Q: What is accreditation?
A: Accreditation is the process of peer review that ensures an educational training program meets the minimum program requirements established by the subspecialty to produce a competent fellow.
Q: What are program requirements?
A: The subspecialty program requirements are used by the Accreditation Council to review training programs. All training programs must meet the requirements set forth in the program requirements as they are the minimum standards established by the subspecialty for an educational training program.
Q: How do I apply for accreditation?
A: Applications are submitted online. You will begin by creating a username and password and a profile. You will then be able to start the application by clicking “+Get Started.”
Q: Why can’t my program have multiple usernames and passwords?
A: Access to the application system is given to the program, not to individual users. The username and password are provided to the program director. The program director may share the login information with whomever he or she wishes.
Q: How do I reset my password?
A: You may reset your password by clicking “Forgot Password” on the login screen.
Q: What is carried over from previous submissions?
A: Most information submitted in a previous submission will carry into the next submission. The primary exceptions to this include fellow information (because it changes annually) and some institutional and personnel information.
Q: I’ve completed my submission – now what?
A: Program submissions will first be reviewed by UCNS staff for completeness. If information is missing, the program will be contacted and asked to edit its submission through the interface. Once the submission is completed, it will be locked and sent to the Accreditation Council for review.
Q: What do I do if I am retiring as program director?
A: UCNS must be notified in advance of a change in program director. A letter from the Department Chair describing the change and his/her selection for a new program director must be submitted to the Accreditation Council accompanied by the new program director’s CV. A template letter, template CV, and description of the program change request process may be found on the Program Change page.
Q: How can I change the number of fellows enrolled in my program?
A: UCNS must be notified in advance if a program wishes to increase the approved complement of fellows. The Accreditation Council determines the fellow complement based on the faculty-to-fellow ratio. Faculty considered for the ratio are core faculty. If a program has sufficient certified or eligible faculty, the program director may submit a program change request. A template letter and description of the process may be found on the Program Change page.
Q: Do I need to contact UCNS if the duration of my program changes?
A: Yes. Subspecialties have specific parameters regarding program duration. Your notification letter indicates the duration of training for which your program is approved. If you would like to request a different duration, please consult your subspecialty program requirements and submit a request to the Accreditation Council with supporting documentation describing the curriculum for your proposed program. Templates needed to submit the request may be found on the Program Change page.
Q: What does provisional accreditation mean?
A: Provisional accreditation is granted for initial accreditation of a program or for a previously accredited program that had its accreditation withdrawn and has subsequently applied for reaccreditation. Provisional accreditation implies that a program is in a developmental stage. It remains to be demonstrated that the proposal for which accreditation was granted will be implemented as planned. Accordingly the Accreditation Council will monitor the developmental progress of a program accredited on a provisional basis.
Q: What is a progress report?
A: Programs may be awarded accreditation under circumstances in which additional clarification and follow up is needed. A progress report is a specific response to questions or concerns that have arisen in the process of Accreditation Council deliberations. The Council’s accreditation recommendation may be reversed if the progress report is not received or does not address the question or concern. It is important to submit this information by the date identified in your notification letter.
Q: What does deferral of accreditation mean and how do I respond appropriately?
A: The Accreditation Council may defer a decision on the accreditation status of a program. The primary reason for deferral of accreditation is lack of sufficient information about specific issues which precludes an informed and reasonable decision. A response is required to each item listed in your notification letter to assure the Accreditation Council has all the necessary information to make a decision. Please submit your responses by the due date indicated in your notification letter to ensure that your program will be reviewed. If you have questions, notify UCNS staff.
Q: What does withhold accreditation mean and how do I respond appropriately?
A: The Accreditation Council may withhold accreditation when it determines that the proposal for a new program does not substantially comply with the UCNS-approved program requirements for the subspecialty. The Accreditation Council will cite those areas in which the proposed program does not comply with the standards. The proposed withhold status is intended to allow the program the opportunity to respond to the deficiencies identified by the Accreditation Council without requiring a new application and application processing fee. Please submit your responses by the due date indicated in your notification letter to ensure your program will be reviewed. If you have questions, notify UCNS staff.
Q: Can a program’s accreditation end?
A: Accreditation may be withdrawn from a program if the program is found to be in substantial noncompliance with the program requirements. Programs are given the opportunity to respond to any areas of noncompliance before accreditation is withdrawn. A program may also request voluntary withdrawal of its accreditation. Additional details regarding withdrawal of accreditation may be found in the Accreditation Policies.
Q: What is the difference between the Sponsoring Institution, Primary Institution, and Participating Institution?
A: UCNS defines the various educational institutions as follows:
Q: Is a program required to have each of the type of institution?
A: Each program must have a designated sponsoring institution, and a primary institution, which may or may not be the sponsoring institution. Educational programs may take place at only one location; however, UCNS allows programs to utilize multiple educational centers to ensure students receive all required educational experiences.
Q: Are fellows in UCNS-accredited fellowships eligible to apply for J-1 Visas?
A: Yes. As announced by ECFMG on April 19, 2021, regulations for non-standard training are transitioning from ABMS-member board approval to ACGME sponsorship. This transition is ongoing, but in 2023 ACGME institutions must be recognized in order to host non-standard training (NST) programs for J-1 exchange visitor physicians. This change should not impact UCNS subspecialties, which are considered “non-standard training programs” as long as the institutions where the programs are located become recognized by ACGME. Please monitor the ACGME and ECFMG websites for details on the NST process and requirements.
Senior Manager, Accreditation