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March 30, 2022

Leadership Message: Preparing for our April LCME virtual site visit

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A critical piece of the Heersink School of Medicine’s mission is our commitment to educating the next generation of physicians and physician-scientists. One way we hold ourselves to the highest standards for our medical education program is through accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).  

Preparing for LCME re-accreditation is a tremendous effort. Teams across our institution have worked toward the upcoming virtual re-accreditation site visit, taking place April 11-13, for the past two years.   

LCME accreditation is an opportunity for self-reflection, highlighting areas where we’re performing well, and identifying areas where we can grow and improve. Recommendations from previous LCME visits have contributed to exciting new developments for our school, including our Learning Communities program and the planned active learning space in Volker Hall. Similarly, we have already begun implementing short- and long-term plans to address problem areas that were identified as we have prepared for re-accreditation. 

We have navigated challenges throughout this process, to say nothing of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which required faculty, staff, students, and trainees across the school to think quickly and critically about new ways to deliver quality medical education as safely as possible.

I cannot speak about LCME re-accreditation efforts in the school without acknowledging the tremendous work done by our LCME Executive Committee, Self-Study Task Force and Independent Student Analysis leaders.

Our Faculty Accreditation co-leads Gustavo Heudebert, M.D., and Catherine Fuller, Ph.D., along with LCME site visit coordinator Elizabeth Rahn, Ph.D., have worked tirelessly over the past two years to oversee each step of the process. 

Other members of the Executive Committee—Christina Grabowski, Ph.D.; Toni Leeth, MPH; Kevin Leon, M.D.; and Nick Van Wagoner, M.D., Ph.D.—provided invaluable perspective and leadership for this process and empowered members of their respective teams to compile information for our Data Collection Instrument (DCI).

Our Self-Study Task Force, co-chaired by Irfan Asif, M.D., and Lanita Carter, Ph.D., divided and read through the thousands of pages in the DCI to identify our institutional strengths and challenges and to put forth solutions to address those challenges. The Task Force members did an incredible job in their assessment, and I am grateful for the time and insight they each dedicated to developing their report.

And last but certainly not least, leaders on the Independent Student Analysis did an outstanding job managing the entirety of the ISA process.

The LCME is invested in our students’ assessment of our learning environment, educational program, resources, administration and services, and the ISA team was responsible for each step of the truly independent survey—from development and promotion, to analyzing responses and compiling the final report for UAB leaders.

The committee, led by co-chairs Maani Kamal and Colin Quinn, demonstrated incredible leadership and commitment through each step of the process over the last 20 months. I also want to thank the entire student body for the fantastic 94.7 percent participation rate they achieved on the survey.

Final preparations are underway for the virtual site visit. LCME leaders were intentional in selecting faculty, staff, students and residents who best represent our school and will thoughtfully contribute to the discussions during the formal visit. I thank everyone for the time they have put in so far and their continued efforts through the site visit.

Pursuing re-accreditation truly is a collaborative process involving people from across the school—which is fitting since everyone in the Heersink School of Medicine plays an important role in creating our learning environment and our culture.