TCMC earns full accreditation

First Posted: 7/15/2014

The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) was notified on July 7, that it has been awarded full accreditation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME). At the same time, TCMC has learned from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that that commission has granted the College full accreditation as well.

The LCME is the council that accredits educational programs leading to the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in the United States and Canada. It was founded jointly by the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1942.Though it is a non-governmental entity, the LCME is recognized as the reliable accreditation authority by the US Department of Education, by Congress in health-related laws, and by state and territorial medical licensing boards.

Middle States is a non-governmental membership association that accredits institutions of higher education in the mid-Atlantic portion of the country, and dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through peer evaluation. Accreditation by Middle States is required if students at a college or university are to be eligible for federally-guaranteed loans.

“We are very proud to celebrate both of these milestones,” said Steven J. Scheinman, MD, President and Dean of TCMC. “This is an acknowledgment that the faith that this entire region has had in our College was justified. Many people and organizations deserve credit for the College’s success.

“These certainly include our faculty and staff, who worked hard on our curriculum and programs to support the students; the founders who had the initial vision and funded critical scholarships for our students; Blue Cross and our financial institutions who helped us sustain through hard times; and our students who took a chance on us. Critical to our success are our over 1,000 volunteer faculty and our 24 partner hospitals who make all of our students feel welcome and train them superbly. The accreditors recognized that this college was a unique and special place with extraordinary regional commitment,” he said.

LCME accreditation for new medical schools involves an intensive, peer-review process that determines whether an MD program meets established standards. The Middle States process is similarly intensive, focusing on the institution as a whole. Both processes foster institutional and program improvement.

Earning full accreditation by the LCME involved significant efforts over several years, beginning in 2009. Middle States’ accreditation also began in 2009 with the designation of TCMC as a “candidate” college. Both agencies required a detailed self-study, and both made week-long site visits earlier this year, LCME in February and Middle States in April.

“At the site visits the reviewers examined all aspects of the College’s programs and functions. LCME focused intensely on our curriculum, student services, outcomes, and support structures; Middle States paid particular attention to our governance, faculty, research, facilities, and finances,” Scheinman said. “They wanted to see first-hand that we are providing our students with the best education possible.”

Both accrediting agencies praised TCMC’s innovative curriculum. For example, LCME listed as a strength that “The curriculum is structured to provide longitudinal patient care experiences that emphasize continuity of care, the psychosocial environment in which care is provided, and interactions with patients and their families. These experiences occur in primary care settings and span the full curriculum.”

Both accrediting agencies concluded that the College’s finances are sustainable.

The news comes less than two months after TCMC graduated its second class of 66 students to receive the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and fifth class of 55 students to receive a Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degree.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate Dr. Scheinman for his leadership and wisdom over the past two years, and we thank the faculty and staff for their hard work and professionalism during both review processes,” said Louis DeNaples, chair of the TCMC Board of Trustees. “I am very proud to see all that TCMC has accomplished to improve health care for the people of our 16-county region in its short history.”

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