News in Brief

COCA announces forums on new accreditation standards

COCA question and answer sessions planned to review updated standards for COMs, including new GME requirements for new and proposed schools.

The AOA Committee on College Accreditation will hold a series of live and web-based sessions this fall to review new accreditation standards with the 33 colleges of osteopathic medicine it accredits. The sessions will be open to all interested stakeholders, including COM officials, students and prospective students.

The standards forums come as COCA moves to a web-based accreditation system, which was put in place to receive progress reports, self-studies and other submissions, said Brian Kim, JD, secretary to the COCA. Kim will lead the question and answer sessions, to be held regionally, with a goal of helping COMs analyze and apply the newly implemented standards.

“COCA made significant changes to the accreditation standards, which now differentiate between existing COMs and new or proposed schools.  The forums are intended to assist the osteopathic educational community, so our COM leaders have the understanding they need to make decisions and apply the standards,” Kim explained.

The revised standards now in place require new and proposed COMs to comply with expanded criteria for graduate medical education, addressing a top concern of osteopathic medical students.

Other changes limit COCA’s discretion with non-compliant schools by specifying clear penalties. Expanded standards were set for facilities, faculty and curriculum. Schools in violation of any standard will not be allowed any substantive changes to their accreditation, which include class size increases, additional locations or changes to mission or legal status.

COCA will provide an FAQ on the changes as well as a table comparing the 2016 accreditation standards to those adopted for the 2017 academic year. The current standards are also being reformatted for easier use.

COCA commissioners will meet August 25-27 in Chicago and are expected to take action on proposed policies and procedures, which include a revised reconsideration and appeal process for accreditation decisions. Once approved, the policies and procedures will be made public on the COCA website.

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