For the first time, the AOA’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) has granted 10-year accreditation to two colleges of osteopathic medicine: the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine and the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.
The accreditation status is called Accreditation with Exceptional Outcome. The status is available to schools that comply with all core and non-core accreditation requirements. COCA made the decision during its April meeting.
A new status
Last year, COCA changed its accreditation standards, separating core and non-core elements required for accreditation. While all of the elements are important, the core elements are critical to maintaining the educational quality of a COM’s program and make up the essence of COCA’s accreditation standards. But a school that meets both core and non-core requirements can be recognized with 10-year accreditation, or Accreditation with Exceptional Outcome, COCA decided. COMs that meet COCA’s core requirements are typically granted seven-year accreditation.
“Once a school receives Accreditation with Exceptional Outcome, it is a recognition of the quality of the COM’s educational program delivered to its students,” says Brian Kim, JD, COCA secretary and AOA vice president of accreditation. “This recognition has a significant impact on the pride of the entire COM community, including the COM’s students, faculty, and administration. I’m sure that all COMs strive to achieve this level of quality for their students.”
‘Wonderful public recognition’
Jane Carreiro, DO, dean of UNECOM, says it is incredibly gratifying for COCA to acknowledge the school’s commitment to excellence.
“Each member of UNECOM’s faculty and professional staff is dedicated to the education of our students, and this is a wonderful public recognition of their continued hard work and success,” Dr. Carreiro says.
At ATSU-SOMA, dean Jeffrey Morgan, DO, says the 10-year accreditation status recognizes the school’s unique model of medical education and commitment to community health. After attending classes for just one year on ATSU-SOMA’s campus, students spend the remainder of their training at one of 12 community health centers across the country through National Association of Community Health Centers partners.
“This status provides a platform from which ATSU-SOMA will continually strive for excellence in medical education and training of the 21st-century physician,” Dr. Morgan says. “We plan to continue efforts to integrate osteopathic principles and health systems science across the four-year curriculum, enhance our GME/THC partnerships, and expand our Virtual Community Health Center to provide training opportunities to our community health center partners.”