I’ve been in Chicago since Tuesday at one of the thrice-yearly meetings of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national accrediting body for U.S. and Canadian medical schools. By the way, we now have 151 medical schools in the U.S., while Canada has 17. Since our population is about ten times that of Canada, the number of medical schools in the two countries is roughly proportional.
As a member of the LCME, I am joined by almost two dozen other deans, educators, faculty, and students who constitute the committee that adjudicates the accreditation status of the 168 schools. At this meeting, as is typical, we reviewed about two dozen action plans, status reports, and survey team reports. It is hard work, but the group is extremely collegial and effective.
We often tend to spend more time discussing the specifics of a given medical school and less on the broader philosophical issues—like how to best gauge the effectiveness of a school’s overall educational program in achieving that school’s programmatic goals. Sure, we can use comparative data like national exam pass rates to assess knowledge content and application. But how do we best assess whether a school is producing compassionate and caring doctors, or doctors who communicate well?
To its credit, the LCME does discuss and wrestle with these broader issues, but we haven’t come up with any really good answers, in my opinion—at least not yet. If you have any ideas, let me know and I’ll be glad to pass the thoughts on.
Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences