University News

Med School earns renewed accreditation

Alpert Medical School passed with no citations and was praised for its scholarly programs

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, March 8, 2013

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education announced that Alpert Medical School will continue its accreditation for the next eight years after passing in all 120 categories with no citations.

“Having no citations is extraordinary,” said Michele Cyr, associate dean for academic affairs, noting that this is the most positive report she has seen during her time at the University.

“The average is five or six citations,” said Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences.

The accreditation process began with a yearlong self-study, in which the faculty examined how well the school was implementing the 120 standards put forth by LCME, Wing said. Following the self-study, an Ad Hoc committee spent a week at the Med School talking to faculty members and students and observing the school’s practices, he said. When the week was complete and no citations were noted, the Ad Hoc committee compiled a report and sent it to the LCME for a decision on accreditation.

The report labeled the Med School’s scholarly programs for students, financial aid and new facilities as particular strengths.

The Med School was among the first to establish scholarly concentrations, which are similar to undergraduate concentrations, allowing students to work on projects and research related to a specific theme of their interest, such as geriatrics or global health, Wing said. About half the class participates in this program.

The program provides an outlet for students to get involved in activities outside the cookie-cutter curriculum, said Sheela Krishnan ’10 MD’14, who worked with a classmate to create a website for medical students to post study materials for her scholarly concentration.

“It’s kind of taken off, which has been cool to see,” Krishnan said, adding that students reported in a survey that the website helped their studies. Krishnan will present her project at a conference in New York this April.

Students said the new Medical Education Building has provided them additional study space and increased accessibility to professors.

Since students and faculty members’ offices are in close proximity, it is much easier to get informal advice from professors, said Jenna Lester MD’14. “Now you bump into them on the way to the bathroom.” She added that she can more easily find study space in the new building, where she has met medical students of different years, and that the anatomy lab has moved from a gloomy basement on campus to the new building’s top floor.

The new primary care program may use the increased space — most of which is classrooms — provided by the new building to expand, Wing said.

The school also stands out for its financial aid, Wing said, noting that the average indebtedness of students after graduation is $35,000 below the national average. The Annual Fund for Brown Medical Alumni continues to grow, and some general funds have been put toward scholarships, he said.

Though the Med School met all of the accreditation standards, the LCME will continue to observe the school’s attention to faculty diversity, finances and students’ willingness to report mistreatment. A follow-up report will be submitted Dec. 1 to the LCME, according to an email sent out from Wing’s office.

Diversity of medical school faculty is a problem across the nation, and the Med School is taking steps to improve minority recruitment and retention, Wing said.

Since appointing Jabbar Bennett as associate dean for diversity last year, the position has expanded to consider faculty diversity in addition to student diversity, Cyr said. “We also have implemented a policy of having a diversity representative on every search committee” for new faculty members, she added.

To address faculty retention, Cyr said she hopes to expand the University’s mentoring program — which pairs newer faculty members with more experienced mentors — to include clinical faculty members.