O.U.M. accredited for another five years
The Oceania University of Medicine (O.U.M.) has been accredited for another five years by the Philippine Accrediting Association for Schools, Colleges and Universities.
The accreditation of the university through 2025 validates O.U.M.’s medical programme as competitive on the world stage and internationally recognised.
In a statement, O.U.M.’s Vice-Chancellor, Toleafoa Dr. Viali Lameko, said he was pleased by the news of the extension of the accreditation.
“Congratulations to all for contributing to the ongoing processes of accreditation [...]over the past five years,” he said.
“I look forward to another five years of working together with you all to achieve even more great news for our institution,” Toleafoa said.
The university is are also working with the Samoa Qualifications Authority (S.Q.A.).
“We are currently working together with the S.Q.A. to ensure O.U.M.’s medicine programme is also accredited locally and, especially, to ensure recognition by the World Federation of Medical Education (W.F.M.E.), before 2025.”
Toleafoa said the news caps a year-long self-assessment of the university’s faculty, curriculum and instruction, clinical training facilities, research output, student outcomes, and even its library and administration facilities.
In early March, 2020, a four prominent medical educators and a leading librarian from Australia and New Zealand made a visit to a variety of the university;s regional campuses. They have planned a visit to the United States, where the university’s private partner is based.
The P.A.A.S.C.U. team flew from the Philippines to Melbourne in March 2020 to attend O.U.M.’s Australia-New Zealand Student Conference. They interviewed students, graduates, faculty, and administration. The assessment team also received a demonstration of O.U.M.’s online learning platform, observed student learning activities, and witnessed a graduation ceremony.
In Auckland, Dr. C.S. Benjamin, O.U.M.’s Dean for Asia-Pacific, led the team on tours of the university’s New Zealand clinical facilities through which students rotate and met O.U.M. clinical supervisors and medical students.
“Due to coronavirus concerns, the team was not able to visit Samoa as scheduled, because airline service had been suspended. The team’s visit to the United States also was cancelled,” he said.
“As a result of COVID-19 concerns and related travel restrictions in the Philippines, PAASCU’s Board of Directors suspended all site visits for the next 12 months, which would have delayed OUM’s re-accreditation.”
The P.A.A.S.C.U. team, Toleafoa said the inspection found that O.U.M. had a well-designed curricular track to cater to learners from diverse backgrounds while offering them mentoring from experienced physicians and clinical rotation through advanced centres of medicine.
The Philippines team also took note of the involvement of the institution in the provision of health services in Samoa and its aim of training physicians who will eventually practice in the region.
“The medical students [are] very mature and highly motivated to realise their lifelong dream to become medical doctors, with various backgrounds and diversity allowing interaction and enriching cultural exchange with one another and the available extensive online resources that are essential for a distance learning academic institution,” Toleafoa said.
Taffy Gould, O.U.M.’s founder and Chairman of the O.U.M. Council, said the university’s achievement deserved acknowledgement.
“We are proud of the University’s accomplishments and this international recognition of O.U.M..’s excellence, and we are most appreciative of the people of Samoa for their ongoing hospitality toward our students and faculty, who so value the opportunity to study and work there,” Mrs. Gould said.
The O.U.M. said in a statement that they are seeking to establish world’s first distance learning program in medical education. Established in 2002, under an Act of Samoan Parliament, O.U.M. leaders said that ongoing external validation would be essential to its acceptance within the international medical fraternity.
“In addition, medical licensing and registration authorities in most countries require physicians practising to have graduated from an accredited medical school,” the statement said.
“Because Samoa is a small country without enough resources to accredit a medical education programmd to international standards, O.U.M. began a two-year search in 2005 for an accreditation body willing to evaluate its program.”
In 2007, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, invited the P.A.A.S.C.U.’s then-executive director to visit O.U.M. in Samoa, who then agreed to promote the university’s cause.
At that time, P.A.A.S.C.U. was one of 20 accrediting bodies in the world who met the United States Department of Education’s National Committee for Foreign Medical Education Accreditation’s standards.
The O.U.M. applied for accreditation with P.A.A.S.C.U., conducted a self-study, underwent a site visit, and was granted “candidate” status in 2009. In 2010, following another detailed self-study and site visit to measure the implementation of the recommendations made by the P.A.A.S.C.U.team in their prior year, O.U.M. was granted full accreditation for five years.
In 2015, a new Chancellery consisting of Doctors Lameko and Brown and Chris Dudle undertook the internal survey of O.U.M.’s programme and related site visits.
Founded in 1957, P.A.A.S.C.U. is the world’s third oldest service organization that accredits academic programs to meet standards of quality education. Since 1991, P.A.A.S.C.U. 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. P.A.A.S.C.U. also is a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network.
P.A.A.S.C.U. is affiliated with the Washington, DC-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private, nonprofit organization that coordinates accreditation activity in the United States, and a member of the CHEA International Quality Group, a forum for colleges, universities and accrediting organisations established in 2012 to address issues and challenges focused on quality and quality assurance in an international setting.