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College of Medicine earns accreditation

By Dave Carriere
On February 13, 2013

A leap of faith has paid off for 41 students who took a chance on the fledgling UCF College of Medicine four years ago.

On Monday, President John C. Hitt and College of Medicine Dean Deborah German officially announced the colleges accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the national accrediting authority for all medical schools in the United States and Canada, after a thorough vetting process by the committee.

The accreditation means that those who graduate from the college can now go on to medical residencies and acquire their medical licenses.

The LCME accredits medical schools based on their ability to meet 131 standards in areas such as curriculum, student aptitude, faculty proficiency and financial validity.

The UCF College of Medicine joins 141 other LCME fully accredited medical schools in North America.

The first class of UCF medical students, who enrolled in August 2009, will graduate on May 17.

The 41 students in the charter class received a full scholarship, provided by community donors, for taking the risk of applying to a school that, at the time, wasnt fully accredited, said Wendy Sarubbi, UCF College of Medicine spokeswoman.

They took a risk, Sarubbi said. They were coming to a brand new medical school that wasnt accredited. Weve got awesome students that had that pioneering spirit and said, We wanna help create this new medical school.

In a speech Monday, Hitt acknowledged the hard work of the medical students as well as the generosity of the Central Florida community, from government and health care partners, particularly Orlando Health and Florida Hospital, to volunteer faculty members and scholarship donors, who funded and supported the colleges inception and growth.

Since accepting its first class of medical students, the college has accepted an increasing amount of students each year. Currently, there are about 280 students enrolled in the College of Medicine.

Sarubbi said when the college reaches full enrollment, it will train 480 medical students during a given year, with 120 students to each class.

LCME accreditation lasts eight years, starting from the time when a college receives its preliminary accreditation, which in UCFs case, was in 2009. After eight years, colleges have to be re-accredited.

Well go through accreditation again in probably two or three years, but the first one is the tough one to do because its everything that theyre looking at, Sarubbi said.

Johnny Quick, a second-year medical student at UCF, said he wasnt very worried that the college wouldnt be accredited, but when it was finally announced, it became one less thing in the back of his mind and allowed him to look ahead with confidence.

I was concerned about the accreditation before I applied, but once I looked into it more and I actually applied and came here for my interview and second look and everything, I wasnt really worried about it whatsoever, Quick said. I was made very comfortable, I asked all the questions and concerns and I ended up getting accepted here and chose to go here, and Im really happy with it. It was kind of in the back of all our minds, but I dont think any of us were too worried; we were more worried about passing our next tests.

The UCF College of Medicine is located in Lake Nona Medical City, a sprawling research and health care park that it shares with Nemours Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and aUniversity of Florida health research facility, among other institutions.

The College of Medicine building itself is 170,000 square feet and cost $65 million to build, according to a UCF release.

Weve gone from a pasture with cattle grazing to an emerging medical city [in Lake Nona], German said.

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