Dean’s Corner

LCME Accreditation and StandPoint

Richard DiCarlo, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Institutional Affairs

Most of you know that we have been preparing for our Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) reaccreditation survey visit, which is scheduled for this coming fall.  Faculty committees have met for the past year to collect and assemble data that demonstrate our compliance with LCME standards, and they are now finalizing their reports.

In addition to our reports, the LCME will review data from the Faculty Forward survey that we completed in the fall of 2015 (a national survey developed by the AAMC).  The LCME will also ask for follow-up data to see that we are monitoring progress.  The AAMC has changed the trademark name from Faculty Forward to StandPoint.  The follow-up StandPoint survey will be available later this month; it will be much shorter than the original (only 18 questions as opposed to 65 questions), and it will focus on areas in which faculty expressed the least satisfaction in the original survey.

The original survey revealed that faculty were most satisfied with the meaningful nature of their work, collegiality and collaboration, promotion of equality, and the relationship with their supervisor.  However, it also highlighted that faculty were least satisfied in the areas of departmental governance, school governance, professional growth, and clinical practice.  A faculty task force, developed in response to the original survey, looked more closely at the data in areas of lower satisfaction.

In the area of departmental governance, faculty expressed lower satisfaction overall with communication about departmental finances and participation in decision-making.  Departments were able to review their specific survey results, after which we facilitated departmental meetings to discuss the Faculty Forward findings at the departmental level, and to develop action plans for each department. Almost all departments participated.

In the area of school governance, the issues again related to communication about finances and decision-making.  The task force developed a special edition of The Pulse to explain school finances.  An updated edition of The Pulse – Finances will be released later this month to include information for fiscal year 2016 – 17.

In the area of professional growth, faculty expressed lower satisfaction with the pace of their professional advancement.  This concern is of particular importance to me as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Institutional Affairs.  In my first five months as associate dean for faculty, I have encountered frustration from both clinicians and basic scientists.  Demands on faculty for clinical productivity and teaching (within and outside the school of medicine) are increasing, and faculty have less time to devote to research and scholarship.

In response to the survey, the task force developed a learning module on faculty promotions and advancement, and also recommended some reorganization of the faculty development committee.  To fully address this concern I think we will need to take a serious look at how our promotion criteria compare to those of other schools, and consider revising them to make academic advancement a more realistic possibility for faculty whose roles are primarily clinical work or education.  Lack of advancement contributes greatly to the burnout and frustration of hard working faculty; a national problem not unique to LSU. Discussions about how to improve this concern will be multi-pronged and involve the Appointments and Promotions Committee, Faculty Assembly, Administrative Council, and many others.  While much of my time over the next few months will be devoted to LCME preparations, the concern about faculty development will be my top priority after the survey visit.

Finally, faculty expressed lower satisfaction in the area of clinical practice, particularly with regard to communication about the financial status of clinical practice sites, input into administrative decisions, and responsiveness to physician requests.  Looking more closely at the data, faculty at UMC expressed lower satisfaction.  I think some of this was related to the fact that the survey was conducted only a few months after the hospital opened. Our relationship with UMC has improved greatly in the last 18 months with the naming of several service line directors, strategic recruitments, frequent visits to faculty and departmental meetings by Mr. Masterton, and active involvement of our faculty on hospital committees.

We had close to a 70% response rate on the original Faculty Forward survey, a stronger showing than most schools.  The follow-up StandPoint survey will open sometime later this month, and we hope to have an equally strong participation rate.  The survey will remain open for about 6 weeks.  It will collect some demographic information, and then contain only 18 questions that address the issues discussed above.  This follow-up is earlier than we would like (less than 2-years since the original survey), but this shortened time period is necessary in order to have data for the LCME.  We will continue working toward improvement in these areas, but we would greatly appreciate your participation, as it is important for our accreditation.