WONCA Accreditation: Yuma Regional Medical Center

Through its Working Party on Education, WONCA has developed the “Standards for Postgraduate Family Medical Education”, against which academic programs in family medicine can be assessed and gain approval from our global organization. 

On this occasion, accreditation was granted to the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in Arizona, which developed and implemented a Family Medicine residency program, initiated in 2013 and with the first residents graduating in 2016. This is the first time WONCA grants accreditation to a program in the USA.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the workload of the healthcare professionals and travelling restrictions, WONCA had to adapt its evaluation process accordingly. This WONCA Accreditation was first conducted virtually in March 2021, culminating with an on-site visit in 2022 to confirm the information presented during the virtual assessment and explore the implementation of the recommendations provided.

On behalf of the WONCA accreditation committee, Dr Victor Ng attended the on-site visit, highlighting “the friendliness and collegiality of the faculty and with a drive for innovation and getting to better”. During his visit, Dr Ng, who is also Chair of the WONCA Working Party on Education, met the core faculty, hospital faculty, hospital leadership staff and residents, who shared their perspectives on the residency program. 

The experience was reassuring for Yuma to confirm what we have known for some time now, and that is that we have a unique and great program to train physicians in Family Medicine, it was also very useful because it help us get a new perspective on some of our processes and how we could improve such processes. It also opens doors to our residents and faculty when it comes to networking and enchance education opportunities.

After three days of evaluations, productive discussions and feedback, the assessment team confirmed that the Yuma Family Medicine Residency Program met the WONCA Standards for Postgraduate Family Medicine Education. WONCA congratulates the faculty and leadership at Yuma. As WONCA’s Accreditation is a quality improvement program, we are looking forward to discussing the progress on the recommendations provided. We also encourage the faculty to continue developing their skills and competencies. 

About WONCA Accreditation

WONCA Accreditation provides a professional, collegial context within which individual practices and postgraduate programs can review their standards, improve them where necessary, and gain accreditation if the assessment is judged satisfactory.  

WONCA Accreditation schemes were developed with intense inputs from our Working Party (WP) on Quality and Safety and our WP on Education, originally intended to support practices and programs developed in countries which did not yet have their own formal standards or national templates for delivery of comprehensive primary care.

As a global organization representing general practitioners and family doctors, WONCA Accreditation can help to consolidate the specialty and to support those professionals who are delivering the range of services which make up family medicine.

Adapting the standards of the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) to fit with the needs specific to family medicine training, the WWP on Education set out standards across nine areas and 38 sub-areas.

The areas are defined as broad components in the structure, process and outcome of postgraduate medical education and training. They include:

• Mission and outcomes
• Training process
• Assessment of trainees
• Trainees
• Staffing
• Training settings and educational resources
• Evaluation of training process
• Governance and Administration and
• Continuous renewal

A variety of applications are possible, including self-assessment and program quality improvement; new program development; peer review; or recognition and accreditation. 

Find more information about WONCA Accreditation and Certification here