Letters to the Editor
We appreciate the comments offered by Drs. Hunt, Barzansky, and Sabalis. However, they imply that our objective in the article was to “dispel these perceptions by analyzing certain aspects of accreditation across the two professions.” Instead, we aimed our article at the broader topics of accreditation rather than at this one issue and attempted, in a limited way, to determine whether the standards “and other issues could help account for real or perceived quality differences between the two types of medical schools”1 [italics added].
Hunt and colleagues next maintain that the accreditation standards presented in the article overlook a number of significant issues. This is true; however, to explore all of the accreditation standards would have produced a formal, in-depth article of significant length and beyond that which is usually published in Academic Medicine. As an example, several years ago, one of us (D.L.W.) did a side-by-side analysis of accreditation standards used by MD and DO accrediting agencies. That document was 43 pages long! We feel that the standards we presented in our article are representative of certain important areas of accreditation.
We could, of course, as Hunt and colleagues have done, have pointed out certain COCA standards that are not present in the LCME standards and that may lead to enhanced quality as well, but that would have been both lengthy and counterproductive. To be fair to both the LCME and the COCA, we hope that Academic Medicine or some other publication might consider publishing a lengthy review article on the topic of both groups' standards and how they may affect educational quality.
Hunt and colleagues make clear that they fully understand that our article is “only a small part of the analysis” that might produce some answers relative to educational quality. If what we wrote does nothing else but raise awareness of the quality issue in medical education and the importance for both groups to constantly assess their accreditation standards in a collaborative and constructive manner, then we have accomplished our objective.
Douglas L. Wood, DO, PhD
Dean, School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Mesa, Arizona; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marc B. Hahn, DO
Senior vice president for health affairs and dean, College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine.
1 Wood DL, Hahn MB. Accreditation standards of osteopathic and allopathic medical schools: Could they affect educational quality? Acad Med. 2009;84:724–728.