Upstate Medical University program's accreditation recommended for probation

One of Upstate Medical University's programs is being recommended for probation.

The university says the accreditating organization for the College of Medicine is recommending the undergraduate medical program be placed on probation. The program is still accredited right now, and the probation would only impact that program. The rest of the college remains fully accredited.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or LCME, made the recommendation because of concerns in three main areas, including the governance of the curriculum, the management of the clinical clerkships, and communication regarding specific policies. The university says it will conduct an internal review of the entire medical education process, not just the areas the LCME expressed concerns about.

The university says it plans to appeal the recommendation. A final decision on that appeal will be made in February.

Dr. Steven Scheinman, the dean of the College of Medicine, resigned on Thursday. Dr. David Duggan, who served as associate vice president for clinical affairs, has been named interim dean.

Statement from Upstate Medical University:

The accrediting organization for the College of Medicine, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) has informed us that accreditation will continue for the educational program for the MD degree in the College but that it has recommended the program be placed on probationary status. The university has the opportunity to appeal this recommendation, and will do so vigorously. A final decision on that appeal will be made in February 2012.

At this point this is only a recommendation and the medical education program remains accredited. Even it the appeal is upheld, the program remains accredited.

The LCME concerns fall into three main areas. They expressed concern about our governance of the curriculum, and the management of the clinical clerkships, including the comparability of the educational experience at the two campuses and at the RMED sites, and the lack of timely mid-clerkship feedback and delays in final grade submission. The final concerns relate to very specific policies and communication regarding those policies (for example, inconsistent communication to visiting students about what to do in case of occupational exposure).

Today President Smith announced to the campus that Steven J. Scheinman, M.D., has stepped down as dean of the College of Medicine effective at the close of business today, and David Duggan, M.D., associate vice president for clinical affairs, has been named interim dean. Scheinman remains on the faculty.

President Smith announced this leadership change this morning:

"As we chart a new direction, I have accepted Dr. Scheinman's resignation as dean, effective at the close of business today. Dr. David Duggan, associate vice president and vice dean for Clinical Affairs, and a College of Medicine alumnus, will be serving as interim. Dr. Lynn Cleary, vice president for Academic Affairs, will be reporting to me and I have authorized her to recruit an experienced project manager to help guide us through a successful LCME response.

"Moving forward, we also will engage in a thorough internal review of the medical education process, not just the areas cited in the report.

"The LCME recommendation only affects the medical education program and the College remains fully accredited. Our other colleges and residency, research, and clinical programs are not affected.

"As we will work to improve our processes, the quality of our students and faculty is not in question. That is reflected in the outstanding accomplishments of our students and graduates and in the achievements of our faculty. It's worth repeating that our University was recently accredited with commendation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and that our students meet and exceed the national average in licensure examinations and residency placements.