Policies Related to CEPH Accreditation Activities Outside of the United States
CEPH addresses the willingness to conduct accreditation activities outside of the United States in its Accreditation Procedures. The adopted procedures state that “CEPH will consider applicant institutions located outside the United States; however, due to the variable nature and scope of international accreditation activities, such activity will be undertaken on a case-by-case basis. All applications from units outside the United States must be invited by the Council…”
Philosophy for initial accreditation and reaccreditation outside the United States
CEPH has developed a time-tested model of successful peer reviews, predicated on the sense that an in-person visit by CEPH staff and/or volunteers is the most effective method for conducting CEPH’s accreditation work. In specific circumstances, the Council may recommend other visit formats, including program/school travel to the US (in the case of a consultation visit), teleconference, or videoconference.
In the interest of preserving CEPH’s successful model of accreditation reviews, which depends heavily on on-site interactions between CEPH and the program/school, such distance-based procedures should be undertaken extremely rarely. Typically, video- and teleconferences should only be undertaken when:
When the Council agrees to allow a staff consultation visit and then to invite a full accreditation application, it is agreeing, in principle, to develop and make an effort to sustain a relationship with the university and its school or program in public health. Thus, decisions are not made without serious consideration of all factors including congruence of the public health school or program’s organization, offerings, and philosophy on public health professional education with CEPH accreditation criteria as well as practical factors such as safety of its staff and volunteers.
Process overview for initial accreditation
The procedures further specify additional steps that must be undertaken by schools and programs outside the US pursuing initial accreditation:
1) submission of a written request for an initial consultation
2) Council or Executive Committee (EC) acceptance of the request for initial consultation
3) Conduct of an on-site consultation visit by CEPH staff
4) Council or EC review the staff member’s summary of the consultation visit.
5) Council or EC invite the unit to undertake the IAS process, as described in the Procedures Manual’s section on Initial Accreditation.
6) From this point forward, the school or program adheres to the same criteria and procedures as US-based institutions, though some adjustments to logistics are required. See this policy’s section on visit logistics for information on the logistical differences for units outside of the United States.
Decision making on undertaking a visit
For the initial consultation visit, staff prepares a recommendation that includes the following:
The Council’s decision will be informed by information contained in the staff recommendation. The Council will pay particular attention to information that relates to the likelihood of changes over time. The Council should have reasonable assurance that it will be possible to continue with subsequent visits when it approves each visit. This will help to prevent, as much as possible, programs and schools from investing resources in an accreditation process that will not be possible to continue. When approving an initial consultation visit, the Council may ask that the visit be conducted by CEPH staff, by a CEPH volunteer, or by some combination of the two. Councilors may recommend CEPH volunteers whom they believe or know to be qualified and willing to participate in the visit. Though the Council’s decision to approve a visit should be based on its confidence that appropriate staff and/or volunteers can be identified, final visit approval is contingent on the willingness of appropriate staff and/or volunteers to travel. No staff member or volunteer will be required to travel on the visit. The CEPH executive director, in consultation with the EC, may cancel the visit at any time due to lack of available personnel or emerging events in the country that would change the conditions that existed at the time of the Council’s original decision to conduct the visit.
The following procedures apply to any type of CEPH visit outside the United States, including consultation visits, site visits, focused review visits, etc.
The staff coordinator will establish contacts with faculty and staff at the program/school as soon as possible. This contact should occur at least six months before the proposed visit, if possible
1) The on-site contact will make hotel reservations, but the staff member must approve the accommodations before reservations are finalized.
2) Depending on flight schedules to the location, the contact must make reservations for one to two nights before the visit begins and for the night the visit ends.
3) The on-site contact and staff coordinator will agree on a protocol for airline reservations. In some cases, the contact may recommend specific airlines and/or travel routes and ask that each traveler make his/her own reservation. In other cases, the on-site contact may directly purchase and pay for airline tickets. If the on-site contact purchases the tickets, each traveler must approve his/her itinerary before tickets are purchased.
4) The on-site contact will arrange transportation from the airport to the hotel and will provide contact information for the driver or service, if applicable.
5) The on-site contact must provide phone numbers for multiple in-country contacts. Staff will provide this information to any other travelers and will also ensure that all travelers have 24-hour contact information for the CEPH executive director.
6) The staff coordinator will ensure that each CEPH traveler will have access to a telephone capable of making international calls.
7) The staff coordinator will work with the on-site contact to negotiate and ensure that that appropriate security measures are provided by the program/school. All reasonable requests for security measures must be accommodated by the program/school.
8) The staff coordinator will work with the on-site contact to gather information on required visas or any other necessary papers. The staff coordinator will facilitate this process for any CEPH volunteer involved, but each volunteer is ultimately responsible for his/her own documents. The program/school is responsible for reimbursing the cost of such documents.
9) The staff coordinator will ensure that the whereabouts of all staff/volunteers are registered with the embassy or consulate in the country of travel.
10) The staff coordinator will coordinate receipt of any needed vaccinations. Staff and volunteers will be expected to assume responsibility for their own vaccinations. If vaccinations are not covered by volunteers’ or staff members’ insurance, they may provide the CEPH executive director with an advance cost estimate. If approved by CEPH, CEPH will reimburse the volunteer or staff member for vaccination expenses and will bill the program/school.
11) At least two months prior to the trip, the on-site contact will provide the staff coordinator with any salient information regarding business or personal customs, conventions regarding dress, etc., and the staff coordinator will provide this information to all travelers.
All volunteers traveling outside North America must sign a release of liability for overseas travel.