Getting into medical school is competitive. Year after year, many countries have more applications submitted to their medical schools than they have slots available.  

As a result, many prospective medical students apply to and attend medical schools in another country. There are many fine medical schools throughout the world, so how should an applicant make his or her decision? Begin by choosing an accredited medical school which has met well-established medical education standards.

What are the benefits of medical school accreditation?

Meeting accreditation standards demonstrates that an institution has gone through a competitive analysis of global medical school standards, providing confidence that its curriculum is comparable to other well-established programs.

In addition to being an important quality indicator, many countries require that medical graduates applying for licensure in their jurisdictions earn their degrees from institutions with recognized medical school accreditation.

An accredited medical school has met the criteria of an objective accrediting body within the school’s geographic region or which may have been appointed by the medical school’s host country. This means that faculty have met certain qualifications, the curriculum has been fully vetted, and medical students have resources available to help them succeed in medical school and to prepare them for practice.

OUM Is An Internationally Accredited Medical School

OUM’s MD program is accredited by an international agency and recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), which enables graduates to apply to practice medicine in many countries throughout the world.

In April 2024, the WFME granted the Philippine Accrediting Association for Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU) recognition status for its accreditation of OUM in Samoa. This recognition ensures OUM’s global standing and retains opportunities for its graduates, ensuring their degree is internationally recognized.

PAASCU and the Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement indicating that SQA recognizes PAASCU’s accreditation of OUM.

OUM also satisfies the United States requirement that graduates of international medical schools who plan to practice in the US must earn their degree from a medical school whose accrediting body is recognized by WFME.

Who is OUM’s accreditor?

OUM was first accredited in 2010 by PAASCU, which at the time was one of the 21 medical school accrediting bodies worldwide deemed by the US Department of Education’s National Committee for Foreign Medical Education Accreditation (NCFMEA) to have standards comparable to those of the USA. That accreditation was renewed in 2015 and is valid through April 2025.

In 2018, the NCFMEA announced new criteria and PAASCU was required, as noted above, to undergo further accreditation of its own, prior to the end of 2024, in order for its accreditation of OUM to remain valid. The Recognition Status awarded in April of this year is valid through April 2033, pending annual monitoring of continued compliance. This Recognition Status is awarded for the Philippines and Samoa, as follows: “WFME Recognition Status confirms that the World Federation For Medical Education (WFME) is satisfied with the accreditation process, post-accreditation monitoring, and decision-making process of the PAASCU as it relates to basic medical education schools or programmes. WFME Recognition Status of an agency confers the understanding that the quality of medical education in its accredited schools is to an appropriate and rigorous standard.”

Why does accreditation matter?

Attending an accredited medical school means that your education will meet certain accepted standards and, together with other factors, may improve your chances of getting a better internship or residency training position. 

Medical licensing boards in many countries and their respective states require applicants to have attended an accredited medical school. If you are considering a new school or a school  not widely known, graduating from a medical school accredited by a NCFMEA-recognized body may help state medical boards evaluate your application for a license to practice.

Checking a school’s claim of accreditation

A medical school’s website generally will have accreditation information. But how do you verify its claims?

Some medical school websites may claim that the school is accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO is not an accrediting body. It publishes the World  Directory of Medical Schools which lists medical schools in each country at the request of their government. It does not grant accreditation or recognition to medical schools or its programs. 

Others may claim to be accredited by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) or the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). Neither of these organizations is an accrediting body, though both are committed to promoting excellence in international medical education. Among other activities, FAIMER maintains the International Medical Education Directory. The ECFMG certifies international medical graduates for entry into US graduate medical education and participates in the evaluation and certification of other physicians and healthcare professionals. For more information, visit www.faimer.org and www.ecfmg.org.

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