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Content Category: Accreditation

Accreditation

COCA Meetings

Leading the way

Upcoming and past COCA meetings

COCA reviews site visit reports, change requests and other items pertaining to the accreditation of osteopathic medical schools.

The AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the accreditor of colleges of osteopathic medicine. COCA members meet periodically to review site visit reports, change requests and other items pertaining to the accreditation of osteopathic medical schools.


Upcoming meetings

Aug. 26-28, 2021 | Hybrid

COCA will meet to consider adjudicate applications for pre-accreditation and substantive changes and review progress reports and site visit reports.

The non-voting agenda will be posted approximately two weeks before the meeting.

Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine that will be reviewed:

  • Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine
    Substantive change request: Additional location – pre-operational site visit
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Comprehensive site visits
  • California Health Science University COM 
    Progress report
  • Rocky Vista University COM
    Substantive change request: Additional location
  • Proposed Kansas COM
    Pre-accreditation application
  • Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Substantive change request: Change of ownership
  • Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Substantive change requests: Change of ownership, additional location and planned size increase, and planned class size increase

The open session portion of the meeting will lbe open to the public and broadcast in a non-interactive live stream webinar format. The Zoom registration links for each day of the meeting will be posted on this website 30 days before the meeting. The executive session portions of the meeting will be closed to the public.

Attendee links

Third party comments

For the August 2021 COCA meeting, the COCA will receive, review, and consider third-party comments regarding accreditation actions, and requests for substantive change. Comments must be provided in writing and must indicate to which college of osteopathic medicine (COM) the comment is addressed and a general overview of the comments to be made. Persons wishing to present third-party testimony at the meeting must provide written notice by July 30, 2021, and written testimony must be received by Aug. 6, 2021.

Comments must be focused on potential areas of noncompliance with accreditation standards/elements or other related matters that could impact the school’s ability to provide a quality program.

Employees and students of the COM under consideration may not submit third-party comment. While the comment document must identify the commenter, the COCA will maintain the identity of the individual in a confidential manner.

Although persons wishing to present third-party commentary are not required to present oral testimony, it is expected that all third-party testimony will include a written portion. The COM will be notified of the third-party presentation and will receive a copy of the written comments so that they can have an opportunity to comment.

Please submit any third-party comments, or notice of any third-party testimony, or questions to predoc@osteopathic.org.

Dec. 3-5, 2021

Check back for additional information closer to the meeting.


Past meetings

April 15-17, 2021

Virtual Meeting (Zoom)

Dec. 4-6, 2020

Virtual Meeting (Zoom)


Final actions

 

View all final actions taken by the commission at past meetings dating back to 2011:

Accreditation

COCA Staff

Who what where

Contact COCA staff by phone or email

Here's how to reach staffers from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).

Jed Brinton, JD
Secretary, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
142 E. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2864
jbrinton@osteopathic.org

Wambui Wang’ombe
Associate Vice President – Operations
(312) 202-8162
wwangombe@osteopathic.org

Daniel Mendelson, MS, CAE
Director of Accreditation
(312) 202-8095
dmendelson@osteopathic.org

Ellen L. Craft, MBA, MHRM, MPA
Program Manager
(312) 202-8046
ecraft@osteopathic.org

Cailie Swillum
Data Reports Specialist
(312) 202-8177
cswillum@osteopathic.org

Accreditation

Accreditation Guidelines

Medical education

Ensuring high academic standards and continuous quality improvement

Access the COCA handbook and accreditation resources for current, new and developing colleges of osteopathic medicine.

The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. COCA serves the public by establishing, maintaining and applying accreditation standards and procedures to ensure that academic quality and continuous quality improvement delivered by the colleges of osteopathic medicine reflect the evolving practice of osteopathic medicine.

Accreditation signifies that a college of osteopathic medicine has met or exceeded the COCA standards with respect to mission, goals and objectives; governance, administration and finance; facilities, equipment and resources; faculty, student admissions, performance, and evaluation; preclinical and clinical curriculum; and research and scholarly activity.

COCA Handbook and Policies

COCA Handbook

Complaint Review Procedures

Complaint Form

Policies and Procedures

Accreditation Services for Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

COCA Progress Report Procedures

Site Visit Team On-Site Requirements

Mid-cycle Report Instructions and Schedule

Accreditation Services for New and Developing COMs

Application for New Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

Accreditation

Accreditation Standards

Policy updates

COCA updates standards for continuing and new colleges of osteopathic medicine

Access COCA standards for continuing COMs and for new and developing COMs, as well as the substantive change policies and procedures.

Accreditation Standards

On June 25, 2019, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) approved the 2019 accreditation standards for continuing COMs and for new and developing COMS, as well as the evidentiary submissions that accompany those standards. The revised standards are effective July 1, 2019.

All COMs with continuing accreditation must comply with the 2019 accreditation standards beginning July 1, 2020, although COMs with continuing accreditation may voluntarily begin to comply with the revised 2019 accreditation standards beginning July 1, 2019, if their current circumstances permit.

New and developing COMs, whose applications are for either candidate status or pre-accreditation status, must complete their current phase of the respective application processes under the 2017 standards. Once that phase of the development process is achieved, a new and developing COM must comply with the 2019 revised standards for the next phase of the accreditation process.

All COMs and new and developing COMs are expected to comply with the 2019 revised accreditation standards by July 1, 2020.

Disclaimer: The Standards of Accreditation document is edited and revised periodically by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), and is, therefore, subject to change without notice. Inquiries concerning changes to the document and requests for the current version of the document should be sent to the Department of Accreditation via email to predoc@osteopathic.org. By requesting this document, the user acknowledges that he/she has reviewed this disclaimer and understands its terms.

These newly formatted documents include both a bookmarked table of contents, as well as a linked table of contents within the PDF document for easier use.

Please note that the evidentiary submissions documents for continuing COMs and for new and developing COMs have been incorporated into the respective Standards documents, and the evidentiary submission document for substantive procedures has been incorporated as an appendix into the Substantive Change Policies and Procedures document. Samples of the tables referenced in the evidentiary submissions are provided below. Spreadsheets for entering the requested data will be provided through the COCA-online platform when an application/report is initiated.

The COM Substantive Change Policies and Procedures dated July 1, 2017 are still applicable.

The 2020 Substantive Change Policies and Procedures will be effective for reviews submitted on or after Aug. 1, 2021.

You can access the 2017 COCA Standards below.

Page Last Updated: February 2021

Accreditation

COCA Reports to AOA House of Delegates

Year in review

Examining the growth of osteopathic medical education one year at a time

The following reports reflect actions taken by the Commission of Osteopathic College Accreditation for the prior fiscal year.


Accreditation

COCA Members

Change leaders

Meet the members of the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA)

COCA oversees accreditation standards and procedures for colleges of osteopathic medicine.


2020-21 COCA membership roster

David A. Forstein, DO, FACOOG, Chair
Provost, Rocky Vista University
Board of Directors, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
Denver, CO
GME Leader (2020-23)
COCA Executive Committee Member

John M. Kauffman, Jr., DO, FACOI, FACP, Vice Chair
Dean and Chief Academic Officer
The proposed Duquesne University- College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pittsburgh, PA
Dean (2019-22)
COCA Executive Committee Member

Juan F. Acosta, DO, MS, FACOEP-D, FACEP
Associate Medical Director
Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center
Secretary/Treasurer, Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators
Smithtown, NY
GME Leader (2018-21)

Susan Belanger, PhD, MA, RN, NEA-B
System Ethicist
Covenant Health
Tewksbury, MA
Public Member (2018-21)

Jacob Berg, OMS IV
Student
A.T. Still University, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Mesa, AZ
Student – Nominated by COSGP (2020-21)

William T. Betz, DO, MBA, FACOFP, dist.
Director, American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians
Naples, FL
Osteopathic Physician at Large (2019-22)

Linda Boyd, DO
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine
Family medicine specialist
Stratford, NJ
Osteopathic Physician at Large (2019-22)

Michael B. Clearfield, DO, FACOI, FACP
Dean
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine-CA
Vallejo, CA
Dean (2019-22)

Jennifer L. Gwilym, DO, FACOFP, FAAFP
Assistant Dean, Southeastern and Central Ohio
Ohio University-Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Athens, OH
Educator: Biomedical Science COM Faculty (2020-23)

Lori A. Kemper, DO, MS, FACOFP
Dean
Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Family medicine specialist
Glendale, AZ
Osteopathic Physician at Large (Transitional to Postdoctoral Trainee) (2020-23)

Brian A. Kessler, DO, FACOFP
Vice President and Dean
Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Harrogate, TN
Dean (2019-21)

Janice A. Knebl, DO, MBA, FACOI, FACP
Director, Center for Geriatrics
DSWOP Endowed Chair and Professor in Geriatrics University of North Texas Health Science Center
Fort Worth, TX
Educator: Clinical Science COM Faculty (2018-21)
COCA Executive Committee Member

Samuel Loescher, OMS III
Student
Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
Meridian, ID
Student – Nominated by SOMA (2020-22)

J. William McCord, Jr., DO, FAAFP
McCord Anesthesia and Consulting
Past Chair, Federation of State Medical Boards
Huntsville, AL
State Medical Licensing Board Member (2020-23)

Richard C. Osborn, MA, PhD
Retired
Alameda, CA
Public Member (2019-21)

Robyn Phillips-Madson, DO, MPH, FACOFP
Founding Dean
University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine
Family medicine specialist
San Antonio, TX
Osteopathic Physician at Large (Transitional to Student Services Representative) (2020-23)
COCA Executive Committee Member

Evelyn A. Schwalenberg, DO, FACP, FACOI, FNAOME
Associate Clinical Professor/Director Medical Student Clinical Education and Advising
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
Internal medicine specialist
Biddeford, ME
Osteopathic Physician at Large (2018-21)

Kayse M. Donnelly Shrum, DO
President and Dean
Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Tulsa, OK
Dean (2018-21)

Jane Sistek, RN, BSN, MPA
Nurse Surveyor
Health Care Facilities Accreditation Program
Sewell, NJ
Public Member (2019-22)

Jeffrey Stroup, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS
Chief Operating Officer
Oklahoma State University Medical Authority and Trust
Interim Provost and VP of Strategy
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Tulsa, OK
Hospital Administrator (2019-22)
COCA Executive Committee Member

James M. Turner, DO, FACOFP, FACO Retired
Emergency medicine specialist
Hattiesburg, MS
Osteopathic Physician at Large (2018-21)

AOA Staff to the Commission:
Jed Brinton, JD, Secretary, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation

Accreditation

COCA Final Actions

Shaping education

COCA announces accreditation decisions for colleges of osteopathic medicine

COCA establishes, maintains and applies accreditation standards and procedures.

The AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the accreditor of colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs). Accreditation from the COCA signifies that a college has met or exceeded the Commission’s standards for educational quality.

The following final actions have been taken by the commission:

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Accreditation

Third-Party Comments

Your voice matters

The AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) welcomes any written or oral third-party comments at its meetings

COCA will receive, review and consider third-party comments in regard to accreditation action, request for substantive change or request to enter into a teach-out agreement. Written notice must indicate to which college of osteopathic medicine (COM) the comment is addressed and a general overview of the comments to be made.

Persons wishing to present third-party testimony at a meeting must provide written notice 30 days prior to the meeting they wish to attend. Although persons wishing to present third-party commentary are not required to present oral testimony, it is expected that all third-party testimony will include a written portion. The COM will be notified of the third-party presentation and will receive a copy of the written comments so that they can have an opportunity to comment.

Notice of opportunity to comment will be provided with announcements of the meeting as issued on the AOA website, press releases from the AOA Communications Department and other vehicles as may be developed.

Please send any requests to submit third-party testimony or questions to predoc@osteopathic.org.

Accreditation

CME Sponsor Resources

Refining skills

Policies and procedures for osteopathic CME accreditation

The AOA's continuing medical education (CME) program strives for growth of knowledge, refinement of skills, and increased awareness of osteopathic medicine.

The AOA Board of Trustees establishes accreditation policy for osteopathic CME sponsors. The Bureau of Osteopathic Education has been delegated authority by the AOA Board of Trustees to review standards and procedures for accreditation of osteopathic CME sponsors.


Notice to ACCME and AAFP CME Providers

The AOA automatically recognizes AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ as AOA Category 2 credit. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) providers that are sponsoring an AMA PRA Category 1 ™ program do not need to request pre-approval from the AOA to publicize that their programs will receive AOA Category 2 credit.

Likewise, the AOA recognizes the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Prescribed and Elective credit as AOA Category 2 credit. Programs with AAFP Prescribed or Elective credit do not need to request pre-approval from the AOA to publicize that their programs will receive AOA Category 2 credit.

AOA-certified members may request that Category 2-A CME credit be recognized as Category 1-B CME credit when there are not equivalent courses available within the osteopathic profession. Submit a request to inquire about obtaining a conversion of credit.




Frequently Asked Questions

Does a live, in-person conference that also offers the content "LIVE" via Zoom or another platform to remote sites, qualify for 1-A credit?

Yes – When there is a live presentation, and/or it is simulcast to/from remote locations, it is eligible for AOA Category 1-A CME Credit. NOTE: CME Sign-in is still required to ensure participation of the learner either with a live attendance roster or using a web-based sign-in feature or evaluation with an attendance code.

Would a livestream presentation that happened to be recorded need to be made available for 3 years when there would be no intention of releasing this content again as an on-line CME product?

No – A one-time, in-person or live stream via internet presentation is by definition not an enduring activity. At the conclusion of the activity, like any in-person presentation, the experience is complete. It does not need to meet the requirements of an Interactive enduring activity that qualifies for 1A credit.

If you have recorded your event and would like to share that link to your learners, there is no requirement for you to do so, nor to maintain its presence for any period.

Are there particular requirements if we record content and want to offer it as an AOA 1-A accredited Interactive asynchronous/enduring activity, and only have it available for one month?

Yes – there are three additional requirements.

  1. CME programs shall be allowed to remain available for up to three years from the date of original posting as long as the sponsor ensures that the content is still up-to-date and accurate as determined by the AOA Category 1-A sponsor who produced the program. The requirement in the Accreditation Manual (page 9) allows the activity may posted for up to three years, but does not mandate a minimum length of time that sponsors must keep an activity available online.
  2. A content expert is available and will answer participant questions within one week of inquiry
  3. A general outcomes measurement would be required (i.e., in a text field ask “List at least one thing you learned from this activity” or “Will you implement anything learned in this activity into your practice? If so, what will you implement and how?”)

Example: ACCME presentation (recorded) is offered for one month as an interactive asynchronous/enduring activity with AOA 1-A credit. A content expert would need to be available to answer any questions received from learners for the month the presentation was offered PLUS one week after the presentation time ended.

NOTE: Questions from participants could be sent directly to the content expert or could be collected by a representative and then sent to the content expert for a response.

Can I get further clarification on what a type of advertising is or is not allowed during CME activities?

While it is true that “advertising of any type” must not be anywhere within accredited education materials, the manual is referring to advertising from an AOA-defined Commercial Interest, which is defined as “any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The AOA does not consider sponsors of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests. A commercial interest is not eligible for AOA accreditation.” (see pages 4-6 and page 31 of the CME Accreditation Manual for CME Sponsors for glossary of definitions). Advertising from non-commercial interests does not fall within the scope of this requirement.

Compliant example: Advertising registering for your organization’s annual meeting.

Non-compliant example: An advertisement for a new device from a Pharma company.

Furthermore, a key point of this requirement identifies that advertising must not be “within accredited educational materials.” This can allow for advertising to occur as long as it is not during the education i.e. during a presentation, on a journal article that offers CME, through a eLearning module. Examples of ways that advertising is allowed are: a separate webpage dedicated to commercial support or a “virtual exhibit hall”, or an advertisement can be placed on an announcement email of the activity.

We will be hosting a virtual CME conference where all individuals who register will also be provided a link to the conference to watch for a period of time after. Could we award AOA Category 1-A credit?

Yes, absolutely!

This is a hybrid activity – which could be consumed in three ways: 1) live 2) on-demand 3) live + on-demand. To qualify for AOA 1A credit, all regular live course requirements stand, and the on-demand component must be interactive has additional requirements that must be met. (Page 10)

Those additional requirements for interactive online CME are:

  1. CME programs shall be allowed to remain available for up to three years from the date of original posting as long as the sponsor ensures that the content is still up-to-date and accurate as determined by the AOA Category 1-A sponsor who produced the program. The requirement in the Accreditation Manual (page 10) allows the activity may posted for up to three years, but does not mandate a minimum length of time that sponsors must keep an activity available online.
  2. A content expert is available and will answer participant questions within one week of inquiry. NOTE 1: Questions from participants could be sent directly to the content expert or could be collected by a representative and then sent to the content expert for a response. NOTE 2: You might consider posting a FAQ page in your activity to aggregate questions and responses, which may help others with a similar question.
  3. A general outcomes measurement would be required (i.e., in a text field ask “List at least one thing you learned from this activity” or “Will you implement anything learned in this activity into your practice? If so, what will you implement and how?”)

NOTE 3: If this activity is available for an extended period, you must comply with the 90 day credit reporting requirement. Best practice would be to push your rosters to TRAcme semi-regularly (e.g., weekly or monthly) so physicians find the credit on their reports in a timely fashion. But at a maximum, this would need to occur every three months to fulfill the reporting requirement.

What is the current policy for reporting CME activities?

AOA Category 1 CME sponsors can now submit activity completion data to TraCME for up to one year following completion of an activity, rather than the previous 90-day requirement.  However, sponsors are encouraged to submit completion data to TraCME as soon as possible so that participants’ CME reports remain up to date.

We have an online interactive asynchronous/enduring activity that will be available for two years. How do we meet the requirement to report CME credit?

Best practice would be to push your rosters to TraCME semi-regularly (e.g., weekly or monthly) or as soon as possible so that physicians’ CME reports remain up to date. This would need to occur at least once a year rather than the previous 90-day requirement.

How can I obtain an AOA List of ID Numbers for Members?

The AOA no longer publishes a list of AOA numbers. If you need to look up an AOA number, you may do so in the TraCME portal, under the Physicians tab. There you may search the AOA database for AOA numbers. You may even look up osteopathic students.