Keck Fellowship program loses accreditation following concerns of wellness

The Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship program has been placed on probationary accreditation following concerns of wellness and safety. (Daily Trojan file photo)

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education notified the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center that its Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship program would be stripped of its accreditation June 30, 2020.

The national oversight panel announced its decision, which will effectively shut down the program, last week. In a memo to the Keck School of Medicine faculty, Dean Laura Mosqueda wrote the decision that has placed the on “probationary accreditation” is effective immediately.

Mosqueda wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan that the decision is related to concerns with resident safety and wellness processes.

In 2018, physician Meena Zareh, a second-year student in the fellowship, filed suit against LAC+USC alleging physician Guillermo Court sexually assaulted her when she was a medical resident in 2015. The Los Angeles Times reported that following the report, two other female colleagues made similar allegations against Court.

An ACGME spokesperson would not comment on the reason for LAC+USC being disaccredited.  

According to Mosqueda, LAC+USC is in communication with ACGME to regain accreditation and apply for a new fellowship program.

“Our immediate focus is on ensuring minimal disruption for our current and incoming fellows,” Mosqueda wrote. “Because the change in status does not go into effect until June 2020, we will be able to graduate two classes of current fellows before accreditation is withdrawn. Leaders within [Keck and LAC+USC] are and will be actively involved in this process, and we remain committed to fulfilling our obligations to our residents and fellows.”

Second and third-year students in the fellowship will be able to finish out the program, but the University is still deciding what will happen with first-year students and those who were recently placed in the fellowship.

According to Mosqueda, LAC+USC will launch new initiatives to increase employee wellness and safety.

“We have taken this opportunity to further enhance our existing wellness programs and to launch new initiatives — all directed toward providing a safe and nurturing environment for residents, fellows, faculty and staff,” Mosqueda wrote.