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Several Concerns at University of Missouri Medical School

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― The University of Missouri School of Medicine is noncompliant in several areas and must address them within two years to maintain its accreditation, according to a report by a national group that accredits medical degree programs.

Among the findings in a June report by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education is that the number of Missouri medical students who reported experiencing gender discrimination is twice as high as the national average. The report was obtained recently by the Columbia Missourian through a Sunshine Law request.

The committee also found the school noncompliant regarding diversity programs, student mistreatment, curricular management and affiliation agreements, according to the 497-page report. The school also needs monitoring in leadership, strategic planning, student observations, building renovations and assessments, according to the report.

The committee could put the school on probation if it doesn’t make progress toward the standards within a year and the school could lose accreditation if it doesn’t make progress within two years. Normally, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education operates on an eight-year accreditation cycle.

In a written statement, Medical School Dean Patrice Delafontaine said the school was aware of many of the issues before the report was created and he is proud of the school for receiving full accreditation.

“We take the LCME’s recommendations very seriously,” Delafontaine said. “To that end, we have assembled a task force comprised of medical students, faculty and staff that is dedicated to continuous quality improvement in general, as well as to making specific quality improvements cited in the survey.”

The committee met with administrators, faculty and students during a visit to the medical school in January.

The committee found that about 14 percent of Missouri medical students said they had been denied opportunities based on gender at least once, compared to the national average of about 6 percent, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. About 43 percent of students said they had experienced public humiliation at least once, compared with the national average of about 19 percent and about 22 percent said they were subjected to offensive or sexist remarks at least once; the national average is about 14 percent.

Students’ specific examples of mistreatment were redacted from the report by the university.

The school last fall created a committee to review mistreatment reports, said Missouri Health spokeswoman Diamond Dixon.

The school’s lack of diversity among faculty and students isn’t a new problem. The school was deemed noncompliant in diversity in 2008, when the committee granted the school full accreditation. However, the number of Black students in the medical school has dropped from 5 percent to 3.3 percent and more than a third of students said they weren’t satisfied with the school’s student diversity.

Delafontaine must submit an action plan to the committee by Dec. 1, including a letter and detailed list of the steps that will be taken.

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