LCME Update: A focus on diversity and student indebtedness

lcmeAugust 29, 2012
In July, Dean Richardson shared information about the results of our accreditation site visit and review by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) of the undergraduate medical education (UME) program.

The results from the LCME are that the UME program continues to be fully accredited. The accreditation also included a “warning” based on six areas of non-compliance (out of a total of 129 standards reviewed by the LCME).  The warning status is provided to a school so that is can make improvements in the identified areas while maintaining full accreditation. The School of Medicine is now developing action plans to respond to those six areas.

Four of these areas relate to curricular issues (e.g., observation of student taking a patient history). The Office of the Dean is already taking steps and enhancing resources as needed, as part of making immediate progress on the action plans.

Two of the areas – diversity and student indebtedness, including financial aid and debt counseling – are more complicated to address. These are longstanding challenges that the School of Medicine has been actively trying to rectify for some time.  Some additional context for each of these areas follows.

  • Diversity: Recognizing that the goals for diversity for individual institutions will vary, the LCME does not mandate a specific diversity definition. Rather, an institution is asked to develop a definition and to identify a strategic plan related to that definition. OHSU adopted a diversity plan several years ago. Now, as part of the action plan, our definition of diversity—which considers diverse characteristics of students such as rural heritage and family adversity, as well as ethnic and racial diversity – will be expanded and clarified. In addition, ways to further enhance faculty and staff diversity are being explored.


  • Student indebtedness: The School of Medicine resident tuition and fees are among the highest of publicly-funded U.S. medical schools. The level of our student indebtedness is also high – too high, as judged both by the School of Medicine’s self-study and the LCME. The action plan for this area of “non-compliance” will detail a number of strategies, including engaging with the state for tuition relief, aggressively seeking new scholarship support for M.D. students, and providing more comprehensive debt management counseling. For greater context on where OHSU falls in terms of others medical schools, here is a link to a recent AAMC survey of tuition and fees at all U.S. medical schools – both private and public.


The School of Medicine met August 13 and 14 with the LCME Secretariat at OHSU to gain greater insight into and guidance for the development of the action plans. The action plans will be submitted to the LCME on Dec. 15, 2012, for review at the February 2013 LCME meeting. Following this, we will submit a detailed narrative report next summer and a limited survey site visit will be scheduled for the School of Medicine for fall 2013. After this fall visit, the LCME will determine the School of Medicine’s accreditation status and, assuming we show appropriate progress, remove the warning status.

“It is important to remember that we remain fully accredited. We now have the opportunity to demonstrate more completely the quality of our educational programs and our commitment to reversing the trend of rising student debt and to more effectively increasing diversity,” said Dean Richardson.

Senior Associate Dean for Education George Mejicano, M.D., M.S., who participated in the recent LCME visit, will oversee the development and implementation of the final action plans, along with Jennifer Boyd, Ph.D., MBA, director, LCME Accreditation.

Posted August 29, 2012