CHAMPAIGN — The Carle Illinois College of Medicine has passed another big milestone on the way to becoming fully accredited.
University of Illinois officials announced Monday that the college has been granted provisional accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education after an in-depth review of educational and program quality standards.
Dr. King Li, dean of the medical school, said obtaining provisional accreditation was the second of three steps to becoming fully accredited next year. And for those who have spent years building this new college, it was exciting news.
Provisional accreditation affirms that a medical school meets nationally accepted standards of educational quality and can move forward building a sustainable medical-education program, Li said.
Getting to that point was no small task. This second step on the way to full accreditation was an extensive process, part of which included preparing more than 1,000 pages of supporting documentation and input obtained virtually from students and others, Li said.
Typically, a Liaison Committee on Medical Education team visits the campus in person, he said, but because of the pandemic, the process was conducted remotely.
“This is a great accom- plishment and another historic milestone for a groundbreaking new kind of medical school,” UI Chancellor Robert Jones said. “The post-COVID-19 world is going to need innovations in health care and medicine more than ever, and this is an important step in positioning Carle Illinois to lead the way.”
Launched in 2015, the school is a partnership between the UI and Carle Health creating what its leaders have called the world’s first medical college incorporating engineering and technology principles into medical education.
The college received preliminary accreditation in 2017 and recruited its first class of 32 students to begin the following year.
Iuliana Balascuta, assistant dean for accreditation and assessment, said a full accreditation survey generally takes place when the inaugural class is in its final year, which would be 2022. After that, medical training programs face a re-accreditation process every eight years.
Li said the medical school is already working on the lengthy report that must be submitted next January for the final step to earn full accreditation.
It’s an important process to ensure that graduates will be well prepared, he said.
“But we are very comfortable in saying we are preparing our students to be fully competent physicians and physician innovators,” Li said.
The new medical school has had great support from the university, Carle and the community, he said. And COVID-19 research and innovations to which the college faculty have contributed have been a benefit to the local community and beyond, he said.
COVID-19 has exposed the importance of addressing health disparities, Li said, and the medical school wants to continue to address those issues, and to establish a pipeline to get underrepresented minority students into the program.