UR Gets Highest Ranking From National Accreditation Agency

December 01, 1999

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has received the highest approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education as a result of a recent site review.

The five-year accreditation, the maximum awarded by the Institutional Review Committee of the ACGME, includes no citations - a completely clean bill of health, says Edward M. Hundert, M.D., senior dean for Graduate Medical Education. This is extremely rare, given the rigor of the accreditation process.

"We are extremely proud of this ranking," Hundert says. "The inspirational leadership of Dr. Lindsey Henson, our associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, and the hard work of dozens of faculty members during the last 18 months not only returned us to favorable status, but has resulted in the medical school reaching new heights."

In fact, the letter sent from the ACGME notifying medical school officials of the accreditation notes the "exceptional effort made to improve the quality of institutional oversight that has resulted in a favorable action" - a rare comment in routine letters of accreditation.

The notification by the ACGME comes after extensive changes to the medical school's residency program, a move precipitated in part by an unfavorable report handed down in 1997 by the accreditation group. At that time the school was given two years probational accreditation, and was required to make such modifications as conducting timely internal reviews and improving the supervision of medical residents.

Changes, including better monitoring of residents' work hours, have been successfully put in place, says Henson, who was appointed specifically to correct the deficiencies and move the University of Rochester into a national leadership position in graduate medical education. Already, the University has taken the lead on such issues as establishing a core curriculum across all residences and creating a methodology for monitoring work hours that is being taken up by other medical centers around the state, she adds.

The most important of the many changes instituted by the University was strengthening and expanding the oversight role of the Graduate Medical Education Committee, which meets monthly to review all issues related to resident education, Henson says. An effective GME committee, which includes directors of individual residency programs and a group of residents selected by their peers, is a key requirement for accreditation by the ACGME.

The ACGME, which reviews 427 medical schools, conducts evaluations twice a year, in April and October. Of the 44 medical schools reviewed this fall, only 17 received five-year accreditations, Gordon says.

The agency's next site visit will take place in October 2004.

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has more than 500 residents who have completed medical school and are receiving hands-on training in specialties or primary care at Strong Memorial Hospital of the University of Rochester, Genesee Hospital, Rochester Psychiatric Center, St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, Highland Hospital, Monroe Community Hospital and other community sites, including private doctors' offices.

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Karin Christensen
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