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Probation lifted for MU med school

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 11:26 PM

HUNTINGTON — The accrediting agency for medical schools has notified Marshall University that the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is no longer on probation.


University officials received official notification this week, following a visit from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in June.

“This milestone has not been easily achieved and has involved a systemic culture change within the medical school,” Marshall President Stephen Kopp said in a news release. “Dean Joseph Shapiro addressed the issues with precision and tenacity and has created a vision for an even better medical school.”

A LCME site team visited the school in June for a limited survey with administrators, faculty and students and then reported its findings to the entire LCME Board of Directors. Board members voted to lift the probation at its meeting this past week, and Shapiro was notified during a telephone call Friday morning.

Shapiro said with the accreditation status now solid, the school is better poised to move forward.

“I want to thank everyone for their incredible efforts and am encouraged that our future is bright,” said Shapiro, who became dean in 2012. “We’ve worked to create a culture of innovation and creativity in response to the LCME’s review. Our students, residents, faculty and staff have been encouraged to provide input and their ideas have helped us shape what we think is an excellent model for medical education.”

Marshall was first alerted that it was being recommended for probation by the LCME in June 2011. The university appealed and remained accredited until the fall, when the appeal was denied.

Kopp was notified with a letter from the LCME in June 2011 about the pending probation, outlining nine standards in noncompliance, one standard in compliance with a need for monitoring and three standards in transition.

The areas included a lack of diversity for students and faculty, lower-than-average scholarship support and higher-than-average student debt, limited programs to promote student well being, limited advising, lack of a financial aid and debt management program, and curricular issues.

In October 2011, the appeal was denied, even though officials were able to show that some of the areas of non-compliance had been or were in the process of being remedied.

LCME officials worked with the medical school in following year on plans to fix the non-compliant issues.  One of the areas the medical school worked on was increasing scholarship support and assisting students with financial aid.

The school has hired a full-time assistant director of financial aid who was formerly shared with the undergraduate campus, and the student wellness committee has recommended personal budgeting classes for first-year students.

The medical school also started its Project P.R.E.M.E.D. program, aimed at allowing undergraduate and graduate students of color to explore and experience medical school. Its third annual program was held in September.

Kopp expressed appreciation to Marshall’s Board of Governors, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Bob Plymale (D-Wayne) and Dr. Robert Nerhood. Nerhood served as interim dean during the search that landed Shapiro and was critical in getting things started.

Kopp said Marshall and the medical school will remain vigilant and continue to set the bar for improvement higher.

“Accreditation compliance work is ongoing and an incumbent responsibility of all concerned,” he said.

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