USF Health medical school on the move

MD program fully reaccredited, following approval of $17M to help build new facility downtown

Tampa. FL (June 30, 2015) — The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s MD program has been reaccredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for the next eight years – the maximum period allowed.

This caps off a month of great news for the University of South Florida medical school. The reaccreditation follows the Governor’s approval last week of a state budget, which includes $17 million for the university to begin building its new Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM) facility in downtown Tampa, co-located with the USF Health Heart Institute.

The MCOM LCME Committee

A few of the MCOM faculty, staff and students involved in the LCME reaccreditation process. Clockwise from center: Dr. Bryan Bognar; Dr. Gretchen Koehler; Adriane Smith; Elizabeth Rogers, MS4; Casey Nagel, MS4; Harold Paul, MS4, Neil Manimala, MS4 (Medical Student Council President), Monique Konstantinovic, MS4 (co-president, Class of 2016), and Seema Martinez.

“We will continue to relentlessly pursue excellence in education, research and clinical care,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “This positive LCME evaluation validates the progress we have made in modernizing our MD curriculum to prepare physicians to lead and practice in a rapidly changing, interdisciplinary health care system.”

The LCME accreditation is additional evidence of a medical school on the move, which is attracting more top prospective medical students to USF. A record number of 5,235 AMCAS applications – up 24 percent from last year – were received for the class of 175 students expected to enter MCOM this August. Additionally, the average Medical College Admission Test score, or MCAT, for the newly admitted students is up 7 percent from last year, which places the incoming class in the top quartile for average MCAT scores among medical schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

The LCME is the nationally-recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the MD degree in U.S. and Canadian schools. Accreditation shows that a medical school has met very rigorous national standards. Graduating from an LCME-accredited school is a condition for licensure in most states.

The LCME cited USF’s ongoing efforts to minimize medical student debt as a particular strength. Among Dr. Lockwood’s priorities since arriving at USF last year is reducing student debt by freezing tuition, as well as boosting the number of medical student scholarships. Scholarship and grant funding to help defray educational expenses for USF medical students increased 300 percent over the last seven years, and student debt rate remains below the national average for all LCME-accredited medical schools.

To prepare for the LCME’s site visit this past February, a team of more than 100 faculty, students and staff spent nearly two years conducting a self-study to help ensure MCOM met LCME standards and to guide institutional improvement.

LCME Group

Dr. Bryan Bognar is vice dean for Educational Affairs at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

“This successful outcome speaks volumes about our comprehensive and meticulous preparation,” said Bryan Bognar, MD, MPH, vice dean for Educational Affairs at MCOM. “It would not have been possible without the hard work, collaboration and dedication of our administration, faculty, staff and students, including our colleagues at the Lehigh Valley campus in Allentown and our incredible Tampa Bay area hospital and community partners.”

For the first time, the LCME reviewed USF Health’s MD SELECT Program – a new partnership with the nationally-recognized Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). The innovative program, which graduated its first 16 students this spring, admits a group of medical students demonstrating a high level of emotional intelligence and leadership potential. It develops their skills in medical leadership, values-based, patient-centered care and health systems. Students take classes in Tampa for two years, then go to the USF Lehigh Valley campus in Pennsylvania for two years to focus on their clinical education.

“When you embrace the challenges and changes that arise when creating a groundbreaking program like SELECT, you expect to undergo a tough reaccreditation process. We prepared well for the scrutiny and passed,” said Robert Barraco, MD, associate dean for Educational Affairs at MCOM’s Lehigh Valley campus. “This is a huge victory for everyone, both on the USF Tampa campus and the Lehigh Valley campus. Even though we are 1,000 miles apart, there is no distance between us when it comes to working together to improve medical education.”

Robert D. Barraco, MD, MPH LVPG General and Trauma Surgery-1240 Cedar Crest

Dr. Robert Barraco is, associate dean for Educational Affairs at the USF Lehigh Valley campus, where medical students in the MD SELECT program conduct their clinical education.

The move to downtown Tampa is expected to make MCOM even more attractive to top medical student talent in the near future. Bringing together education, translational research and high quality patient care under one roof, it will place students within five minutes of the university’s world-class medical simulation and learning space (CAMLS) and Tampa General Hospital, where they conduct the majority of their clinical rotations.

“It’s a unique opportunity to bring USF Health closer to our primary teaching hospital, into what will be a thriving downtown waterfront district with tremendous appeal to students and faculty,” said Dr. Lockwood. “We look forward to being there well before our next LCME visit in 2023.”

-USF Health-
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities. For more information, visit www.health.usf.edu.

Media contact:
Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications
(813) 974-3303 or abaier@health.usf.edu

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications