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Message to SOM Faculty and Staff

Dear Colleagues,

I write today to share information I have received from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for medical education in the United States.

Last October, our medical school underwent a scheduled site visit by the LCME. I have been informed that, while our medical education program remains fully accredited, the program has been put on probation as the result of not being in substantial compliance with accreditation standards.

It is important to know that the LCME report deals strictly with our medical education program. The outstanding care our SLUCare patients receive from our physicians and medical staff is not affected in any way by this report.

Although we remain fully accredited, a review of the elements deemed unsatisfactory
indicates deficiencies in documentation, missed opportunities for self-directed learning, curricular management issues, and a lack of central oversight.

University President Dr. Fred Pestello shares my view that these accreditation findings are unacceptable and agrees we must own them, and we must fix them. And we will.

The following principles will guide us in the remediation process:

  • Our primary goal is to prepare our students to be outstanding clinicians,
    researchers, community leaders, and lifelong learners.
  • We will review our medical education program from top to bottom to ensure
    compliance and seek opportunities for novel educational approaches.
  • We will address in detail the cited deficiencies, but every element of every
    standard in the LCME guidelines will be reviewed to ensure that we meet or
    exceed their standards.
  • We will create a culture of discipline and teamwork with accreditation and
    documentation of our processes.
  • We will work closely with the LCME and other extramural medical education
    experts to seek input related to redesigning our educational programs to ensure
    they are world-class.
  • We will become a metric-driven organization.

Very soon, I will assemble work groups within the school to take on each of the noncompliant elements cited. These groups will include faculty, School of Medicine alumni and external experts.

The LCME requires us to share this news with all of our current and prospective students, and they will receive a communication from me this morning. I ask you to reinforce with current and prospective students the quality of the medical education we provide and openly address their questions and concerns.

Communications are also going out to the broader University community and to School of Medicine alumni.

I intend to be transparent in this process, and that starts with sharing with you the attached letter Dr. Pestello and I received from the LCME that outlines the areas of non-compliance.

We have also created a website to provide additional information and updates about our remediation efforts. In addition, I have scheduled two faculty and staff town hall meetings this week: from 4:30-5:30 p.m. this Wednesday, March 15, and 7:30–8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 16. Both meetings will be in the LRC Auditorium. These meetings will give you the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns.

I want to assure you that our faculty will be engaged at every step of the remediation process, and we will convene more meetings in the weeks and months ahead.

I promise that we will seize this moment to improve on our medical education program and the processes within the School of Medicine. I am proud to be the new dean of a school with so many remarkable and dedicated faculty and staff. It is important that we look forward so that we can, together, move our School of Medicine in a very positive direction.

Kevin Behrns, M.D.