The Keck School of Medicine of USC has achieved the highest level of accreditation available to a medical school in the United States by the Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME), the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting body for medical schools.

“Full accreditation is a reflection of the excellence of our faculty, staff and students,” said Laura Mosqueda, MD, interim dean of the Keck School. “The report is a strong affirmation of the quality of the medical education program at the Keck School.”

In a letter sent to USC President C. L. Max Nikias on Feb. 21, the LCME notified USC and the Keck School that it continued full accreditation of the medical education program for the maximum eight-year term. Having no areas of noncompliance is quite an accomplishment, said Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, professor of clinical pediatrics and medical education (educational scholar) and senior associate dean for student and educational affairs. The Keck School will send a follow-up report to the LCME in the spring of 2019 on a small number of elements that require monitoring, Elliott added.

“The eight-year accreditation is the result of the diligence and hard work on the part of many individuals,” Elliott said. “We appreciated the opportunity to share the strengths of the Keck School with the site survey team and the LCME.”

Raquel Arias, center, celebrates with students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC who participated in the accreditation self-study and LCME site survey visit. (Photo/Courtesy Raymond Lam)

The Keck School completed a self-study process that began in the summer of 2015 and culminated with a visit from the LCME site survey team November 12-15, 2017. The process was led by Elliott; Frank Sinatra, MD, professor of pediatrics, assistant dean for faculty development; Georgianna Newell, CQI accreditation administrator; and more than 200 faculty, staff, residents and students who participated in the self-study process and site survey visit.

“The combined efforts of faculty, staff, residents and students provided a comprehensive look at the Keck School’s strengths and areas for improvement,” Sinatra said. “The self-study was a critical part of our successful accreditation and resulted in several adjustments to the way we help students train to be successful physicians.”

Some of the changes included moving the student lounge from Historic General Hospital to Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center; hiring a second counselor for medical students; expanding debt management counseling; and expanding the Keck Medicine Professionalism Program to the Keck school, to ensure there is a consistent mechanism to report concerns with faculty or resident behavior.

“Preparation for the LCME survey visit allowed us to conduct a critical examination of our policies, processes and programs, and because of this, we are now even better-positioned to support our students,” Elliott said. “This eight year accreditation is proof that the Keck School is a highly regarded institution for medical education.”