CDU logo on campus

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) made an important visit to the CDU campus in July that could have a historic impact on the University. The LCME is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) as the reliable authority for the accreditation of medical education programs leading to the MD degree. CDU seeks to launch its own 4-year Medical School Program under the College of Medicine pending accreditation from the LCME. The first class is slated to begin Fall 2023 pending LCME accreditation. 

This program will be in addition to the University’s 4-year Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program that’s currently offered in collaboration with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Accreditation of the proposed new medical program will significantly impact the state of California and beyond through the increase in the number of Black and Latino graduates joining the healthcare workforce. The state of California presented CDU with a $50 million one-time allocation to be used to support the new 4-year medical degree program.

The LCME accreditation is a voluntary, peer-reviewed process of quality assurance that determines whether the medical education program meets established standards. To achieve and maintain accreditation, a medical education program leading to the MD degree in the United States and Canada must meet the LCME accreditation standards. Programs are required to demonstrate that their graduates exhibit general professional competencies that are appropriate for entry to the next stage of their training and that serve as the foundation for lifelong learning and proficient medical care. 

We caught up with the College of Medicine Dean, Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, to discuss the road to accreditation and the LCME’s recent visit.


CDU: What steps were taken to prepare for the visit?

Dr. Prothrow-Stith: We were advanced to Candidate status with the LCME in October 2021, which is when our work to prepare for a survey visit began. Our effort to earn candidate status for preliminary accreditation with the LCME began over 5 years ago and, in February, when we received the dates for the visit, our preparation accelerated. Three months prior to the visit, we were asked to update our application and submit it, which we did for April 19, 2022. The steps to prepare for the survey visit included using the LCME template for a visit to determine who would participate in the actual panels meeting with the surveyors.  We determined this by calling upon faculty and staff who helped to write the various sections of the original applications and began practicing with our consultants and each other.  Actually, we called upon the whole CDU family because every aspect of our university will accommodate and serve a new medical degree program - IT, Financial Aid, Maintenance, Security, Research, Fundraising, Finance - everyone.  We sent out 10 daily LCME digests via email and the Saturday before the visit, we hosted a virtual Cram Jam, reviewing some of the key information.

We made final selections for the 16 panels to meet with the LCME, continued to host practice sessions, and we hosted a dress rehearsal - a mock survey visit - using people who are surveyors for the LCME as surveyors for our mock.  After the mock, we had three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to make any corrections to our document and submit 30 days before the actual survey visit, which we did on Monday June 13, 2022. After that no more updates, corrections or new documents could be submitted, unless, if during the visit the surveyors asked us for documents.

CDU: How do you feel the visit went?

Dr. Prothrow-Stith: One of our themes during the preparations was “leave it all on the field.”  We did that.  I don’t think we could have done any more than we did, and our panels did exactly what they were asked to do.  While we don’t know the outcome, we feel very good about our performance.

CDU: What is the next step in the process? When might we hear back?  

Dr. Prothrow-Stith: By early August we will receive initial recommendations. We do not get the decision until after the LCME meets. The next LCME meeting is in October and after that in February 2023.  We are hopeful that the surveyors can get the materials to the LCME for October, if not it will be February.

CDU: If approved for accreditation, how will the future CDU Medical Program help change the world for the better?

Dr. Prothrow-Stith: This is a significant step towards fulfilling the CDU vision:  Health Equity for all in a world without health disparities. In addition to better serving the community health needs and providing a much-needed economic boost, we will be a national model for medical education serving Black and Brown under-resourced communities.