Accreditation of Foreign Medical Schools in California

For many years, the Medical Board of California has maintained a list of approved medical schools. All U.S. and Canadian schools, and many foreign medical schools, are approved.  The Medical Board also maintains a list of unapproved medical schools and those not yet approved or accredited. There is a "domino" effect to California Medical Board recognition of an off-shore medical school because other states routinely rely on California's stringent accreditation process and list of approved and disapproved medical schools. These other states "piggy-back" on California's process for recognition of international (foreign) medical schools.  For example, Colorado, Oregon, Indiana and Tennessee use the approved list. And, some states use California's "disapproved" list to exclude medical license applicants; these include North Dakota, Alabama and Vermont.

The California approval process is complex, requiring a school seeking recognition to undergo a Self-Assessment Review (SAR) in which fifteen major categories of questions must be answered with program information and data, each with multiple sub-categories. Detailed documentation must be submitted in support of all answers to Medical Board questions. A typical SAR report may exceed 160 pages in length. The Licensing Division of the Board reviews this information with medical consultants, usually California medical school physician-administrators, who scrutinize the results and request additional information or data where indicated.  The SAR may or may not result in an on-site visit or visits to physicially inspect the school, its faculty and facilities. The process can typically take up to two years to complete.  

We have been successful in assisting a foreign (international) medical school in acquiring approval from the California Medical Board for licensure of their graduates. We are familiar with the details and rigors of the SAR process as well as the expectations and needs of the Licensing Division staff of the Medical Board of California. We stand ready to assist foreign and international medical schools with navigating this sometimes difficult and stressful process of applying for approval by the Medical Board of California.

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