Medical school administrators mum on probation status

A month and a half after the School of Medicine and Health Sciences announced it had been placed on two-year academic probation, the school’s leaders remain silent about how one of the top-ranked medical schools in the nation found itself in such a situation and what they are doing to fix the problems.

GW’s medical school was placed on probation in October by its accrediting body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, for failing to correct several problems identified by the LCME in February. These included curriculum management, a lack of study and lounge space, faculty appointments at affiliate sites and affiliation agreements. GW is the only medical school in the country on probation with the LCME.

Deborah Hudson, the Medical School’s spokeswoman, said officials are working on reversing its probationary status within 12 months, but she declined to elaborate on any specific steps the school is taking other than creating additional study space.

“We don’t have anything to report now,” Hudson wrote in an e-mail last week.

Through Hudson, University Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs John “Skip” Williams and SMHS Dean James Scott have repeatedly declined to comment.

Williams and Scott addressed the probation at October’s Board of Trustees meeting, but they did not go into detail or stray far from the statement released by the medical school in October. The school has refused to make the full LCME report public.

Faculty members at GW Medical School said they learned of the LCME probation around the same time as students, though administrative officials were aware of the impending probation for months.

“We had a faculty meeting almost at the time when LCME required the medical school to announce that yes, we had been put on probation,” said Ajit Kumar, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics.

“So, in general, faculty found out at the time, although the administration was informed of the fact that they could be on probation and there were certain things required for us to do,” Kumar said. “Apparently when the LCME came back and found that those required items were not corrected, they essentially insisted that the administration declare to the students and faculty that we were on probation.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.