The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health recently earned the highest level of accreditation possible for a United States medical degree program.

Following a more than two-year self-study process, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) notified UW-Madison and the School of Medicine and Public Health that it would continue full accreditation of the medical education program for the maximum eight-year term in a recent letter to UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

The LCME is the formal accrediting body for programs leading to medical degrees in the United States and Canada.

“I am deeply grateful to all of our students, faculty, residents and staff who have been, and continue to be, instrumental in our LCME process,” said Elizabeth Petty, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Accreditation follows a rigorous process that embraces ongoing continuous quality improvement as well as an in-depth self-study of all functions of a medical school from admissions policies and practices to research resources and opportunities, Petty said.

The committee’s review of the school included a site visit, which took place in April, and review of a data collection instrument, which is a comprehensive document detailing the school’s ability to meet the 12 accreditation standards set by the LCME.

To meet these requirements, continuous quality improvement efforts to prepare started in 2010, and the school formally launched its self-study in September 2016 to prepare for the site visit, Petty said.

“We were extremely fortunate at our School of Medicine and Public Health to have almost 200 bright, dedicated and highly motivated faculty, staff, residents and students who were willing to serve on multiple committees and participate in survey visits,” she said.

Ellen Wald, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, was deeply involved in the work to meet the LCME requirements as co-chair of a committee focused on how the school could meet three of the 12 LCME accreditation standards.

“Many faculty were engaged, and Dr. Petty and her team were wonderful, and the administrative help was excellent,” Wald said.

The preparation process also promoted reflection regarding the school’s current state and commitment to grow stronger, she said.

“Receiving the news about our accreditation was an exceptional success and brings with it a desire to maintain our current trajectory and continue building on our momentum to make UW the best possible place to study, learn and engage in the community,” Wald said.

There is still work to be done

While the school is continually engaged in self-evaluation and improvement to meet and exceed LCME requirements, its ultimate goal is to become an even better place to work and learn for students, faculty and staff, according to Petty.

Key areas, according to Petty, include:

  • Improving the climate and optimizing the learning environment
  • Enhancing career and wellness opportunities for students and faculty
  • Creating an inclusive, welcoming community that embraces diversity and best equips the next generation of physicians to address health equity issues across the state of Wisconsin and beyond

“I am absolutely thrilled that we were granted full re-accreditation of our school thanks to the efforts of many, but that reflects only one snapshot in time and is not the end of our efforts to improve,” Petty said. “We would love to make our wonderful school even better.”