by Curlan Campbell
- GMDC established in 2010 via Health Practitioners Act
- Council registers and licences physicians, and accredits medical education programmes
- Grenada’s accrediting system comparable to US system
The Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC) was established in 2010 via the Health Practitioners Act, which was amended in 2019 via the 2019 Health Practitioners Amendment Act. The Act authorises the Council to carry out 2 distinct functions: firstly, the registration and licencing of physicians, and secondly, the accreditation of medical education programmes, that lead to an MD degree in Grenada.
The National Committee for Foreign Medical Education Accreditation (NCFMEA) has declared that Grenada’s system for accrediting medical education programmes is comparable to the system in the United States of America. This determination by the NCFMEA ensures that American students can access Federal/Government loans to pay for their medical education in Grenada.
In its quest to become a world-class medical accreditation agency, GMDC also sought and received recognition from the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Such recognition ensures that GMDC is placed in the world database of medical education accreditation agencies that have met a benchmark standard of quality. WFME recognition also means that any student who graduates from a GMDC-accredited institution can practice medicine in North America, if they pass the relevant exams and attain the requisite certification.
Dr George Mitchell, Executive Director of GMDC’s Accreditation Secretariat, indicated that this recent achievement is historic, since no single island in the Caribbean has an agency that WFME recognises. “Apart from Grenada, there is no other agency in the region, including the bigger territories like Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana or Trinidad and Tobago, that has achieved this recognition status by WFME,” he said.
The only other Caribbean agency that has achieved recognition status from WFME is The Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), an umbrella body established in 2003 under the support of the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
GMDC aspires to accredit medical education programmes outside of Grenada one day, however, this can only happen if the Health Practitioner’s Act is further amended to grant GMDC such authority.
“We at (GMDC) would like to go beyond and not only accredit SGUSOM or other medical education programmes in Grenada but perhaps we can offer our services regionally or internationally now that we have achieved these milestones. But one of the things that [needs] to happen of course is that the legislation that created GMDC would have to change, because the legislation basically says that GMDC has the authority to accredit medical schools in Grenada,” said Dr Mitchell.
Prior to receiving comparability and recognition status, GMDC needed to satisfy the requirements of both NCFMEA and WFME. Both agencies have rigorous evaluation processes which the agency must periodically withstand. It is thus important to maintain high standards to ensure that GMDC maintains its current status when these evaluations recur in 2025 for NCFMEA and 2032 for WFME.
It is remarkable to note that the recent attainment of recognition status from WFME by GMDC came just about 2 years following the establishment of the accreditation secretariat which spearheaded the process. In June 2022, the accreditation secretariat also coordinated the process that led to the re-accreditation of the medical programme at St George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM). The programme was reaccredited for 8 years and will be up for renewal in July 2030.
The Secretariat continues to conduct the Council’s business including monitoring the SGUSOM programme, continuous monitoring and development of its own policies and procedures and fulfilling its reporting requirements to regulatory bodies such as WFME and NCFMEA.