The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences was placed on probation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education on Wednesday. The committee has given the school two years to correct any problems in order to retain its accreditation.
According to the school’s official statement, this judgment comes as a result of problems with “curriculum management, lounge and study space for students and internal administrative processes.” The school declined to comment further on the details of the problems.
“We recognize the seriousness of this situation, and we have developed a corrective action plan to address the concerns,” said Deborah Hudson, assistant vice president for media, marketing and communications.
“The school is concentrating on developing its corrective action plan with a goal to complete its work within a year. No medical school has failed to be accredited after having been placed on probationary status,” Hudson said.
The school is currently working with its students to maintain confidence during this time, she said.
“We have held meetings with our students and will continue to answer questions to help students with their concerns,” Hudson said. “Probationary status does not have any effect on financial aid programs. We understand that students are concerned and we will continue to talk with students throughout the process.”
The LCME is the official accrediting institution for medical schools in the United States. It works in conjunction with the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools. Together, they have accredited 146 institutions – 129 in the United States and 17 in Canada. New medical schools must be accredited, and already existing schools, such as the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences, must undergo surveying every eight years to retain their accredited status. Accreditation is necessary for schools to receive federal grants, loans for students to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination and as a prerequisite for graduates to receive medical licenses in most states.
While on probation, the school remains accredited and a follow-up inspection is conducted after two years.
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences is currently the only medical school on probation. Since 1994, only five institutions’ medical schools have been placed on probation: Ponce School of Medicine and Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine in Puerto Rico, Temple University School of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, the Chicago Medical School – the medical branch of Rosalind Franklin University – and now, the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The Liason Committee on Medical Education declined to comment.