cording to Hart. URM enrollment in U.S. dental programs has increased slightly since 1998 (see Chapter 1), but this increase may also be attributable to other efforts that the profession has undertaken to increase URM admission and enrollment (Hart, 2003).

Liaison Committee on Medical Education

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredits 142 medical education programs in the United States and Canada (the latter in conjunction with the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools). The LCME is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an accrediting agency for medical education programs, but not as an institutional accrediting agency. Therefore, LCME requires medical schools to attain institutional accreditation from a regional accrediting body if not already a component of a regionally accredited institution.

LCME standards are organized to reflect five broad standards:

  • Institutional Setting (with criteria related to governance and administration and academic environment);

  • Educational Programs (with criteria related to educational objectives, structure, teaching and evaluation, curriculum management, and evaluation of program effectiveness);

  • Medical Students (with criteria related to admissions policies and practices, student services, and the learning environment);

  • Faculty (with criteria related to number, qualifications, and functions, personnel policies, and governance); and

  • Educational Resources (with criteria related to finances, general facilities, clinical teaching faculties, and information resources and library services).

LCME standards, like those of many of the other professional accrediting bodies, are specific with regard to the use of language and the level of effort that medical schools are required to demonstrate in order to achieve compliance with the standards. In particular, LCME standards use the words “must” and “should” to reflect different areas of emphasis in program standards. “Use of the word ‘must’ indicates that the LCME considers meeting the standard to be absolutely necessary for the achievement and maintenance of accreditation. Use of the word ‘should’ indicates that compliance with the standard is expected unless these are extraordinary any justifiable circumstances that preclude full compliance” (LCME, 2002, p. ii).

Three LCME standards are directly related to student diversity and multicultural education and training. With regard to admissions policies,

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