Posted on February 20, 2016

The College of Medicine at Qatar University (CMED-QU) organized and hosted a regional symposium last Thursday to discuss the accreditation of medical colleges across the Middle East region.

Attending the forum were QU VP for medical education and CMED dean Dr Egon Toft, 18 leaders of regional medical colleges, as well as senior representatives from Qatar Supreme Council for Health (SCH) and Supreme Education Council (SEC), Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), World Health Organization (WHO), World Federation of Medical Education (WFME), Association for Medical Education in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (AMEEMR), UAE Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA), American University of Beirut (AUB), and Saudi National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment (NCAA).

WFME president Prof David Gordon presented his thoughts on Future Directions of Accreditation of Medical Colleges while AMEEMR president Prof Ibrahim Alwan reflected on Accreditation of Medical Colleges in the EMRO Region, and CAA director Prof Badr Aboud Ela discussed the UAE experience in Accreditation of Higher Education Universities and Programs. Presentations on the current status of Accreditation of Health Profession Education in Qatar and Bahrain were also given by SCH acting CEO Dr Samar Abou Al Soud, and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Bahrain president Prof Sameer Otoom and Arabian Gulf University vice-president Prof Khaled Tabbara, respectively.

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Expert groups further discussed recommendations and future directions concerning accreditation of medical education in the region. Dr Toft said: “The topic of accreditation will gain increasing importance as the College strives to measure its academic quality against objective international standards.” He further noted that for medicine, accreditation bodies in the USA, Canada, Australia, and European countries accredit colleges within their geographic boundaries. Many countries in the region, including Qatar, do not currently have its own accreditation body for medical education; this is what makes this meeting so important.”

CMED associate dean for academic affairs Prof Hossam Hamdy explained that in the absence of an accrediting body for medical colleges in Qatar, the College established a number of approaches for quality assurance and program evaluation. “We follow WFME standards and our students follow an MD program that is fully aligned with international standards and that will prepare them to successfully sit for international licensing exams and to practice medicine anywhere in the world”, Dr Hamdy said.

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He noted that the College is expected to undergo 3 international program evaluation visits during the first 8 years - an initial visit at the end of Year 2, an interim visit at the end of Year 4, and a full program evaluation two years after graduating the first batch, adding that the College will make approaches to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) -- the accrediting body for educational programs at US and Canadian schools of medicine -- to visit the college and evaluate its programs against LCME standards. This is in addition to Qatar’s efforts to develop a national accreditation body through this meeting and other similar initiatives.