Tulane residency programs move for reaccreditation

Jada Roth, Chief Copy Editor

The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education paid a reaccreditation site visit to the Tulane University School of Medicine in January after placing its residency program on probation in July 2021.

A sign outside of Tulane University's School of Medicine, the residency programs of which were paid a reaccreditation visit in an effort to lift their probation.
A sign outside of Tulane University School of Medicine, which is attempting a re-accreditation of graduate residency programs. (Jada Roth)

The residency programs were placed on conditional probation shortly after Dr. Princess Dennar filed a discrimination lawsuit against the university in October 2020. 

Dennar was removed from her position as director of the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program four months after suing Tulane. She was the first Black woman to hold the position of program director.

Dennar now works at University Medical Center and is no longer affiliated with Tulane. 

Dennar and Tulane quietly settled in December.

“The issues raised in the lawsuit and related claims have been resolved,” said Mike Strecker, assistant vice president for communications at Tulane University. 

Although Dennar’s lawsuit has been put to bed, the school’s residency program remains on probation. 

Even after the recent site visit, that status has no set end date, as School of Medicine administrators implement “lasting, systemic change” in the hope of restoring accredited status.

Dr. Paul Gladden, a trauma surgeon by training, serves as Tulane’s designated institutional official for the ACGME and is responsible for the oversight and administration of all Tulane residency programs.

Gladden was assigned this responsibility as part of his elevation to associate dean in Oct. 2021. 

Designated ACGME field representatives met with Gladden during the site visit, along with program directors, residents, fellows and faculty. 

Accreditation interviews happen in conjunction with a review of documents — primarily evaluations from recent program graduates, current residents and fellows.

Gladden did not respond to request for comment. 

The School of Medicine also retained Norton Rose Fulbright, a London-based law firm to evaluate operations. 

To address diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, Tulane engaged Sensei Changes Associates, a small Michigan-based consulting firm. 

Norton Rose Fulbright recommended a “number of steps … to improve the infrastructure and organization of the Graduate Medical Education Committee’s oversight.”

Sensei Change Associates recommendations included the creation of a safe reporting process for incidents related to equity, diversion and inclusion and the creation of a “comprehensive EDI strategic plan for School of Medicine.” 

Any future changes to Tulane’s residency accreditation status remain unknown.

“The results of the site visit will not be known for some weeks or months,” Strecker said.

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