Intealth ECFMG

Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

Recognized Accreditation Policy


Overview


In 2010, ECFMG instituted medical school accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency as a future requirement for ECFMG Certification. The goal of this initiative, now known as the Recognized Accreditation Policy, is to stimulate accreditation efforts worldwide and promote global standards for the evaluation of undergraduate medical education.

The progress to date has been dramatic. Many accrediting agencies have sought recognition, enhancing the quality of medical education around the world.

ECFMG continues to hold medical school accreditation as vitally important to ensuring the quality of medical education and, ultimately, patient care. ECFMG plans to launch the policy in 2024 in a way that both maintains the importance of medical school accreditation by a recognized agency and acknowledges that global events have disrupted key aspects of the accreditation and recognition processes. When the policy is initially implemented in 2024, it will not be a requirement for ECFMG Certification.

The information on this page is current as of October 12, 2022, the date of the most recent update to the implementation plan, and reflects the following:

  • Initial implementation of the Recognized Accreditation Policy will begin in 2024 as planned.
  • Initial implementation will involve reporting a medical school’s recognized accreditation status in the World Directory of Medical Schools and in the ECFMG Status Reports for IMGs who apply to U.S. training positions using the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®).
  • Initial implementation will not impede an individual's eligibility for ECFMG Certification.
  • At the current time, the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) and the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) of the U.S. Department of Education are approved by ECFMG for the recognition of medical school accrediting agencies.

The Recognized Accreditation Policy will continue to evolve at ECFMG’s sole discretion. The requirements of the policy are in addition to all other policies related to ECFMG Certification. Applicants and other interested stakeholders are encouraged to check this web page frequently for updates.

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Recognized Accreditation


“Recognized accreditation” means that the accrediting agency of a medical school has itself been reviewed and recognized by an external quality assurance organization. This quality assurance/recognition organization, in turn, has been reviewed and approved by ECFMG. Only medical schools accredited by an agency that is recognized by an organization approved by ECFMG will satisfy the requirements of the Recognized Accreditation Policy.

In addition to the above, the school must have met ECFMG’s Medical School Requirements, as indicated by the Sponsor Note in the school’s World Directory listing.

At the current time, accrediting agencies recognized by either WFME or NCFMEA fulfill the requirements of the Recognized Accreditation Policy.

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Approved Recognition Organizations


To date, ECFMG has approved two organizations for the recognition of medical school accrediting agencies. Medical schools accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by one of the following organizations satisfy the requirements of the Recognized Accreditation Policy.

  • The WFME Recognition Programme is designed to provide an independent, transparent and rigorous method of ensuring that the accreditation of medical schools worldwide is at an internationally accepted and high standard. WFME evaluates the compliance of accrediting agencies with pre-defined criteria. Based on guidelines developed by the World Health Organization and WFME, these criteria are intended to provide sufficient flexibility for the development of accreditation standards that fit the context of a country’s medical education system.

    A list of accrediting agencies recognized by WFME and the countries served by these agencies is available here .

  • NCFMEA is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate the accreditation standards applied by a country to its medical schools and to determine the comparability of those standards to those applied to U.S. medical schools. A NCFMEA determination of comparability is required for a country’s medical schools to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program. For a country to be eligible for a comparability determination or redetermination, at least one of its accredited medical schools must enroll U.S. citizens, and at least one accredited medical school must become certified to participate in the loan program within six years of the comparability determination.

    A list of countries and agencies that have received a determination of comparability by NCFMEA is available here .

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Implementation


Initial implementation of the Recognized Accreditation Policy will begin in 2024. Initial implementation will involve reporting of a medical school’s recognized accreditation status. This reporting is for information purposes only and will not impede an individual’s eligibility for ECFMG Certification.

  • If a medical school meets the Recognized Accreditation Policy, this will be indicated on the Sponsor Notes tab of the school’s listing in the World Directory of Medical Schools .
  • Similar information will be added to the ECFMG Status Reports provided for individuals applying to U.S. residency and fellowship programs through ERAS. ECFMG will collaborate with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which administers ERAS, to incorporate this information for the 2025 application season (i.e., for the 2025 Match).

Reporting on a medical school’s recognized accreditation status in the World Directory and in ECFMG Status Reports for ERAS applicants will provide valuable information to current and future medical students, U.S. residency/fellowship program directors, medical regulatory authorities, and others.

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More Information


ECFMG is committed to keeping all stakeholders informed as we move forward with the Recognized Accreditation Policy. Please monitor this web page for the latest information. Specific questions regarding the policy may be sent to rap@ecfmg.org.

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Resources


The documents below provide background regarding the rationale and development of the policy.

2022 Update

2020 Journal Article

Past Progress Updates

2010 Press Release

Background Document

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[Last update: October 12, 2022]

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