International Recognition of Accreditors

Chicago, IL
March 15, 2007

The ACCME has had a longstanding interest in assisting the medical education systems of other nations, or regions, of the world in their efforts to develop their own continuing medical education accreditation system.

In the past, this ACCME support has most often been provided through collegial interactions between ACCME senior staff and those persons responsible for emerging, or developing, CME accreditation systems.

The ACCME is now implementing a system for the recognition of certain non-U.S. continuing medical education accreditors based on documents developed through collaborations with other CME accreditors , specifically, "A Framework for Establishing Substantial Equivalency between Continuing Medical Education Accreditation Organizations" (created in collaboration with the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada in 2002) and the "Consensus on Basic Values and Responsibilities Underlying the Substantial Equivalency of CME and CPD Systems" (created in collaboration by several North American and European CME leaders in 2004).

At the ACCME, "Recognition of non-US continuing medical education accreditors" will be based on substantial equivalency of accreditors. Our engineering colleagues[1] state that "substantial equivalency means the program is comparable in educational outcomes, but may differ in format or method of delivery" and that "substantial equivalency is not accreditation."

The 2002 Canadian - U.S. agreement states that substantial equivalency of accreditors "is a relationship that exists when accreditors deem their systems to be based on a set of agreed upon shared principles and values and are carried through and operationalized accordingly.  In substantial equivalency, a significant amount of commonality would be expected; however some differences would also be expected and accepted." The ACCME and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada first established their mutual recognition based on substantial equivalency in 1984.

The ACCME is looking forward to having the opportunity to establish, or renew, the substantial equivalency of the following established non-U.S. continuing medical education accreditation systems, if requested to do so.

The Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and any successor organization.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
The European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education of the European Union of Medical Specialty Societies.

A Voluntary Service to Colleague Organizations: This process is offered to assist emerging, developing or established accreditation systems through their participation in a self-directed self-assessment and criterion referenced, objective peer review process. ACCME is offering this as a service not as a requirement.

Eligibility of Additional Organizations:  Will be determined by the ACCME on a case-by-case basis. Only bona fide national, or international, CME accreditation systems will be considered for eligibility. 

Procedure for the ACCME Recognition of Substantial Equivalency of Non-U.S. Continuing Medical Education Accreditors:  The ACCME will make a criterion-referenced decision based on detailed information submitted in writing and confirmed through a face-to-face survey process and associated documentation. Recognition will only be granted for systems that have actually been implemented. Although the documentation of policy that would lead to meeting criteria is essential -- there must also be conclusive evidence that verifies implementation. The first term of Recognition will be two years renewable for an additional two years upon submission of satisfactory progress report(s) demonstrating continuing demonstration of substantial equivalency. Fees may apply.

Decision making:  As for other decisions at the ACCME, the recognition of substantial equivalency will be based on an action of the Board of Directors of ACCME.

Inquiries should be directed to,

Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc
President and Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
515 North State Street, Suite 1801
Chicago, Illinois USA 60654
p312 527 9200
f 312 410 9026

[1] From accessed March 9, 2007


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