Interim accreditation review another critical milestone for the CoM

An incredible amount of work has been underway on accreditation of our Undergraduate Medical Education program since our successful 2017 full-site visit and our official results from that visit, received in 2018. This is, of course, because accreditation requires an ongoing, continuous improvement approach that ideally informs and supports how we work every day.

For the UGME program, while our results from 2017 were strong and very encouraging, there remained substantial work and commitment from our team to build the program back from the significant accreditation challenges of the past. This work was by no means completed in 2017. At the same time, programs must always be advancing and improving in line with changes in health care and health care education. So there is no opportunity to “rest on our laurels” when it comes to accreditation and in becoming the excellent medical school which we aspire to be.

And that is as it should be, given the importance of a strong medical education program, and a strong Saskatchewan medical school!

With this blog, I want to highlight the UGME interim accreditation review, which marks the halfway point of our eight-year accreditation cycle as we prepare for our next full-site accreditation review in 2026. This interim review will inform our ongoing work, and the results will not be released to the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). They will be provided to the leadership of the College of Medicine.

Many of you who support and are key stakeholders in the UGME program have been assisting our amazing UGME accreditation team of Dr. Athena McConnell, director quality and accreditation, and Pat Williamson, accreditation specialist. As many are aware, Athena is also interim provincial head of the Department of Pediatrics, supporting our college in another important capacity at this time. And in light of that, I do want to highlight the work and diligence Pat is managing in her role to support our important accreditation review and continuous quality improvement work.

Thank you to Pat, Athena, UGME leadership and staff, and numerous others throughout the college  who have been working on gathering the necessary documentation for the review for the past 18 months. Another big thank you to everyone else involved in supporting and informing this work, with a special mention to the faculty and students who participated in our Medical School Self Study Working Groups and worked diligently for over a year providing valuable feedback! The preliminary review and rating of the documentation by these working groups flagged several areas that are at risk, and many of the suggested improvements are already underway.

The interim accreditation review is taking place October 4-5, 2021, and will be overseen by an external reviewer and Athena, as well as a committee of internal reviewers, including faculty and students. The review team will be deciding on which key stakeholders they need to meet with this summer to ask important questions about how the program is functioning. This will likely include but is not limited to: college level leaders, UGME leaders, residents and students.

The review team will provide their results in October or November of this year, informing our work as we continue to improve our UGME program and prepare for our full site visit in the spring of 2026. As accreditation goes, and given the complexities and many support structures involved in UGME, that is not a long time away.

In other college accreditation news, the Division of Continuing Medical Education had a resoundingly successful accreditation report earlier this year and the School of Rehabilitation Science is awaiting its report from a very well-executed accreditation visit in March.

Our college is fully accredited across all our programs. Accreditation is a huge team commitment and effort, and beyond our commitment to meet those requirements, we aspire to a higher level of excellence to be the medical school our province deserves and the world needs.