Landmark agreement formalizes accreditation of U.S. and Canadian medical education programs

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) took an important step today in furthering the commitment of both the U.S. and Canada to ensuring quality standards in medical school programs through a memorandum of understanding that formalizes their long-standing partnership. The agreement was signed by leaders of the sponsoring organizations of the accrediting bodies, including the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC).

For more than 50 years, LCME and CACMS have worked closely to make sure that medical school graduates in the U.S. and Canada meet their respective countries' standards and are prepared for the next phase of their medical training.

"By formally recognizing the longstanding commitment to quality medical education programs in the U.S. and Canada, this important agreement will enhance our ability to maintain the world's premier medical education system and ensure it serves the ever-evolving health needs of our nations," said Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, AAMC President and CEO.

Under this new agreement, the policies and processes of LCME and CACMS will be modified to reflect six principles of accreditation, as well as components that are specific to U.S. and Canadian medical program accreditation. The understanding also calls for regular review of the principles to ensure they are addressing future medical education needs in both countries. U.S. programs will continue to be LCME-accredited while Canadian medical education programs will continue to receive both LCME and CACMS accreditation. The agreement allows Canadian programs the flexibility to address the differences in some aspects of medical education programs in order to meet unique national demands.

"This landmark agreement protects the unique Canadian context in accreditation standards, while maintaining the strong historical ties with our American colleagues that have served medical graduates so well," said Dr. Brian Brodie, Chair of the CMA's Board of Directors.

"The AMA is pleased to join the AAMC and our partners from Canada to celebrate the long-standing, successful and continuing working relationship between our two countries," said Dr. Ardis D. Hoven, AMA President. "We are committed to bringing our doctors of tomorrow into the 21st century as demonstrated by AMA's accelerating change in medical education initiative, and the agreement signed today will help us move closer to that goal through initiatives that will improve practice sustainability and professional satisfaction as well as public health."

"This historic agreement opens the door to a synergistic relationship between our organizations that will lead to greater quality improvement and innovation in accreditation" said Dr. Geneviève Moineau, President and CEO of the AFMC. "We will now be able fulfill our mandate to create an alignment of accreditation across the continuum from medical school to residency training to continuing medical education in Canada."