UAB Heersink School of Medicine granted full LCME accreditation at the highest level possible

The Heersink School of Medicine has achieved eight years of accreditation — the highest level available for medical schools across the U.S. — by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education after a rigorous two-year process.

stream 6.21.19 UAB SOM BHAM Med Campus DMS Print 5Danielle Powell, M.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, working with a student.The University of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine has achieved the highest level of accreditation available to a medical school in the United States by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education after a rigorous, two-year self-study process that culminated in a virtual visit from the LCME survey team earlier this spring.

In a letter sent to UAB President Ray L. Watts earlier this week, the LCME notified leaders of Heersink’s accreditation status — valid for eight years.  

“Earning full accreditation from the LCME is a tremendous accomplishment that highlights not only excellence in our medical education mission, but the incredible work of faculty, staff and students across the school to go through the reaccreditation process and prepare for our virtual site visit,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., interim senior vice president for Medicine and interim dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine.

“I commend the efforts from these leaders across the school, and particularly the LCME Executive Committee, directed by faculty co-leads Cathy Fuller, Ph.D., and Gustavo Heudebert, M.D., overseeing each step of the process.” 

Accreditation demonstrates that the Heersink School of Medicine has met and is maintaining high standards set by the LCME, the nationally recognized authority for accrediting medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States and Canada.  

“We are thrilled to hear that the LCME has accredited the Heersink School of Medicine for the full eight-year term,” said faculty accreditation co-lead Cathy Fuller, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology.

“This endorsement from the LCME is a testament not only to the work of those directly involved in the LCME process over the past two years, but also to everyone who contributes their time, expertise, passion and support to the medical education mission of the school,” Fuller said. “This result reaffirms our commitment to continuous improvement in the education of the next generation of physicians.”

The rigorous process toward reaccreditation began in 2020 with the gathering of information for the school’s Data Collection Instrument, a database that was divided and read by members of the Self-Study Task Force. The task force was charged to highlight institutional strengths, identify challenges and put forth solutions to address those challenges.

Student leaders also conducted the Independent Student Analysis, a fully student-led assessment of the medical school’s learning environment, educational program, resources, administration and services.

The process concluded with a virtual site visit from an LCME review team April 11-13, 2022.

“Maintaining our full LCME accreditation is a testament the work teams across the school put into the process,” said Craig Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean for Medical Education. “We took a long look at our institution and began making changes in areas where we felt we could grow to address our challenges, which is the whole point of the accreditation process.”

“Full accreditation is also a signal to students and faculty that the Heersink School of Medicine provides medical education rivaling schools across the country,” Hoesley said.

Out of the 93 elements that were reviewed during the full process, the school had 10 unsatisfactory findings and two satisfactory areas, in need of monitoring. Full LCME findings, along with progress notes on our work and improvements thus far, are published on the school website at

UAB President, Ray L. Watts, M.D. — who served as senior vice president of Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine from 2010-2013 — maintains an active leadership role guiding the Heersink School of Medicine with Agarwal.  

“I am proud to recognize Dr. Agarwal and the talented and dedicated team at the Heersink School of Medicine — current and past — on this important milestone,” Watts said. “While reaccreditation is not a surprise given the unprecedented positive momentum across our mission, this is a significant validation of the excellence and world-class medical education for which the school of medicine is known.”

School leaders will submit a status report to LCME leadership in 2024 to provide updates regarding the areas of concern. The next full survey for reaccreditation for the School of Medicine will take place in the 2029-2030 academic year.