The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) on March 1, 2022 affirmed the full accreditation status of the OHSU School of Medicine undergraduate medical education (M.D.) program, shifting the status from “full accreditation with an indeterminate term” to “full accreditation” upon the program demonstrating that areas in need of improvement identified during the January 2020 site visit are being addressed. The next site visit is scheduled for 2027-28.
A two-year process
Following a January 2020 site visit, the LCME found that the M.D. program's performance was satisfactory in 76 elements, including the high caliber of the faculty, the experience of the program's educational leaders and the innovations made to the curriculum. The LCME also pinpointed 17 elements requiring improvement ranging from academic and career advising to a lack of diversity among the faculty, a need for students to have private study space and higher than average reports by students about mistreatment on the questionnaire that students complete upon graduation, among others.
M.D. program leaders, staff and faculty, in concert with students, dove in to make improvements, reporting their efforts in a voluminous document to the LCME in November 2021. LCME issued its accreditation decision March 1, which included:
- Eight of nine “unsatisfactory” areas from 2020 are now either “satisfactory with a need for monitoring” or “satisfactory.”
- The one continued area rated “unsatisfactory” is career advising, which the program is actively addressing.
- Of eight areas rated “satisfactory with need for monitoring” in 2020, three are now “satisfactory” and the others are “satisfactory with a need for monitoring” as newer initiatives mature.
“This is a moment to recognize the extraordinarily hard work of M.D. program leaders, faculty, staff and students – led by Associate Dean Dr. Tracy Bumsted - first to prepare for the site visit in 2020 and then to respond to the findings of the LCME,” said David Jacoby, M.D., interim dean of the OHSU School of Medicine. “This process has showcased the best aspects of our medical school and led to remarkable new initiatives and helped galvanize the whole institution, all of which are making an outstanding M.D. program - and the entire School of Medicine and OHSU - even stronger.”
Examples of improvements
- Completely remaking the career, academic, and wellness advising system for students, launching the multi-faceted OASIS program with a comprehensive framework that includes a strong wellness component to support the success of every student.
- Raising awareness and providing education and training, especially with faculty and residents, regarding student concerns about mistreatment, deepening accountability for respectful treatment in both clinical and classroom settings and streamlining the reporting process for students.
- Creating a comprehensive School of Medicine Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Strategic Action Plan that is a roadmap not only to diversify the faculty but also continuing to diversify and support students and improve the climate of inclusion, respect and safety that will serve wellness so that all students can thrive at OHSU. One initiative launching now is Stepping In training that uses real-life scenarios involving disrespect in academic settings to raise awareness of bias, set expectations for promptly addressing it and teach effective strategies for doing so.
- Opening newly constructed, private study space for medical students in the Robertson Life Sciences Building, an effort launched as the LCME process was beginning, but that was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Adding more ways for students to give feedback on their courses and clinical experiences in the transformed yourMD curriculum and for reporting back to them the ways that their feedback was used.
Mollie Marr, who has earned her Ph.D. and will complete her M.D. in 2023, co-chaired the student committee that developed the original independent student analysis for the LCME site visit in 2020. She described the process as “highly valuable.”
"Dr. Bumsted encouraged us to approach it with a quality improvement mindset and identify areas for growth. She was incredibly supportive of our efforts throughout the process," Dr. Marr said. “I’ve seen remarkable changes, and I’ve appreciated seeing student feedback reflected in the ongoing changes within the school.”
Richelle Malott, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and thread director and chair of the Foundations of Medicine Sub-Committee for the M.D. program, felt equally encouraged.
“In addition to launching some new approaches, our self-study and subsequent formal inspection helped us focus and commit to timelines on initiatives that we already had in progress,” Dr. Malott said. “We are contemplating what we learned, and we continue to improve our already-excellent program. I have no question that we will be an even better school by the time we have our next inspection.”
Dr. Bumsted underscored the value of the process.
“The level of focus, energy and creativity that our faculty, staff and our students have brought to this effort over nearly four years is remarkable, especially given that we had to devise and implement new initiatives amid the anxiety and disruption of a global pandemic,” she said. “I am grateful for everyone’s work and proud of our results, even as our spirit of continuous improvement and adaptation must remain our north star to train the doctors needed in Oregon and beyond.”