Get the latest COVID-19 updates | View the status of upcoming AOA meetings


Content Category: Accreditation


COCA Meetings

Shaping medical education

View details on upcoming and past COCA meetings

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

Upcoming meetings:

Special COCA Meeting
Date: June 27, 2020
Location: Teleconference (Zoom)

The COCA will consider and adjudicate an application for pre-accreditation, and other items pertaining to osteopathic medical school accreditation.

June 27, 2020 | Teleconference

The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) will meet via Zoom June 27, 2020. The meeting agenda (non-voting) is posted below.

The open session portions of the meeting will be open to the public broadcast in a non-interactive, live stream webinar format. The log-in information for the meeting is posted below. The executive session portions of the meeting will be closed to the public.

Zoom Registration Link

Non-Voting Agenda

*Special Meetings: The chair and vice chair, in consultation with the COCA staff, may call a special in-person meeting or conference call to deal with any issue(s) that they determine cannot wait until the next scheduled regular meeting.

COCA Meeting
Dates: Aug. 21-23, 2020
Location: Teleconference (Zoom)

* Please check this page periodically for updates

Past meetings:

April 23-25, 2020
Virtual Meeting (Zoom)

Aug. 23-25, 2019
National Osteopathic Advocacy Center
1090 Vermont NW, Fifth Floor, in Washington, D.C.

Dec. 6-7, 2019
Hyatt Rosemont
6350 N. River Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018

Final actions:

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


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).

Josh Prober, JD
Interim Secretary, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
General Counsel
142 E. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2864

Wambui Wang’ombe
Associate Vice President – Operations
(312) 202-8162

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

Daniel Mendelson, MS, CAE
Director of Accreditation
(312) 202-8095

Ezenna Obilor
Administrative Specialist
(312) 202-8097

Cailie Swillum
Data Reports Specialist
(312) 202-8177


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 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 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.

You can access the 2017 COCA Standards below.

Page Last Updated: July 2019


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.


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.

2019-2020 COCA membership roster

David A. Forstein, DO, FACOOG, Chair
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
New York, NY
Educator (2017-20)
COCA Executive Committee Member

John M. Kauffman, Jr., DO, FACOI, FACP, Vice Chair
Dean and Chief Academic Officer
Campbell University-Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine
Buies Creek, NC
Member-at-Large (2019-22)
COCA Executive Committee Member

Juan F. Acosta, DO, MS, FACOEP-D, FACEP
Associate Medical Director
Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center
Smithtown, NY
Director of Medical Education (2018-21)

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

William T. Betz, DO, MBA, FACOFP, dist.
(Senior Associate Dean for Osteopathic Medical Education University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Member-at-Large (2019-22)

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

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

Jennifer L. Gwilym, DO, FACOFP, FAAFP
Assistant Dean, Southeastern and Central Ohio
Ohio University-Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Athens, OH
Member-at-Large (2017-20)
COCA Executive Committee Member

Lori A. Kemper, DO, MS
Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Glendale, AZ
Member-at-Large (2017-20)

Brian A. Kessler, DO, FACOFP
Vice President and Dean
Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Harrogate, TN
Member-at-Large (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 (2018-21)
COCA Executive Committee Member

J. William McCord, Jr., DO, FAAFP
McCord Anesthesia and Consulting
Huntsville, AL
Member-at-Large (2017-20)

Richard C. Osborn, MA, PhD
Vice President
WASC Senior College and University Commission
Almeda, CA
Public Member (2019-21)

Robyn Phillips-Madson, DO, MPH, FACOFP
Founding Dean
University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine
San Antonio, TX
Member-at-Large (2017-20)

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
Biddeford, ME
Member-at-Large (2018-21)

Kayse M. Donnelly Shrum, DO
President and Dean
Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Tulsa, OK
Dean, Public College (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
William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Hattiesburg, MS
Member-at-Large (2018-21)

AOA Staff to the Commission
Joshua L. Prober, JD, Interim Secretary, Commission on Osteopathic College 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:












Third-Party Comments

Your voice matters

Share your comments about COM accreditation matters

Invitation For Public Comment: Proposed Kansas College Of Osteopathic Medicine

The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) has received an application for Candidate Status from the proposed Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine to be located in Wichita, Kansas. As described in the COCA Standards for New & Developing COMs, “Candidate Status is the second step in seeking accreditation . . . .  Candidate Status may be granted to COMs that demonstrate the planning and resources necessary to be expected to be able to proceed to pre-accreditation status within two years.” As part of the Candidate Status Process set out in the COCA Standards, “the COCA/COCA Executive Committee may receive third-party comments.”

The COCA Executive Committee is scheduled to review the application at its meeting on July 16, 2020. Individuals and organizations should submit comments to and include the name and contact information for the third party. Please submit comments by July 9, 2020.

At its April 2020 meeting, the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) reviewed and approved draft updates to the document Accreditation of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine: COCA Substantive Change Policies and Procedures. All policies were reviewed and submitted for public comment with the exception of the policies addressing development of a branch campus, development of an additional location, planned class size increases, unplanned class size increases, and transitions from a branch campus to an independent college. The review of these policies is now complete, and these policies are presented for public review and comment.

Three additional policies are also provided for review and comment: Transition from a Branch Campus to an Additional Location (new), Transition from an Additional Location to a Branch Campus (new), and the Annual Report/Mid-Cycle Report policy.

The COCA seeks comments from the osteopathic medical education community, the osteopathic profession, and the public at large on these proposed policies. Comments must be submitted by Friday, July 24, 2020.

Download Policy Document for review

Submit comments

Please only use this form for submitting comments on the substantive change policies. For other inquiries, please email


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 Council on Osteopathic Continuing Medical Education (COCME) 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.

COCME Resources

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 Guide (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 page 34 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.