AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, the state’s public medical school, has received full eight-year accreditation from the accrediting body for the nation’s medical schools.
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the World Federation for Medical Education as the accrediting body for doctor of medicine granting schools in the United States and Canada. MCG’s latest accreditation follows a two-year self-study and a site visit by a six-member LCME evaluation team Jan. 24-27, 2016. The next full-site visit is scheduled for the 2023-24 academic year.
“We simply could not be more proud of the amazing individuals and tremendous teams who are MCG at AU,” said Augusta University President Brooks Keel.
The LCME found the medical school, which includes five campuses throughout Georgia, in compliance with the vast majority of its dozen accreditation standards including standards governing leadership and administration; academic and learning environments; educational resources and infrastructure; curricular content; and faculty preparation, productivity, participation and policies. The school also was found in compliance with a number of standards where changes in the policies or approaches MCG is taking, while in compliance, were sufficiently recent that the LCME is requesting follow up reports on success of implementation. These are in areas of mission, planning organization and integrity; medical student academic support and career advising; and medical student health services, counseling, and financial aid services.
“This extensive period of introspection followed by a rigorous external review by the LCME truly reflects the strength and the caliber of the people and the place educating the next generation of physicians for our state and nation,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG dean.
“This essential review process firmly illustrates that one of the nation’s first medical schools remains solid at its core and well-positioned to continue to make exceptional progress in its tripartite mission of education, biomedical discovery and providing health care to our citizens,” Buckley said.
“This was truly a tremendous effort by all of our faculty, our staff, our students and our administration and an incredibly good outcome,” said Dr. Paul M. Wallach, MCG vice dean for academic affairs who chaired the LCME Steering Committee and led the entire LCME process. “MCG has a clean bill of health.”
The school was surveyed under new LCME standards that include a continuous quality improvement process, which is in line with the process that MCG adopted 3 years ago in preparation for the LCME visit and before the new CQI standard was introduced. This is now an ongoing part of MCG’s standard operating procedures led by Dr. Andria Thomas, associate dean for evaluation, accreditation, and CQI, who contributed significantly to the preparation for and implementation of the successful site visit, Wallach said.
MCG will provide a status report to the LCME by Aug. 15, 2017, on the matters identified as satisfactory with a need for monitoring or unsatisfactory. “We view this ongoing process as one that will further strengthen an already excellent school, and an opportunity to make MCG even better,” Wallach said.
The school’s many strengths definitely shone through the survey, Buckley added. “While the availability of student-learning space was a concern in the 2008 LCME survey, the J. Harold Harrison, MD, Education Commons, which opened to our students in Augusta in January 2015, and the outstanding facilities at each campus across the state were very evident to our reviewers,” he said. “Also evident was the support of the University System of Georgia and our alumni.
“There’s no doubt that these excellent survey results are a true testimony to many, perhaps none more than our dedicated faculty and staff as well as our many partners in Augusta and across Georgia who help educate our 920 medical students,” the dean said.
Steering Committee members for the extensive review process included Dr. Kelli Braun, MCG graduate and faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology who was recently named interim associate dean of admissions, and Dr. William Pearson, assistant professor in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, who served as faculty co-leads. Committee members also included Thomas; Dr. Vaughn McCall, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior; Dr. Amyn Rojiani, chairman of the Department of Pathology; Dr. Andy Albritton, senior associate dean for curriculum; Dr. Leslie Petch-Lee, assistant dean for curriculum of AU/UGA Medical Partnership campus in Athens; Jeanette Balotin, chief of staff; Vice Dean Wallach; and Dean Buckley.
Additionally, 85 faculty members from all MCG campuses participated in six self-study committees. Nearly 70 students from all four years of medical school were involved in the Independent Student Analysis that preceded MCG’s self-study to ensure strong student input on the strengths and weaknesses of their medical school.
The LCME is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association.
MCG was established in 1828 and currently has the ninth-largest total enrollment of the nation’s medical schools. The educational experience is anchored at the main campus in Augusta and includes a network of clinical campuses where third- and fourth-year students live and learn alongside physicians and in hospitals and clinics throughout Georgia. MCG also has a second, four-year campus in Athens in partnership with the University of Georgia. MCG has 230 students per class and 30 students pursuing an MD/PhD. One in five Georgia physicians graduated from MCG and/or completed a residency at MCG and its teaching hospitals. More than half of MCG’s graduates remain in the state to practice, and about 95 percent of students admitted to MCG are Georgia residents.