Accreditation Status of U.S. Military Graduate Medical Education Programs

De Lorenzo, Robert A.
July 2008
Military Medicine;Jul2008, Vol. 173 Issue 7, p635
Academic Journal
Context: Military graduate medical education (GME) comprises a substantial fraction of U.S. physician training capacity. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed substantial stress on military medicine, and lay and professional press accounts have raised awareness of the effects on military GME. To date, however, objective data on military GME quality remains sparse. Objective: Determine the accreditation status of U.S. military GME programs. Additionally, military GME program data will be compared to national (U.S.) accreditation lengths. Design: Retrospective review of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) data. Participants: All military-sponsored core programs in specialties with at least three residencies were included. Military-affilliated but civilian-sponsored programs were excluded. Outcome measures: The current and past cycle data were used for the study. For each specialty, the current mean accreditation length and the net change in cycle was calculated. National mean accreditation lengths by specialty for 2005 to 2006 were obtained from the ACGME. Comparison between the overall mean national and military accreditation lengths was performed with a z test. All other comparisons employed descriptive statistics. Results: Ninety-nine military programs in 15 specialties were included in the analysis. During the study period, 1 program was newly accredited, and 6 programs had accreditation withdrawn or were closed. The mean accreditation length of the military programs was 4.0 years. The overall national mean for the same specialties is 3.5 years (p < 0.01). In previous cycles, 68% of programs had accreditation of 4 years or longer, compared to 70% in the current cycle, while 13% had accreditation of 2 years or less in the previous cycle compared to 14% in the current cycle. Ten (68%) of the military specialties had mean accreditation lengths greater than the national average, while 5 (33%) were below it. Ten (68%) specialties had stable or improving cycle lengths when compared to previous cycles. Conclusion: Military GME accreditation cycle lengths are, overall, longer than national averages. Trends show many military programs are experiencing either stable or slightly lengthening accreditation compared to previous cycles. A few specialties show a declining trend. There has been a modest 5% decline in the number of military core residency programs since 2000.


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