FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine has been granted full accreditation, fulfilling a promise university leaders made to build a public medical school in Miami committed to training a new generation of physicians.
The announcement comes as theWertheim College of Medicine graduates its first class of students, who are now eligible for medical residency programs.
“FIU can now move forward in providing a high quality medical education,” said Albert Maury, chairman of the FIU Board of Trustees. “We are well on our way to building a world-class medical school.”
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) awarded full accreditation today, saying the College of Medicine had met all of the required steps to become a full-fledged medical school.
“With this accreditation we honor the commitment we made to the Board of Governors, our governor and to the State Legislature to build a public state-of-the-art medical school dedicated to community health,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “This is the most important milestone in the history of our College of Medicine and one of the most significant moments in the history of FIU.”
This spring, the Wertheim College of Medicine will graduate its inaugural class of 33 students. Interviews are currently under way for its fifth class: 120 physician candidates will be chosen from 3,946 applicants.
“Accreditation allows our students to realize their dreams of becoming licensed medical doctors,” said Dr. John Rock, founding dean of the Wertheim College of Medicine and senior vice-president for health affairs at FIU. “I’m proud of our faculty, our students, our clinical partners and what we have built together – a medical school that educates clinically and culturally competent 21st century physicians.”
The LCME is the nationally-recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. All state licensing boards in the United States require graduation from an LCME-accredited school to be eligible for licensure as an allopathic physician.
Medical schools must complete a five-step process to become fully accredited by the LCME. The HWCOM has undergone this accreditation process in the fastest time possible.
Created amid pressing community health concerns and a projected critical shortage of physicians nationally, South Florida’s first public medical school opened its doors to students in 2009. It took a group of determined visionaries more than a decade to convince the Florida Board of Governors and the State Legislature to authorize the new college. Those instrumental in staying the course through the tough and lengthy process include former university trustee, optometrist, and philanthropist, Dr. Herbert Wertheim, who gave the school $20 million and his name; current FIU President (then provost) Mark Rosenberg; President Emeritus Modesto A. Maidique, and the Miami-Dade legislative delegation.