Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research

World Information Resources

FAIMER historically has maintained extensive databases on international medical schools, regulatory authorities, and accrediting agencies, including the World Directory of Medical Schools, developed in partnership with the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Expanding these data to include information on postgraduate medical education programs and medical practice will improve our shared understanding of the credentials of all physicians, serve regulatory bodies, and facilitate physician migration. Expanding these data to include other professions in the health workforce will support health care workers, educators, researchers, and health policymakers throughout the global community.

World Directory of Medical Schools

In 2014, FAIMER and WFME announced the launch of the World Directory of Medical Schools. This resource is the result of an agreement to merge the organizations’ respective directories—FAIMER’s International Medical Education Directory (IMED) and WFME’s Avicenna Directory—to produce a single comprehensive resource on undergraduate medical education worldwide.

View World Directory of Medical Schools

Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA)

As part of our goal to build information resources on medical education worldwide, FAIMER has developed a directory of international organizations that recognize, authorize, or certify medical schools and/or medical education programs. These organizations are often responsible for the establishment of national standards for medical education and the recognition of medical schools in their countries.

View DORA >>

Select FAIMER Publications on Medical School Accreditation

(FAIMER staff indicated in bold)

Boulet J, van Zanten M. Ensuring high-quality patient care: The role of accreditation, licensure, specialty certification and revalidation in medicine. Medical Education. 2014;48(1):75-86. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.12286.

Taber S, Akdemir N, Gorman L, van Zanten M., Frank JR. A “fit for purpose” framework for medical education accreditation system design. BMC Medical Education. 2020;20(306).

Tackett S, Boulet JR, van Zanten M. Medical school accreditation factors associated with certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG): A 10-year international study. Academic Medicine. 2021;96(9):1346-1352. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004047.

Tackett S, Zhang C, Nassery N, Caufield-Noll C, van Zanten M. Describing the evidence base for accreditation in undergraduate medical education internationally: A scoping review. Academic Medicine. 2019;94(12):1995-2008. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002857.

van Zanten M. Recognition organisations that evaluate agencies accrediting medical education programmes: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Quality in Higher Education. 2017;23(2).

van Zanten M. The association between medical education accreditation and examination performance of internationally educated physicians seeking certification in the United States. Perspectives in Medical Education. 2015:4(3): 142-145. doi: 10.1007/s40037-015-0183-y.

van Zanten M, Boulet JR, Greaves, I. The importance of medical education accreditation standards. Medical Teacher. 2012;34(2).

Growth Fuels Need for Resources

The rapid growth of medical schools worldwide over the past 25 years (see chart below) accompanied by an increase in the global migration of physicians has created a greater need within the international health care community for resources to assess the medical education credentials of international medical graduates and the local organizations that recognize/accredit international medical schools. DORA and the World Directory of Medical Schools are continuously evolving resources designed to serve those needs.

Chart depicting growth in medical schools by region 1965-2020

(Click to expand)

[Last update: October 6, 2022]

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