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Dell Med Earns Full Accreditation, Paving the Way for its First Graduation in May

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Dell Medical School Dean Clay Johnston speaking with students inside the school.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dell Medical School at The University of Texas has received full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) – a significant milestone for the school, which will graduate its first class of medical students this May.

To achieve full accreditation, medical schools must satisfy 12 established standards, each with numerous elements and an extensive self-evaluation process, all of which are designed to ensure that their education programs are qualified to award the Doctor of Medicine degree.

“Today we celebrate a crucial milestone in the evolution of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas,” said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. “With full accreditation, the medical school is now poised to confer degrees upon a group of physicians who will serve our communities and help set a new standard for excellence in medicine and health care.”

Dell Med is the first medical school in nearly 50 years to be built from the ground up at a top-tier U.S. research university. It joins 172 other U.S. and Canadian medical schools that have received full accreditation from the LCME.

This news builds on another essential milestone when in 2011, state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) topped his list of “10 Goals in 10 Years” with building a medical school to improve the health of Central Texans. Travis County voters embraced this vision, and in November 2012 took the unprecedented step of approving a property tax increase to create and invest in a new medical school.

“We’ve come quite a long way from imagining a medical school here, and it’s an amazing feeling to see Dell Med flourish from an idea into a full-blown reality, thanks to the invaluable input and commitment of so many people in our community,” said Sue Cox, M.D., executive vice dean of academics and chair of the Department of Medical Education at Dell Med.

Cox led the multiyear process of attaining LCME accreditation, which included submitting a rigorous self-evaluation and involved thousands of hours and more than 100 faculty members, staff members and partners to cross the finish line.

“We have been recruiting physicians to serve as leaders who are as comfortable taking on the biggest challenges in health care as they are caring for the most vulnerable patients,” said Cox, whose team designed Dell Med’s innovative Leading EDGE Curriculum focused on value-based health care, team-based learning, space for self-discovery, expanded clinical opportunities, and more.

Dell Med earned preliminary accreditation in 2015, which allowed it to recruit its first class of medical students.

“There is an incredible amount of effort that got us to this point, which represents an achievement for Dell Med, UT Austin and our community,” said Clay Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., Dell Med’s inaugural dean and vice president for medical affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We are especially grateful to our many community partners, including the community physicians who helped us shape our curriculum and serve as preceptors for our students. This has truly been a collaborative effort,” Johnston said. “I’m also so proud that we have created an entirely new model for a medical school curriculum, one that is already spreading to other institutions,” he said.

LCME accreditation allows Dell Med students to accomplish critical steps in their career development, including:

  • Taking the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).
  • Becoming eligible for residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
  • Earning a state board license, for most students.

Dell Med’s next milestone is expected on March 20, known as “Match Day,” when members of the Class of 2020 will learn where they will continue their medical training as residents. On May 21, Dell Med will graduate its first class.