SMHS spends $1 million on upgrades

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences spent $1 million lifting the academic probation placed on it last year by its accrediting body, a medical school administrator said last week.

The SMHS was put on probation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education – the school’s accreditation board – in October 2008. The LCME cited problems in several areas, including curriculum management, lack of lounge and study space for students, and inadequate internal administrative processes. That probation was lifted earlier this month, after the LCME determined the medical school corrected the issues previously cited.

The school is only the fifth school since 1994 to be put on probation by the LCME.

Scott Schroth, senior associate dean for academic affairs in SMHS, estimated that $1 million and thousands of hours were spent ensuring the LCME would lift the school’s probation.

“I’m looking at the list of people who contributed to this. There are 74 different people who worked intensively on addressing these issues over the last 18 months,” Schroth said. “There is no way of telling how much time it took for all of these people, probably thousands of hours of work by staff, faculty and deans to address these issues.”

Funds were spent on renovating lounge space on the first and second floor of Ross Hall and the Himmelfarb library, along with the sixth floor of GW Hospital, Schroth said.

He added, however, that some of the changes made to try to get the school’s probation lifted were hard to put a price tag on. To correct the curriculum management issues cited by the LCME, for example, the SMHS created a curriculum database system, a project Schroth said was created with internal resources.

“The IT folks who build our Web site, grading systems and other reporting systems built the database,” Schroth said, adding that the IT employees were given the curriculum database software project as a top priority.

He added, “It took a lot of work, but obviously it was worth it both to improve the program and to get the probation lifted.”

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