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A Loss and A Gain

After my term as President of NN2 in 2004, I became an NN2 Commissioner for CAAHEP and board member of CAAHEP within two years.  I remember distinctly when Sondra Flemming asked me to consider running for Vice President of the CAAHEP board.  I was really surprised because my experience as a board member was so limited.  However, through her mentorship, I knew that I was capable of fulfilling the job.  After two years as Vice President, I served as President of CAAHEP from 2009-2011. 

One of my first assignments as a CAAHEP board member was liaison to CoARC, the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.  I had been CoARC’s liaison for about two years when I was invited to attend two of the three “by invitation only” summit meetings sponsored by AARC, the American Association for Respiratory Care. Two notable events occurred during these summits: 1) the push to move the minimum education requirements for a registered respiratory therapist to a bachelor’s degree and 2) a presentation by the Dean of Health Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University that included statements calling for the end of CAAHEP.  He specifically stated that CAAHEP was no longer relevant. I knew then that CoARC was moving toward leaving CAAHEP.  After the presentation, I called Kathy Megivern to report my fears.  Within a year CoARC left CAAHEP to become its own accrediting organization.  I felt that I had failed in being a good liaison, and that somehow, I should have seen the departure coming before it did.  I realized later that nothing I did or could have done would have prevented the CoARC departure.  It is noted that the President of CAAHEP at this time was a CoARC Commissioner.  Later I was re-assigned to NCOPE, the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education, as a board liaison. 

Most notable during my term as President was the re-affirmation of recognition by CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, a process that occurs every ten years.  Of course, Kathy Megivern was tasked with writing the self-study.  A concern that we had during the self-study process was the assurance that each Committee on Accreditation was following CAAHEP’s policies and procedures.  We decided to better utilize the CoA liaisons to ensure and prove to CHEA that although each CoA was unique, they were aligned with CAAHEP’s policies and procedures.

We expanded the role of the liaison to include an annual audit of one program’s accreditation process from start to finish (self-study, review of the self-study, site visit and final accreditation recommendation to CAAHEP).  We formalized the liaison report and included all liaisons in a face-to-face meeting with the CAAHEP board in January.  During this meeting, each liaison is tasked with providing either a written report or oral report on the activities and concerns of their CoA. 

Since part of the CHEA re-affirmation process included a site-visit by a CHEA representative during one of our board meetings, we chose the January board meeting to host the CHEA observer.  This was the first of many January Liaison/Board meetings.  Needless to say I was nervous about the board site visit.  To make matters worse, the observer could not comment to us during the meeting. He sat and wrote his observations.  Everyone was anxious about his thoughts. 
 
The last step in the CHEA re-affirmation process was a face-to-face meeting with the CHEA board, answering questions about CAAHEP.  We would be placed in the “hot seat”, not knowing what questions would be asked.  Kathy and I could sit as an observer of this process while another accrediting group was in the “hot seat”.  The first accrediting group was having a difficult time answering CHEA’s questions.  Specifically, CHEA was concerned with the agency’s relationship with the professional association connected with the accrediting group.  When the agency expressed difficulty in keeping the two groups separate and independent, the president of CHEA suggested that they should look at the CAAHEP model for a true third-party accreditation model.  At that point, I turned to Kathy and declared “We’re a model! We’re a model!”  When our time came to sit in the “hot seat”, we had no problems in answering CHEA’s questions.

In retrospect, I had great satisfaction in the re-affirmation process, especially in light of my experience with CoARC.  Since that time, CAAHEP continues to flourish and expand, despite the predictions of that dean so many years ago. Congratulations to CAAHEP on its 25th anniversary and continued ability to be a true third-party accreditor to over 30 allied health professions.  My thanks go to Sondra Flemming for getting me started and being my mentor.  I also want to commend Kathy Megivern and the great CAAHEP staff for making my years with CAAHEP the most exciting and rewarding in my professional career. 
 
Posted: 6/7/2019 9:59:57 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.