Not a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach: The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates’ 2024 Accreditation Policy Encourages Local Context : Academic Medicine

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Not a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach: The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates’ 2024 Accreditation Policy Encourages Local Context

van Zanten, Marta PhD; Shiffer, Christine MBA; Gordon, David MA, MB

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doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003926
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To the Editor:

We thank Giuliani and colleagues 1 for their summary of the literature on the development of global medical curricula and for highlighting efforts in international quality assurance, including the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)’s 2023 policy (recently updated to 2024), which will require applicants for ECFMG Certification to be a student or graduate of an appropriately accredited medical school starting in 2024. 2 However, we disagree that necessitating appropriate accreditation will “create a mismatch with local needs.” 1

ECFMG’s 2024 policy requires that a medical school be accredited by an agency that is formally recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). 2 However, neither ECFMG nor WFME mandates the specific standards used by accrediting agencies, nor do they require or encourage that they be “Western accreditation standards.” The criteria for WFME recognition, B.5, stipulates that “The agency uses comprehensive standards for accreditation appropriate to basic medical education.” 3 The accrediting agency is free to set its own standards—provided the standards are comprehensive and reasonable for the context where the medical education takes place.

WFME provides a set of standards for basic medical education (updated in 2020) on its website 4 that an accreditation agency may use as a template. WFME explicitly encourages agencies that voluntarily use this template to modify the standards to meet local context. 3 WFME and ECFMG are committed to improving the quality of medical education worldwide and encouraging local relevance. 5

References

1. Giuliani M, Martimianakis MAT, Broadhurst M, et al. Motivations for and challenges in the development of global medical curricula: A scoping review. Acad Med. 2021; 96:449–459.
2. Shiffer CD, Boulet JR, Cover LL, Pinsky WW. Advancing the quality of medical education worldwide: ECFMG’s 2023 medical school accreditation requirement. J Med Regul. 2019; 105:8–16.
3. World Federation for Medical Education. Recognition criteria for agencies accrediting medical schools. https://wfme.org/download/wfme-recognition-programme-recognition-criteria-2018-revision/?wpdmdl=1956&refresh=5dcb2443576651573594179. Updated April 2019. Accessed January 4, 2021.
4. World Federation for Medical Education. Basic medical education WFME global standards for quality improvement. https://wfme.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/WFME-BME-Standards-2020.pdf. Updated December 2020. Accessed January 11, 2021.
5. Karle H, Christensen L, Gordon D, Nystrup J. Neo-colonialism versus sound globalization policy in medical education. Med Educ. 2008; 42:956–958.
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