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For Release: December 12, 2011
Contact: David Corriveau 603-653-1978

Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock earn 'accreditation with commendation' for Continuing Medical Education program

Mary G. Turco, EdD, and Richard I. Rothstein, MD

Lebanon, NH—The continuing education program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) and Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) has received accreditation with commendation for being a "change agent" in advancing the continued learning of physicians and health professionals.

The recognition of the Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences (CCEHS) comes from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

In addition to extending Dartmouth's accreditation for six years - the maximum term - the council commended the program for "not only meeting the ACCME accreditation requirements, but for demonstrating that yours is a learning organization and a change agent for the physicians you serve." The Dartmouth-Hitchcock system includes DMS, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in nearby White River Junction, VT.

"This designation places our collective academic organizations in the top tier of accredited programs in the country, including Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford," says Richard I. Rothstein, MD, Associate Dean for Continuing Education and interim chair of the Department of Medicine at DMS. "This is a significant academic achievement for our organizations and reflects our and our colleagues' personal commitment to academic excellence in the best interest of our patients and their families, as well as our students and the health care professionals we serve."

As of 2011, the CCEHS has provided academic credit to more than 22,000 health-care professionals, primarily from northern New England as well as from across the United States and around the world. Dartmouth-accredited activities in which learners participate include courses, conferences and symposia, regularly scheduled series of grand rounds and case conferences - such as morbidity and mortality rounds and tumor boards - and use of materials online. In 2011, the Center certified more than 3,000 hours of teaching in almost 200 activities, under the direction of clinician-faculty and researchers at DMS. Practicing health-care professionals are required to continue their educations to remain informed about evidence-based medicine, as well as to maintain their licenses and specialty certification.

"The ACCME's decision reflects the dedication of our faculty to improving patient outcomes through education," says Mary G. Turco, EdD, director of CCEHS and an assistant professor of medicine at DMS. "It is evidence of the strength of our program and commitment to patient-centeredness, as well as a reminder of Dartmouth's status as a leader in academic medicine."

The ACCME rigorously evaluates the overall continuing medical education programs of institutions according to standards adopted by seven sponsor organizations of the ACCME:

  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Medical Association
  • Association for Hospital Medical Education
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Council of Medical Specialty Societies
  • Federation of State Medical Boards of the US Inc.

In addition to the commendation, Rothstein and Turco announced to the Dartmouth medical community that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has selected Dartmouth as a site for its Aligning Education for Quality (ae4Q) program. This national initiative encourages programs of continuing medical education to use technology and innovative teaching methods to improve clinical outcomes, quality of service, and the experience of patients undergoing care.

"The AAMC has confidence that Dartmouth can lead the nation in developing offerings that link quality and education to practice improvement," Turco says. "We call this patient-centered learning. It is part of the solution to our national health care problems. You do not achieve change without education."


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