The University of Louisville School of Medicine has been placed on probation by its accrediting body.
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the body that issues accreditation to medical education programs in the United States and Canada, has expressed concern in nine areas of UofL’s Medical School.
Some changes in curriculum and structures will be required. The school remains fully accredited at this time, meaning the school is still eligible for inclusion in federal grants and programs and graduates still qualify for the U.S. medical licensing examination.
The majority of the concern, UofL officials said, is clustered around two main things:
“The first was the adequacy of the preclinical instructional building. The other was the pace of preclinical curricular change,” said Toni Ganzel, dean of the UofL School of Medicine.
A $7.5 million renovation to the Health Sciences Center is already underway and curriculum reconfigurations are also being outlined, according to statement released by UofL.
“We felt our building was adequate, not optimal, but adequate,” Ganzel said. “When they came in, they judged it to be inadequate.”
Jessica Huber, president of the 2014 graduating class, said she thinks the facilities she and her classmates have been working in during their time at UofL have been adequate.
“They have not hindered our education in any way,” Huber said. “It hasn’t been a detriment to our education at this point, but I can only imagine how wonderful it’s going to be as an asset to the students moving forward.”
Ganzel said the Liaison Committee on Medical Education has just recently become more rigorous in setting standards for medical schools.
“Over the last three or four years the LCME has increasingly scrutinized schools at a much greater detail,” Ganzel said. “Not concerned about performance of students or general quality but on very specific detail aspect of each standard.”
There are 131 standards schools must meet to ensure they remain accredited.
Dan Hunt, co-Director of LCME and Senior Director of Accreditation Services for the Association of American Medical Colleges, said the probation is not to be taken lightly.
“It was done after a series of considerations,” he said. “We are in a phase of the accreditation process where there is an unfortunate higher frequency of schools that fall behind and fail to be able to catch up in time.
“It’s not that the standards become more rigorous, and it’s not that schools aren’t paying attention, it’s a combination of the two.”
UofL School of Medicine officials will submit a formal action plan to the accreditation body in the summer and anticipate a follow-up visit in the summer of 2015.
Hunt said nobody should speculate about what could happened a year from now.
“Every time a school has been on probation, they have succeeded in getting off without losing accreditation,” Hunt said. “I do know they are going to work as hard as they can.”