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ACGME Update

Updated Aug. 5, 2021

On July 2, 2021, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) placed the Tulane School of Medicine, in its role as sponsor of our Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs, on probation. The School of Medicine takes the ACGME’s decision very seriously. We are addressing the concerns raised by the ACGME and have committed all the resources necessary to resolve them.

Resident Town Hall

Dean's Update: August 11, 2021

The information below will provide you with more information.
Does the Tulane School Of Medicine’s “Probationary Accreditation” apply to the MD program?
The ACGME’s decision does not apply to our MD program or other education programs, which remain fully accredited.  The ACGME’s decision applies to the Tulane School of Medicine only in its capacity as institutional sponsor of graduate medical education programs.   
What is the status of the school’s residency and fellowship programs?
We have 34 residency and fellowship programs that are fully accredited.  The Internal Medicine and Neurology programs are accredited with warning, and the Opthalmology program is accredited with probationary status.  All three are taking actions to respond to concerns raised by the ACGME, and are committed to resolving them.

Why did the ACGME place Tulane School of Medicine on probationary accreditation status?
In April 2021, the ACGME conducted a site visit of Tulane School of Medicine, as the sponsoring institution of Tulane’s residency and fellowship programs, to investigate complaints of discrimination.  On July 2nd, the ACGME placed the School of Medicine on probationary accreditation because it determined that the School of Medicine, as a sponsoring institution of graduate medical education programs, was not in substantial compliance with certain of the ACGME’s graduate medical education standards.

For legal and confidential personnel reasons, we are limited in the information we can share about the ACGME’s decision. However, what we promise is that we are and will be addressing every concern raised by the ACGME and are committed to dedicating the resources necessary to resolve them.

What does “Probationary Accreditation status” mean?
Probationary Accreditation status is a label conferred by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) – the regulatory body that provides accreditation to institutions that sponsor graduate medical education programs as well as to individual residency and fellowship graduate medical education programs. Probation is used for programs and institutions that fail to demonstrate “substantial compliance” with the ACGME’s published educational standards. Institutions that are put on probation remain accredited to sponsor residency and fellowship programs, and are subject to further review by the ACGME. Although institutions on probation remain accredited, they may not apply for accreditation of new programs and must advise current residents and fellows, as well as applicants invited for interviews, of the probation status. An institution with probationary accreditation that is able on a subsequent review to demonstrate substantial compliance with ACGME standards may be removed from probation and have its accreditation status upgraded to continued accreditation or continued accreditation with warning. The School of Medicine is committed to addressing and resolving the concerns raised by the ACGME and already has numerous initiatives underway and planned. (See details below)

Does the ACGME decision affect the accreditation status of individual graduate medical education (residency and fellowships) programs?
No.  None of the School of Medicine’s residency and fellowship programs have been placed on probation as a result of the ACGME decision.

Will this affect my license or my ability to graduate from a Tulane residency or fellowship program?
No. The School of Medicine and all of the residency and fellowship programs are accredited. The School of Medicine is working to address the ACGME’s concerns with the goal of not only meeting but exceeding the ACGME’s standards.

How long will the school of medicine be on probation?  And what is the process for getting off probation?
There is no set timeline for lifting the probation, but the ACGME has indicated that it will return for a follow-up review in January 2022. We will make as much progress as quickly as possible between now and then on the areas that the ACGME has identified. Our goal is not just to have the probation status lifted but to make lasting, systemic change that will position us as a national leader among medical schools in graduate medical education.

How will these changes affect current or incoming residents?
The many initiatives we have underway or plan to start soon are intended to bring about lasting, systemic changes that will improve the learning and working environments for our current and incoming residents.  (See details below)

What specifically is the School of Medicine doing to get off probationary accrediatation status?
We have taken immediate actions to resolve the ACGME’s concerns and will be undertaking further initiatives throughout the rest of  the summer and fall. Some of the steps we have taken or plan to take include the following:

  • Implementing new policies and initiatives to enhance the monitoring of our residency and fellowship  programs, including strengthening our institutional oversight and ensuring that our learning and working environments are inclusive, equitable and free from discrimination and mistreatment.
  • Appointing new leadership for Graduate Medical Education, including a new Designated Institutional Official (DIO).
  • Increasing resources, including hiring additional staff, to further support the GME office and our residency and fellowship programs.  
  • Retaining the firm of Norton Rose Fulbright to evaluate the operation, oversight and supervision of graduate medical education at the School of Medicine and to make recommendations for improvement.
  • Engaging Sensei Change Associates to assist us in better understanding individual experiences related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Over the past several months, Sensei has conducted focus groups and individual meetings with hundreds of students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff. Very soon, they will be making recommendations to help us better meet the needs of our community.  
  • Consulting with nationally recognized leaders in medical education at peer institutions.
  • Establishing a Professionalism Task Force that will include a diverse cross-section of faculty, staff, residents, and students. This Task Force will evaluate the effectiveness of our systems to report and address unprofessional behavior of any kind.
  • Reducing our inpatient clinical service commitments and resident workloads on hospital inpatient rotations that have experienced high patient volumes, including implementing non-teaching inpatient clinical services at our hospital sites.
  • Exercising more oversight of our residency and fellowship programs to identify and address areas for improvement through more frequent reviews by our  Graduate Medical Education Committee.

All of these actions have been put on a fast track with full institutional support. Our goal is to address the ACGME’s concerns and strengthen our graduate medical education programs and our culture of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Will this affect my residency or fellowship training at Tulane?
No. The School of Medicine has been a national leader in education, research and clinical care for more than a century. While recognizing the significance of the current challenges, we remain confident in our ability to fulfill our missions and fully address the issues raised by the ACGME. We are encouraged that surveys of our residents, fellows and students consistently show that they are proud of their association with the medical school. We are grateful to have our students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff as partners in our shared mission of building a stronger, more diverse educational, research and health care institution.