By Luke Frank

UNM Dermatology Earns National Re-Accreditation

Program Rebuilt for Residents, Patients

In less than two years, the UNM School of Medicine Department of Dermatology has re-earned its residency training program accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The council, an independent, not-for-profit, physician-led organization, sets and monitors the professional educational standards essential in preparing physicians to deliver safe, high-quality medical care to all Americans.

In 2016, the department experienced significant faculty departures, which led ACGME to pull its accreditation for lack of faculty to support a training program. Having strategically hired six new faculty and two dedicated staff, the three-year dermatology residency program -- the only one in New Mexico -- is now approved for six dermatology resident positions to be filled by 2020, starting in July 2018. Two dermatology-specific advanced practice providers also provide increased access to care.

"Throughout this academic rebuilding process for re-accreditation, we have worked tirelessly to successfully maintain our patient care standards and programs," says Martha Cole McGrew, MD, executive dean for the School of Medicine. "With incredible leadership from Dr. Aimee Smidt, our dermatology program is re-emerging stronger and more committed to the training of our physicians and care for our patients than ever."

As part of the program, dermatology residents participate in clinical rotations, case conferences, didactic lecture series and other activities with a strong focus on mastery of the dermatology core competencies. During their training, they are challenged with progressively increasing levels of responsibility and clinical decision-making. Residents' experiences include a cross-section of dermatological sub-specialties, from aesthetics to skin cancer, for both adults and pediatric patients.

Smidt, an MD and board-certified pediatric dermatologist, became the department chair in early 2017. She had been in the department for seven years previously and briefly served as its interim chair. Smidt will serve as the residency program director alongside associate program director Emily Altman, MD.

"During a challenging time, we were committed to educational efforts in Dermatology, continuing to provide medical education for our community, including HSC students, trainees and community providers," Smidt says. "We have expanded clinical services by collaborating with other UNM Health Sciences Center disciplines to provide an excellent patient experience."

"Our hardworking faculty and the support of HSC leadership and our community have ensured that we provide superb patient care and education," she adds. "I am so proud of what our team has built. We look forward to the next steps of making a strong residency program a reality, and training the next generation of dermatology providers in New Mexico."

Categories: Education, Health, Research, School of Medicine