UAlberta MD Program receives exceptional international accreditation

Accreditation process revealed strengths in leadership, student programming and career development available to faculty.


(Edmonton) After a rigorous self-examination process and close scrutiny by the governing accreditation bodies of both Canadian and American medical schools, the MD Program at the University of Alberta has been recognized with a highly successful accreditation.

"The gold-plated accreditation of our medical school reflects the strength and leadership of our Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry," says U of A president Indira Samarasekera. "The faculty's success in delivering excellence in medical education and research is a point of pride for the entire university community."

The MD Program accreditation is a peer-review, quality-assurance process that objectively measures all aspects of medical education provided to students at the faculty. More than 160 Canadian and American medical schools are reviewed every eight years by a joint team representing two accrediting bodies: the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). These two bodies finalized an historic agreement that will repatriate Canadian medical school accreditation to CACMS in Victoria, British Columbia, in June 2014.

"The accreditation process requires a deep commitment from everyone that is part of the extended Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry family including administrators, faculty, staff, students, AHS, government and supporters from the community," says provost Carl Amrhein. "These successful results by the faculty are a direct result of the university's ongoing effort to improve and ensure that our students receive a high-quality education that advances them towards their career goals."

D. Douglas Miller, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, says, "As the last medical school in North America to undergo full CACMS and LCME accreditation, it is gratifying to see that this robust review of our MD Program revealed no deficiencies and several strengths."

Some of the standards where the MD Program has exceeded expectations include the strong leadership of the faculty; the richness of student programming, in particular the availability of research programs for MD students; and the career development programs available to faculty members.

"Our medical students actively contributed to this highly successful medical school accreditation. They continue to benefit from an educational experience that is student focused and committed to excellence," notes Miller.

Irfan Kherani, (MD '15) a medical student who participated in the process with the accreditors while on campus, says the accreditation journey is an incredible example of the interdisciplinary and comprehensive work undertaken at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "As students, we appreciate the ongoing and wide-spread engagement pursued by the faculty to continue the tradition of high-quality learning found at the University of Alberta."

Miller, who is the new chair of CACMS and the Canadian member of the U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education, says accredited programs foster the best education for professional students. "As a result, our medical, dental and health professional program graduates are well-prepared to serve and care for the people of Alberta and Canada."

The CACMS and LCME joint accreditation found the U of A to be compliant with all of 132 accreditation standards, producing a full and unqualified eight-year approval.

Miller adds the next steps will include a continuous quality improvement approach to accreditation. "We expect these efforts to improve upon our already top-quality undergraduate medical education program and to streamline preparations for future accreditations."