtrics application and visualized with Tableau dashboards. 

Comparability across clinical sites

Student ratings of individual clerkship quality were highly variable across campuses. 

We’re monitoring the effectiveness of a new global clerkship didactic curriculum and completing reviews of internal clerkship evaluation data and responses from the AAMC Graduate Questionnaire. This includes an annual review and comparing three-year aggregate data to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. 

Assessment systems

Student survey data demonstrated concerns about clinical skills instruction in the pre-clinical years and clinical skills assessment in the clerkship curriculum. Additionally, the EPA-based OSCE program for third-year medical students was being piloted at the time of the survey visit; full implementation began in the 2022 academic year.

A clinical skills task force has been created to review clinical skills instruction across our four-year curriculum. Recommendations from this group will be implemented beginning in the 2023 academic year. The effectiveness of the EPA-based OSCE program for third-year medical students will be monitored and reported to the LCME.  

Formative assessments

Student survey data demonstrated concerns about the amount and quality of formative feedback in the pre-clinical and clinical curriculum. 

We have finalized and implemented a new Formative Feedback Policy. We’re working with the Assistant Dean for Preclinical Education to ensure the appropriate amount and quality of formative feedback in preclinical years. A new formative feedback form (formerly known as the midmonth clerkship assessment) began rolling out in October 2022.

Student advancement and appeals

LCME expressed concerns about the school’s Student Academic Standing Committee (SASC) bylaws and procedures and school policy on medical student academic progress. 

We have updated school policy to include an active with deficiency designation (a non-adverse action). A specific recusal policy surrounding conflicts of interest has been included in the SASC bylaws

Career advising

Student survey data from those in their clinical years demonstrated concerns with the adequacy of counseling about elective choices. 

Our Career Success Team is implementing strategies to connect with medical students before and after their third year. Leaders are also reviewing the electives catalog to ensure appropriate availability of electives across our regional campuses. 

Student exposure policies/procedures

Our school policy fails to detail how a student returns from a leave of absence (LOA) if placed on LOA due to Alabama’s law for blood-borne pathogens.

Our school is working to revise policy and obtain appropriate approvals. 

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For more information or questions, contact LCME Site Visit Coordinator Elizabeth Rahn, PhD.

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