Flood of new medical schools filling accreditation pipeline

While some future medical schools exist only on paper, 12 are in the process of leaping the official hurdle.

By — Posted Jan. 21, 2008

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Officials who accredit medical schools are busier than usual these days. The creation of new campuses and the expansion of existing ones has accreditation agencies hopping as state officials and medical educators seek more physicians to prevent a shortage.

In 2007, seven allopathic medical schools were in various stages of the accreditation process. Five osteopathic schools won provisional accreditation, which allows them to start admitting medical students.

The rush is particularly unusual for the allopathic medical school community, which as had only one new school open in the past 20 years. The osteopathic community has added 10 schools since 1981.

"It's been a very active year for the LCME," said Barbara Barzansky, PhD, American Medical Association secretary to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. "In addition to new schools, there are other modes of expansion, like branch campuses, that require visits as well."

Without a stamp of approval from the LCME for allopathic programs or the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation for osteopathic schools, graduates from new schools cannot take the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, and the schools cannot receive federal grants or participate in federal loan programs. Most state licensing boards will not license U.S. medical graduates from unaccredited schools.

Instead of the typical 15 to 18 site visits -- required to maintain accreditation for the 125 U.S. and 17 Canadian medical schools the LCME oversees -- Dr. Barzansky said LCME representatives made 50 site visits in 2007.

Under the LCME, new schools may win initial, provisional accreditation for a designated first-year class, with full accreditation possible in the year the charter class graduates. The osteopathic schools face a similar accreditation process.

Three allopathic schools in development have what is called applicant status with the LCME, which means that they have paid their application fee and have a current or anticipated charter to offer an educational program. These schools are:

  • The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Pa.
  • Hofstra University School of Medicine, Hempstead, N.Y.
  • Oakland University Beaumont Medical School, Rochester, Mich.

The LCME has approved planning documents for four other developing allopathic schools and given approval for a site visit, which means that these schools are now considered candidates for provisional accreditation. These schools are:

  • Florida International University College of Medicine, Miami.
  • Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, El Paso, Texas.
  • Touro University College of Medicine, Hackensack, N.J.
  • University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando.

Konrad C. Miskowicz-Retz, PhD, the American Osteopathic Assn. secretary for COCA said the organization granted initial provisional accreditation to the following schools, which allows them to admit medical students.

He said four other developing medical schools had applied for COCA accreditation but would not release their names because they have not been formally recognized yet.

Below are the schools that won provisional accreditation in 2007:

  • A.T. Still University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine-Mesa in Mesa, Ariz.
  • Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn.
  • Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Yakima, Wash.
  • Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colo.
  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn