Dr. LouAnn Woodward, the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs, has been appointed to the nationally recognized accrediting body for U.S. and Canadian medical schools.
Woodward, who is also UMMC’s vice dean of the School of Medicine, will serve a three-year term starting July 1 as a member of the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the committee for accreditation of medical degree education programs in the United States.
Most state boards of licensure require that U.S. medical schools earn accreditation from the LCME, signifying that they meet national standards for a medical degree education.
“For someone whose career has been spent in academic medicine, I am honored to serve on the LCME, since it impacts medical education across the United States and Canada,” Woodward said.
“I also want to be able to take all of the good things we’re doing at our medical school and continue to put Mississippi on the map of medical education.”
Woodward, also a professor of emergency medicine, is a native Mississippian. She earned her undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University and received her medical education at UMMC, where she also completed her residency training.
Dr. James Keeton, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, submitted Woodward’s nomination to the LCME.
She will be one of 17 medical educators and administrators, practicing physicians, public members or medical students serving on the committee, which will meet in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
In the United States, the LCME determines the accreditation status of all programs leading to the medical degree. It works with the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools to accredit M.D. programs in Canada.
The LCME meets at least three times a year and reviews written reports and surveys from all accredited schools, while also visiting up to 30 institutions annually.
UMMC faculty members have served as site visitors before. “But no one from the university has served on the LCME board itself,” said Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of the University of Mississippi.
“This high-profile, national position is important for Dr. Woodward and for our university.”
Woodward helped shepherd the School of Medicine through its own recent accreditation process. After judging the school on nearly 130 standards following an on-site visit in 2012, the LCME found that the institution was in compliance for every area, a rare occurrence for any medical school.
“In the coming years there will be some major changes affecting accreditation standards,” Woodward said, “including a transition to an online, rather than a paper, self-study process; an increased focus on meeting the nation’s need for primary care physicians; and remaining vigilant for the impacts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on medical schools.
“I am awed by the great responsibility that comes with this position.”