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“I was in the room where it happened.”

Borrowing a line from the musical Hamilton, “I was in the room where it happened.”  I was there that October, 1992 morning when the President of the AMA announced to all of Joint Review Committees that it intended to get out of allied health accreditation and how they wanted to support a new, independent agency to assume the accreditation responsibilities of CAHEA.

I served on the first CAAHEP Board and looking back I’m not sure why we kept any commissioners because for several years it seemed like all we did was word smithing of all the AMA policies and procedures. Then when we believed we had everything in place the USDE said they had no idea who was the granting the accreditation. Was it the Board or maybe it was our subcommittee that reviewed self-studies and site visits then again it might be that each CoA was the one granting accreditation?  And because we were afraid that we wouldn’t receive USDE recognition we dropped our sub-committee on accreditation. That lead to us saying goodbye to OT and Rad Tech. But after we made the changes and were recognized by the USDE the Board voted to no longer seek USDE recognition because we didn’t have enough schools that needed federal student loans that we would have been the gate keeper. Now we seemed to have our feet on the ground and reset the Board into committees. We now had a Board that governed, looked to the future and had oversight. We were now listening to the CoAs and working to streamline the accreditation process. One of the biggest changes to the process was changing how we looked at programmatic accreditation by being one of the first to adopt outcomes. And for those of you that weren’t there during this time, boy did you miss out on some fun times.

Back to my term as President, in my first year we voted to have all of schools add Emergency preparedness to their Standards. We were able to help our Program Directors with task by offering workshops on Teaching the Unthinkable.” We continued to revise our Policy and Procedures.  We also added the O&P technician to our ranks. In my second year we received notice that CoARC would be leaving CAAHEP. 

I said then and still believe today that both CAAHEP and CoARC lost something with the separation. There was a financial concern because of the number of schools CoARC would be taking with them. But after review of our finances none of our planned projects were affected. The Board approved up to $30,000.00 for the training and use of “Generalist” for Site Visits. Any CoA could use a CAAHEP trained Generalist at no cost to the CoA. Our Performance Oversight Committee reported that it was taking on average 11.8 months from submission of the Self Study to the awarding of accreditation. We had a visioning session that resulted in many ideas that were placed into our strategic plan. We added a new CoA, the Accreditation and Approval Review Committee on Education in Human Lactation and Breastfeeding and two new Sponsors to the CoAEMSP, the American Ambulance Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. 

Looking back over the years we lost OT and Rad Tech because we gave up on our vision of the accreditation process. We lost the PA’s because they didn’t want to be the part of an organization were the majority vote was from certificate programs. Then we lost the Athletic Trainers. To be honest, I believe AT joined us only to learn how to do accreditation and when they learned the process they moved on. And we lost RT because their profession wanted to take accreditation in house. But no what the reason any of these groups left I believe both CAAHEP and they lost something in the separation. CAAHEP lost leadership and some better ideas of how to make the system work better. Those that left lost the collaboration with like-minded professions and maybe more importantly, their professions lost an agency that was accountable to a third party. And our institutions lost a standard of accreditation as well as saving money in accreditation fees.  Alright, let me get down off my soap box and end with what I said in the June 2009 Communique.  “Since 1994 my mantra has been that CAAHEP is not an “Us versus Them” agency. We are all CAAHEP. Remember, you pay your money, you have a vote; a voice in how this agency operates. This Board is elected from the membership. It is not an outside organization telling you how things will be done. If you Chair a CoA go to the leadership meetings. If you are a Sponsor make sure you are not just sending in your dues, get involved. If you are asked to help with a project say “Yes!” Because we are all CAAHEP it will take all of us working together to make it better tomorrow.”
Posted: 4/26/2019 11:42:37 AM by Lorna Frazier-Lindsey | with 0 comments
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Commission on Accreditationof Allied Health Education Programs

CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2200 educational programs in 32 health science occupations.