For Release: 18 March 2015
PAASCU Re-Accredits OUM for Five Years
Toleafoa Dr. Viali Lameko, OUM Vice Chancellor, Chris Dudley, OUM Director of Administration, join the PAASCU team (L-R), Dr. Alfaretta Reyes, Mrs. Concepcion Pijano, Dr. Herminia Torres, and Dr. Aurora Bauzon in front of the new TTM Hospital in Apia, Samoa.
Oceania University of Medicine has been granted formal re-accreditation for a five-year period by the Board of Directors of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) at its May 15, 2015, meeting.
When PAASCU first accredited OUM in 2010, the University gained the distinction of being the first and only internationally-accredited medical school in the South Pacific, and it remains so today.
“It has not been easy being first, but we are gratified that the hard work and determination of so many to create and sustain a high-quality medical education in conjunction with the vision and support of the Government of Samoa has resulted in our re-accreditation,” says Taffy Gould, Chair of the OUM Council and founder of the University.
“This is indeed another new chapter for the development of OUM going forward,” says OUM’s Vice Chancellor Toleafoa Dr. Viali Lameko. “It is also a reminder to us that we are not only on the right track in achieving our mission, but also to continue to strive for academic excellence, as a University.”
A final site visit in late April/early May by the four-member accreditation team to Apia, Samoa, and Pago Pago, American Samoa—where they toured hospital facilities and met with administrators, students, graduates, and government officials—culminated one year of self-study with additional site visits to New Zealand and the United States.
“The team recognized the considerable amount of time and effort exerted by the self-survey committees in putting together the comprehensive area reports. The team noted that the report was very candid in its explanations on the action taken and the self-survey ratings were realistic,” says Concepcion Pijano, PAASCU’s Executive Director.
More than 25,000 Miles, 1,500+ Pages, and Numerous Interviews
The team of reviewers—deans, faculty, and administrators of medical schools in the Philippines—traveled more than 25,000 miles on three one-week site visits and pored through 1,500 pages of reports and exhibits that detailed the University’s policies, procedures, and programs in eight areas: faculty, curriculum & instruction, clinical facilities, research, students, library, administration, and facilities and other resources. Site visitors met with students, alumni, faculty, and administrators responsible for those areas to confirm their effectiveness and to verify student satisfaction.
Reviewers commended the University on the experience and quality of OUM’s faculty, improvements made to the curriculum, the high-quality standards of the clinical training facilities, the University’s commitment to incorporating research into the curriculum, the diverse student profile of the University, the acquisition of Clinical Key as the library for students and the usage of it, and its recruitment and retention of competent administrators committed to the further development of the University.
PAASCU has four levels of accreditation. The University achieved the first level in 2010, and the current re-accreditation is at the second level for a period of five years. The third level emphasizes high standards in instruction and visible community service as well as strong traditions in research, faculty development, high performance of graduates, linkages with other schools, and/or extensive learning resources. The fourth and highest level of accreditation recognizes substantial, excellent outcomes in all areas.
Benefits of Accreditation
In addition to being able to call itself the first internationally-accredited medical school in the South Pacific, accreditation has made OUM eligible to compete for education and research grants from international organizations. In addition, philanthropic foundations offering student scholarships frequently require recipients to attend an accredited institution.
For students and faculty, accreditation demonstrates that OUM has met rigorous international standards, providing confidence that the 13-year-old OUM is comparable to well-established medical schools.
In the United States, accreditation is a requirement for licensure in some states and for many bank-offered student loans. It also is the first step in a process by the U.S. Department of Education to qualify students for government-backed student loans. PAASCU is one of 20 accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA), which reviews standards used by foreign countries to accredit medical schools and determines whether those standards are comparable to those used to accredit medical schools in the United States.
Founded in 1957, PAASCU is the world’s third oldest service organization that accredits academic programs to meet standards of quality education. Since 1991, PAASCU has been a full member of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education, which is composed of 200 accrediting agencies in more than 90 different countries. PAASCU also is a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network. In addition to NCFMEA, PAASCU is affiliated with the Washington, DC-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private, nonprofit national organization that coordinates accreditation activity in the United States, and a member of the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG), a forum for colleges, universities and accrediting organizations established in 2012 to address issues and challenges focused on quality and quality assurance in an international setting. For more information, visit www.paascu.org.ph.
Headquartered on the grounds of the National Hospital Complex in Apia, Samoa, Oceania University of Medicine has a current student body of approximately 150 from five countries and offers an MD degree to its graduates. Graduates are receiving their post-graduate residency and internship specialty training at teaching hospitals in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, and the United States. OUM is accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities, listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools—a joint publication of the Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research and the World Federation for Medical Education, and recognized by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. For more information about OUM, visit www.oum.edu.ws.
Editor’s Note: Media should contact Chris Dudley at