Reviewing ACME Accreditation Criteria for Diversity and Inclusion

In applying a diversity and racial equity lens to the criteria review process, the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education aimed to consider the effects of various educational criteria on students of color.

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T he ACME Board of Commissioners (BOC), executive director, and volunteers from midwifery education programs conducted full review of the ACME Criteria for Programmatic Accreditation. The process included developing a rubric to be applied to all criteria including a “Diversity and Racial Equity Lens.” In 2015, ACME committed to a 3-year strategic plan which included the expansion of diversity and inclusion in all ACME operations. One of the objectives tied to this goal was to review ACME accreditation criteria during its five year review for evidence of diversity and inclusion.

Definition of the Diversity and Racial Equity Lens:

  • Fair and just distribution of resources and opportunities for individuals, culturally specific business and community-based organizations and economic and social systems that are sustainable and that sustain all people;
  • Meaningful engagement of communities of color in planning, decision making and evaluation that support shifts in perception, paradigm, and demonstrated values;
  • Authentically embodying and leading with racial equity and empowerment principles (including transformative and non-traumatizing practices) in planning, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation; and
  • Bold and courageous long-term commitment to unearthing racism’s root causes and addressing barriers to racial equity in and between individuals, institutions and systems.

In applying a diversity and racial equity lens to the criteria review process, ACME aimed to consider the effect, whether conscious or unconscious, of each criterion on: the participation of minority or disadvantaged students and faculty in midwifery education programs, and the role of multicultural competence in the preparation of graduates for successful midwifery practice.

In addition, each criterion will be evaluated considering the following questions:

  • Is there any inherent bias in this criterion?
  • Does this criterion inhibit curricular and co-curricular activities that promote cultural competencies?
  • Does this criterion hinder the recruitment or development of a diverse student body and faculty?
  • Is the criterion diversity-sensitive, i.e., does this criterion affect disadvantaged populations differently? Is there evidence of equity in how the criterion is applied with disadvantaged populations? 

All ACME atakeholders and the public were invited to comment on the proposed criteria during a six-week period open comment period. The ACME Board of Commissioners took these comments and suggestions into consideration and published the final criteria in May 2019.