Accreditation represents a periodic and integrated process of institutional self reflection and standards-based external review, two cornerstones of a self regulating profession in its social contract with the society it serves. The Canadian university offices of Continuing Medical Education are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME). CACME is a national committee supported through a partnership of five Canadian medical organizations.
A transparent and accountable process of accreditation will assure the profession and the public that they are being well served by the academic centres responsible for that long segment of the continuum of life-long-learning represented by the Continuing Medical Education / Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD). Successful accreditation will foster the high standards of performance expected of an academic institution.
CACME’s accreditation standards are conceived according to the belief that university CME/CPD offices are unique. They differ from other CME/CPD providers because they are based in publicly funded institutions and, as such, have a particular responsibility to address the health needs of society.
Being an integral part of university faculties of medicine /health sciences, CME/CPD offices have special and relevant roles to fulfill. They contribute to the continuum of learning within the medical schools through the provision of educational initiatives and services. They participate in assessment programs, remediation and retraining of physicians in practice. Also, they have a responsibility to contribute to the advancement of understanding through education research and other academic pursuits.
The CME/CPD offices are also unique in having to fulfill all these university-based roles while often having to generate much of their own support through registration fees and sponsorship. It is important that the accreditation process ensures that the CME/CPD offices are able to discharge their various responsibilities by assessing, among other factors, the sufficiency, sustainability and legitimacy of their resources.