Spring/Summer 2018
University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine granted full accreditation

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Programs, faculty, resources and partnerships meet and exceed medical education standards

Story by Julie Ardito, APR

In the world of medical schools, accreditation is the gold standard for communicating the quality and performance of medical education programs. In March, the School of Medicine was granted full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) through 2026, confirming that UNR Med's programs, faculty, resources and partnerships meet or exceed national standards for medical education.

As a fully accredited institution, UNR Med is eligible to receive federal grants and its students are eligible to apply to accredited residency programs in the United States. Top ranked residencies require applicants to graduate from LCME-accredited medical schools, as do most state boards for medical licensure.

The process for medical school accreditation is a comprehensive and inclusive one. UNR Med spent more than a year of extensive data collection, analysis and self-study, including the submission of hundreds of pages of information and a three-day LCME site visit in October 2017. UNR Med held dozens of meetings with students, faculty and community partners to examine the five key areas of accreditation.

"The accreditation process was highly collaborative involving nearly 100 individuals who participated over the course of an intensive self-study so we could provide detailed data and reports to the LCME. The LCME accreditation committee reviewed the extensive data about our student successes, faculty accomplishments, facilities, finances and leadership. It was reaffirming to hear from them what we know so well - that the quality and commitment of our students and faculty are major strengths of our medical school," said Melissa Piasecki, M.D., executive associate dean.

In addition to Dr. Piasecki, who served as faculty accreditation lead, UNR Med's accreditation team included Krystle Oates, Ph.D., accreditation coordinator, and Amy Smith, Ph.D., director of institutional assessment.

"This outcome is the result of the extraordinary dedication and expertise of all UNR Med faculty and staff members, students and community partners," said School of Medicine Dean, Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "By its very nature, the LCME self-study is a team effort and that was certainly the case here, with unprecedented involvement by every member and unit of the school in our reaccreditation process. The collaboration forged throughout the LCME process will continue to resonate through our regular working relationships; it will have long-lasting impact on our culture of excellence in medical education."

LCME by the numbers

  • 7 self-study committees, involving 92 unique participants
  • 376-page data collection instrument (DCI) with 176 appendices
  • 35-page executive summary
  • 44-page student assessment
  • 21 meetings with the LCME survey team, involving 114 unique participants

Five key areas of accreditation

  1. Institutional setting: UNR Med's missions, leadership and the administrative tools needed for success;
  2. Educational program: UNR Med's curriculum and how the School measures its performance in training the next generation of physicians;
  3. Medical students: the selection and support services for medical students;
  4. Faculty: UNR Med's faculty and how they are prepared to teach and overall faculty career success;
  5. Educational resources: the finances, buildings and equipment the School needs to deliver an outstanding medical education program, and the strong partnerships UNR Med has with northern Nevada hospitals and healthcare providers.