BMC Medical Education Publishes Special Supplement Edition on Accreditation of Health Professions Education

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In 2012, the International Health Professions Accreditation Outcomes Consortium (IHPAOC) was founded to advance our global understanding of health professions education (HPE) accreditation and create a community of practice across the education and training continuum. IHPAOC members from around the world held two summit meetings and conducted a collaborative process to identify priority topics and build a research agenda, resulting in a special supplement publication in BMC Medical Education, titled “Current themes and challenges facing HPE accreditation in the 21st century.” FAIMER Research Scientist Marta van Zanten is a member of IHPAOC and contributed as a co-author on three of these papers.

The first paper, The role of accreditation in 21st century health professions education: report of an International Consensus Group by Jason R. Frank, Sarah Taber, Marta van Zanten, Fedde Scheele, and Danielle Blouin, examines the purpose of accreditation and return on investment, and defines 10 fundamental and recurring elements of accreditation systems commonly found in HPE.

The second paper, A “fit for purpose” framework for medical education accreditation system design by Sarah Taber, Nesibe Akdemir, Lisa Gorman, Marta van Zanten, and Jason R. Frank, describes the various design elements used in accreditation processes across the education and training continuum.

The third paper, Effective accreditation in postgraduate medical education: from process to outcomes and back by Glen Bandiera, Jason Frank, Fedde Scheele, Jolanta Karpinski, and Ingrid Philibert, argues for an emphasis on outcomes-based accreditation systems.

The fourth paper, Evaluation of continuous quality improvement in accreditation for medical education by Nesibe Akdemir, Linda N. Peterson, Craig M. Campbell, and Fedde Scheele, examines the role of continuous quality improvement and develops a core values framework for accreditation.

The last paper, Responsiveness to societal needs in postgraduate medical education: the role of accreditation by Ingrid Philibert and Danielle Blouin, describes four priorities to enhance the societal responsiveness of HPE, and identifies approaches at the system, institution, program, and individual levels using accreditation as a lever for change.

FAIMER Research Scientist Marta van Zanten Authors Two Papers on Accreditation Issues

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FAIMER Research Scientist Marta van Zanten recently authored two papers on accreditation issues. This research advances the FAIMER goals of maintaining accurate, publicly-available data resources that promote an understanding of the world’s health professions education systems and helping to inform Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) policy.

The first paper, written in conjunction with partners at Johns Hopkins, is entitled Describing the evidence-base for accreditation in undergraduate medical education internationally: A scoping review. The authors evaluated over 1,000 abstracts and subsequently read over 200 full text articles for possible inclusion in this scoping review. Of the full text articles reviewed, 36 met the criteria of scholarship on the topic and 85 were classified as non-scholarship. This manuscript summarizes the findings of these articles and provides an analysis of some of the difficulties in conducting research in this domain. These results can be used to guide best practices in accreditation, recommend areas for future research, and inform preparations for ECFMG’s 2023 accreditation requirement.

Paper citation:  Tackett, Sean MD, MPH; Zhang, Christiana MD; Nassery, Najlla MD, MPH; Caufield-Noll, Christine MLIS, AHIP; van Zanten, Marta PhD, Med, Academic Medicine: December 2019 – Volume 94 – Issue 12 – p 1995-2008.

More information can be found here:

A copy of the article can be requested from

The second paper, entitled Using DEQAR data to enhance the World Directory of Medical Schools, compares World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Recognition Program results and related medical school accreditation data with European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) accreditation data.  The purpose of this study was to review accreditation data included in the Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) to help inform planned enhancements to the World Directory of Medical Schools. The search of DEQAR revealed 109 non-expired evaluation or accreditation reports from 91 higher education institutions or programs located in 21 countries that provide undergraduate (basic) medical education. Three accrediting agencies are included in DEQAR and recognized by WFME. These results will help inform planned enhancements to the World Directory of Medical Schools, including addition of accreditation data at the school level beginning in 2020.

Dr. van Zanten recently presented this paper at the Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) Conference and European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) Members’ Dialogue, October 2019, in Madrid, Spain, and it is published on the EQAR website:

Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA) Is Updated to Reflect WFME Recognition

Posted on Categories accreditation, data resources, DORATags

FAIMER’s Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA) is an online resource that provides information on the organizations typically responsible for establishing national standards for medical education and accrediting medical schools in their countries. The directory currently lists accreditation authorities in more than 100 countries, and includes details on duration and levels of accreditation, evaluation standards and processes, and links to specific regulatory agencies. DORA has been recently updated to reflect recognition by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Programme for Recognition of Accreditation Agencies. This recognition by WFME does not imply that all medical schools operating in this country are currently accredited by the agency. Users should refer to the accrediting agency directly for information regarding the accreditation status of specific medical schools.

The WFME recognition program was designed to provide a transparent and rigorous method of ensuring that the accreditation of medical schools is held to a high, internationally accepted standard. Since the program’s inception, seven agencies have successfully undergone the process and been recognized by WFME, and approximately 20 applications from other agencies are currently in progress. For more information on the WFME recognition program, click here.

WFME to Host Symposium on Accreditation on June 14, 2016 in Cancún, Mexico

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The World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) has announced that it will host a symposium titled “Accreditation and the Recognition of Accreditation: Where Are We Now?” in conjunction with the PAFAMS-AMFEM conference Educación Médica en las Américas (Medical Education in the Americas) that will take place June 14-18, 2016, in Cancún, Mexico. The symposium will be held from 10:00 am to 12:45 pm on Tuesday, June 14, and will provide background information on the accreditation of medical education programs and the WFME program for recognition of accrediting agencies. The symposium is recommended for anyone interested in the accreditation of medical education, particularly organizations planning the establishment of an accrediting agency and accrediting agencies considering applying to WFME for recognition.

Additional details and registration information are available on the WFME website.

Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada Interim Accreditation Review Process

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The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) has developed a novel Interim Accreditation Review Process (IRP) that assists schools in maintaining compliance with Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)/Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) accreditation standards and creating a culture of continuous quality improvement. After three years’ experience in implementing the process in six Canadian faculties of medicine, AFMC is now making the resources necessary to conduct an Interim Accreditation Survey publicly available. Checklists for each accreditation standard have been developed and are updated annually to facilitate the understanding what is needed to achieve compliance. The Interim Accreditation Review Process is briefly described on the website and in greater detail in the AFMC Interim Accreditation Guide that is also available on the website. The AFMC Interim Accreditation Guide and the AFMC Accreditation Checklists may be reproduced for the non-commercial purpose of scientific or educational advancement, with citation and author attribution.

New FAIMER Research Supports Value of Accreditation in Medical Education

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Accreditation of medical schools is generally accepted as important, yet little has been published about its impact. FAIMER Research Scientist Marta van Zanten and FAIMER Director of Research and Data Resources Danette McKinley, along with colleagues Irene Durante Montiel (PHIL 2008) and Concepcion V. Pijano, explore the impact of accreditation in Mexico and the Philippines in their recently published paper:

van Zanten M, McKinley D, Durante Montiel I, Pijano CV. Medical education in Mexico and the Philippines: impact on student outcomes. Medical Education. 2012;46(6):568-592.

Findings in the study support the value of accreditation in medical education. The authors specifically examined the performance of a sample of registrants who took at least one of the three United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) components required for Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certification, along with another sample of registrants who took all three components. All registrants were from Mexico and the Philippines. Results of the study show that, although there were differences in performance between the two countries, first attempt pass rates on all components were higher for individuals attending accredited medical schools from both countries. In addition, a higher success rate in obtaining ECFMG Certification was associated with registrants from accredited schools in the Philippines who took all three components.

By 2023, physicians applying for ECFMG Certification will be required to graduate from a medical school that has been accredited through a formal process that uses criteria comparable to those established for U.S. medical schools by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or that uses other globally accepted criteria, such as those put forth by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). For more information on the Medical School Accreditation Requirement for ECFMG Certification, please visit

Marta van Zanten Earns Ph.D. and Examines the Value of Medical School Accreditation

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FAIMER Research Scientist Marta van Zanten graduated in May 2012 from the College of Health Professions and Social Work at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Public Health. The title of her dissertation was “The Association between Medical Education Accreditation and the Examination Performance of Internationally Educated Physicians Seeking Certification in the United States.” Dr. van Zanten investigated the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) first-attempt pass rates of all international medical graduates (IMGs) who took one or more examinations leading to ECFMG Certification from 2006-2010 based on the IMG’s medical school accreditation status. Results showed that overall, IMGs who attended an accredited medical school performed better on examinations compared to their peers from non-accredited schools. Accreditation had the strongest association with USMLE performance for IMGs who attended medical schools located in the Caribbean.

In the second phase of this study, the quality of a select group of accrediting agencies was evaluated according to criteria determined by a panel of experts to be the most salient features of an accreditation system. IMGs who attended medical schools with overall higher quality accreditation systems performed better on two of three USMLE examinations. Specific accreditation criteria were associated with better performance on all three examinations. This study lends some support to the value of accreditation globally by linking these systems to improved student outcomes.

Egypt Finalizes National Accreditation Process

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In May, the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education (NAQAAE) in Egypt granted its first institutional accreditation to The Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University. FAIMER Fellow Wagdy Talaat (PHIL 2007) is a faculty member and heads the Medical Education Department at Suez Canal University. Egypt’s national accreditation process focuses on two main principles: mission-based assessment (institutional capacity), and outcome-based assessment (educational effectiveness). NAQAAE performs multiple pre-accreditation and accreditation site visits to the institution throughout the process.

NAQAAE was established by law in 2006 and by presidential decree in 2007. Over the past two years, it has developed national standards for every discipline in higher education, working through government-funded accreditation projects and in collaboration with The World Bank.

NAQAAE’s predecessor, the National Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee (NQAAC), worked for five years to spread quality assurance plans among higher education institutions, prepared the national law for accreditation and sought its endorsement by Egyptian parliament, and laid the groundwork for the independent body that became NAQAAE. Dr. Talaat served as a member of NQAAC.

For more information on Egypt’s accreditation system and the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education, visit

John Norcini Speaks at Accreditation Workshop in Taiwan

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FAIMER President and CEO John J. Norcini, Ph.D., was an invited speaker, along with members of the Liason Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Secretariat, at a workshop on accreditation conducted at the International Conference on Medical Education and Accreditation, July 27–28, 2009, in Taiwan. The invitation was extended by Chi-Wan Lai, M.D., Executive Secretary, Medical Education Committee, Ministry of Education in Taiwan, and CEO, Taiwan Medical Accreditation Council (TMAC). TMAC was created in July 1999 to improve the quality of medical education in Taiwan. The workshop was organized to share information about how medical education accreditation systems function in Taiwan, the United States, and other countries, and to help TMAC with future planning. Dr. Norcini spoke on accreditation from the global perspective, as well as on how the medical education systems in different countries handle repatriated foreign medical graduates.