The Accreditation Organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) has been awarded the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Recognition Status for a period of ten years until November 2028. Beginning in 2023, eligibility for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and employment as a doctor in the United States will be restricted to graduates from medical schools/programmes accredited by an agency that is itself recognised by the WFME Recognition Programme or an equivalent standard. NVAO is the first quality assurance (QA) agency in Europe to receive this recognition.
The WFME recognition process is based on peer review. Evaluation of the application includes reviewing documentation, policies and procedures, followed by a site visit. An independent committee takes a decision based on the review report with reference to pre-defined criteria. Working on the WFME project, NVAO closely collaborated with the medical schools in Flanders and the Netherlands, including Saba in the Caribbean Netherlands. The schools co-financed the project given the importance of their medical graduates retaining access to the United States once the new regulations are in place in 2023.
NVAO’s experience shows that QA agencies and medical schools thinking about participating in the WFME Recognition Programme should take into account the involvement of many parties (such as the QA agency’s board and staff, medical schools and peer reviewers, and the WFME office and expert team), the timeline (including the site visit of a medical school/programme and its accreditation decision), and the costs amounting to nearly $100,000 (for the WFME fee and the site visit of the WFME team). NVAO is pleased to give more information regarding its WFME peer review process. Questions can be addressed to Michèle Wera at firstname.lastname@example.org.