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Program Initial Accreditation


A status of Initial Accreditation is conferred when a Review Committee determines that an application for a new program substantially complies with the Program Requirements.

What Programs with Initial Accreditation Should Know

1. Initial Accreditation Contingent

Initial Accreditation Contingent is the status given to a program in pre-accreditation that has been reviewed by the Review Committee and is in substantial compliance with the Requirements, but its Sponsoring Institution has not yet achieved Initial Accreditation. If the Sponsoring Institution achieves Initial Accreditation, the program’s status will change to Initial Accreditation. If the Sponsoring Institution fails to achieve Initial Accreditation within two years of the issuance of Initial Accreditation Contingent, the program’s status will be returned to continued pre-accreditation.

2. Participation in Annual Data Collection

Programs with Initial Accreditation must participate in the ACGME’s annual data collection and reporting. An overview of the ACGME’s data collection systems and timelines is available here.

Programs must:

  • Participate in the Annual Update in the Accreditation Data System (ADS) and update program information any time it changes (e.g., with regard to residents, fellows, faculty members, board certification, etc.).
  • Report on the Milestones in ADS for residents or fellows listed on the program’s roster. Learn more about the Milestones. To locate the applicable specialty or subspecialty Milestones, refer to this document.
  • Participate in the annual Resident and Faculty Surveys. Learn more about the ACGME surveys.
  • Have residents or fellows log cases/procedures in the ACGME Case Log System if the specialty or subspecialty collects Case Log data. Not all specialties and subspecialties require use of the system. Learn more about the ACGME Case Log System.

3. Letter of Notification (LoN) and Responses to Citations

The Review Committee will send a Letter of Notification (LoN) to the program reporting the accreditation decision and any citations or Areas for Improvement (AFIs) given at the time of the review. Programs are required to provide a response to all citations annually during the ACGME Annual Update period in the fall. Programs do not need to provide a response to AFIs or to the LoN itself. Any questions regarding the Review Committee decision or the LoN should be directed to the Review Committee Executive Director.

4. Application for Osteopathic Recognition

ACGME-accredited programs and programs in pre-accreditation may initiate and submit an application for Osteopathic Recognition in ADS. Learn more about Osteopathic Recognition, and specifically about the application process.

Identify programs that have applied and received Osteopathic Recognition in this report in ADS.

If a program submits an application for Osteopathic Recognition while in pre-accreditation, the application is held for review by the Osteopathic Principles Committee until the program achieves Initial Accreditation. As soon as Initial Accreditation is achieved, the application is immediately placed on the next open meeting agenda for review. The program can choose to update any Osteopathic Recognition application information that may have changed since the original submission date.

Direct questions about Osteopathic Recognition to Executive Director for Osteopathic Accreditation Tiffany Moss, at 312.755.5490 or

5. Next Program Review

The program will be reviewed by the Review Committee within two years of the effective date of Initial Accreditation. The program will undergo a full site visit prior to this review. If the program is deemed to be in substantial compliance with the Common and specialty-specific Program Requirements, it will achieve a status of Continued Accreditation.

6. Resident Eligibility for Fellowships

Residents who graduate from an AOA-approved program that achieves ACGME Initial Accreditation prior to their graduation are eligible for ACGME-accredited fellowship programs, even if not all of the prerequisite clinical education required for entry into the fellowship was completed under ACGME accreditation.

Eligibility for and completion of ACGME-accredited programs does not guarantee a matriculated resident will be eligible for board certification. Board certification eligibility is determined by the individual specialty certifying boards. Questions regarding eligibility for American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board certification should be directed to the appropriate ABMS member board; questions about AOA certification should be directed to the appropriate AOA specialty certifying board.

7. Subspecialty Program Applications
Core (specialty) programs may submit subspecialty (fellowship) applications in ADS as soon as they have achieved Initial Accreditation. More information regarding the application process can be found here.
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