Overview of the Process

General steps in the accreditation process

Preparing for the Accreditation

The site visit date is set approximately 18 months prior to the visit. A faculty accreditation lead nominated by the dean oversees all accreditation activities. Faculty members, staff, and student leadership should meet with the faculty accreditation lead at the beginning of the process to discuss how best to organize their efforts to collect information and participate in the accreditation review.

Data Collection

The Data Collection Instrument (DCI) includes requests for information for each element of the 12 accreditation standards. While the self-study should consistently focus on data from a specific period of time (i.e., the most recently completed academic year), the DCI should have been completed with all requested historical data. The final report includes data from the ISA and from the AFMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire (AFMC GQ), a survey completed by graduating medical students.

Medical school self-study

The medical school self-study (MSS) is a detailed self-evaluation of the medical school using accreditation elements as the focus; it typically takes a year or more to complete. The self-study is managed by a steering committee, with subcommittees formed to review and analyze data for each of the 12 accreditation standards. The MSS committees should be broadly representative of the constituencies of the medical school. It should, therefore, include some combination of the following: medical school senior and administrative leaders (academic, fiscal, managerial), department chairs and heads of sections, junior and senior faculty members, medical students, medical school graduates, faculty members and/or administrators of the general university, representatives of clinical affiliates, and trustees (regents) of the medical school/university. Additionally, the MSS task force could include graduate students in the basic biomedical sciences, residents involved in medical student education, and community physicians.

Completion of an Independent Student Analysis

At the same time that the school initiates its self-study process, the student leadership begins the process of launching the student survey. The survey is administered to all enrolled students in order to develop a comprehensive picture of students’ perceptions of their medical school. The survey covers Student-Faculty Administrative Relationships; Learning Environment; Facilities; Library and Information Technology Resources; Student Services; Medical Education Program; and Opportunities for Research and other Scholarly Activities and Service-Learning. A well-conducted student survey, with a high response rate and a thoughtful analysis of the data, provide important information for the deliberations of the site visit team.

Site Visit

The CACMS Secretariat will appoint a site visit team consisting of five to six members coming from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., deans, associate deans of curriculum and student affairs, medical educators, experts in faculty affairs) and include, wherever possible, a medical student. Site visit team members review the completed DCI, the final MSS report, and the ISA report, and develop a preliminary assessment of the program before arriving at the school for the site visit.

Site Visit Report

The team secretary collates written findings from each team member into a visit report that describes the program of education and accounts for the school's compliance with each of the standards of accreditation as contained in the CACMS Standards and Elements. The preparation, review, and processing of visit reports, and the information considered for accreditation determinations are given in the CACMS Rules of Procedure.

Decisions and actions

The CACMS reviews the site visit report, renders decisions on the medical education program’s compliance with accreditation standards and elements, determines the program accreditation status, and the required follow-up activities

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