Topeka The Kansas University Medical School won re-accreditation despite concerns voiced by KU officials to legislators that lack of funding for a $75 million health education building could have jeopardized accreditation. Even so, the need for a new building remains a concern going forward, officials said.
KU announced Monday that it received full accreditation for the next eight years, which is the longest period possible.
But the school’s accreditors, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), cited the school for noncompliance in two areas and said the school must show progress in six other areas by Aug. 1, 2015.
And one of those areas that the school must show progress in is improving its training facilities at the Kansas City, Kan., campus.
During the 2014 legislative session, KU officials have told legislators that without assistance in building a new $75 million health education building, the school faced accreditation problems.
On Monday, Douglas Girod, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, said the school was surprised it wasn’t cited for an inadequate training building at the Kansas City campus after LCME visited the school’s campuses in October 2013.
“Based on comments from LCME visitors last fall, we anticipated a citation for lack of facilities appropriate for our curriculum,” Girod said. “We are fortunate they didn’t issue a citation, but the accreditors made it clear this is an area that needs immediate attention.”
“The LCME said we are still in compliance, but that we need to fix the problem,” Girod said. “In August 2015, they won’t be satisfied with ‘we’re working on it.’ We need to show real progress on our building project in the next 17 months.”
According to the LCME findings, “students and faculty express dissatisfaction with the current state of facilities, including inadequate seating, particularly in the first-year lecture hall and the number of small-group classrooms that limit the school’s ability to fully incorporate active learning on the Kansas City campus.”
Girod said school officials are continuing discussions with Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature about the importance of the new building.
“The KU Medical Center is a tremendous asset for our state,” said state Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“We look forward to ongoing conversations and are committed to working with KU officials on how to address these concerns so as to avoid any future issues with accreditation,” he said.
The school was cited for noncompliance for a lack of diversity on the faculty and for a lack of dedicated facilities for medical students at the KU Hospital.
“We need to increase diversity and inclusion in all areas, which is why it’s an ultimate goal of our strategic plan,” Girod said.
Concerning diversity, the percentage of American Indian, black, Asian, Hispanic and female students and faculty lags behind the percentages of those groups in the general state population.
For example, women make up half the population, but 42 percent of students and 35 percent of full-time faculty.
Hispanics make up 10.8 percent of the population, but 5.7 percent of students and 2.5 percent of full-time faculty.
The accreditation report praised KU for establishing innovative education programs to address the state’s need for rural physicians and for its faculty professional development program.
“Overall, this is a very good report,” Girod said.