From the Dean: Getting ready for LCME

Next week promises to be an especially busy week for me personally, as I will be participating (albeit virtually) in the June meeting of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accreditation body for U.S. medical schools. As I’ve mentioned before, the LCME is comprised of 19 members, 15 of whom are what the LCME calls “professional” members by virtue of our clinical practice or educational experience (or both). There are two student and two public members who round out the group. All of us vote on the accreditation status of applicant schools, although obviously various members need to recuse themselves from participating or voting when conflicts are present. We will meet for three days next week, and I will present my reviews of the four schools assigned to me. Since about half the reviews are done jointly with another member and the others are done individually, I’d guess that we’ll have over 50 total reviews to do, although about half are shorter status or progress reports. Ordinarily we meet in person (usually in Chicago at the American Medical Association headquarters), but because of the pandemic we’ll again be meeting virtually, as we have for the past year and a quarter. At least for the present, the LCME is continuing an all-virtual format, and as I mentioned here recently, the School’s survey team accreditation review of our own medical student program scheduled for next April also will be virtual.

Speaking of the medical student program, the new students in the medical school Class of 2025 will be starting their studies in under a month, and the incoming health sciences and graduate students will be starting soon after. As I mentioned in my column two weeks ago, the School has modified its pandemic guidelines as of June 1; they differ some from those just released by UND in view of the interaction of many of our faculty, staff, and students with patients and others who may be especially vulnerable to the effects of SARS-CoV-2. I anticipate that our guidelines will be adjusted yet again as the summer progresses and we prepare for the fall semester that begins in late August. It always is a tug-of-war between trying to return to a more normal mode of operation as soon as is feasible while striving to protect at-risk individuals in particular. We will continue to monitor the pandemic situation in the region and hope that the positive trends continue. I would again ask all eligible but currently unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated, as this will help to protect not only you and your family, but also your community. Getting as many people vaccinated as soon as possible is critically important in trying to limit the emergence of potentially more problematic viral variants or so-called mutations. Mutating is what coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 do, and the best way to limit the chance of mutations is to reduce or eliminate the reservoirs of virus in humans. Please do your part to help protect all of us!

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
Vice President for Health Affairs, UND
Dean, UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences