Accreditation Grows Stronger as it Helps Strengthen FETPs

Right: Screenshot from TEPHINET's upcoming reviewer training e-learning module

Now reaching the end of its third cycle, TEPHINET’s FETP accreditation program, which is an opportunity for programs to align with common standards supporting quality training, is growing rapidly and expanding its presence across our network in novel ways.

Starting with the sixth EMPHNET regional conference in March 2018, TEPHINET has begun conducting in-person accreditation workshops for FETP leadership at each global and regional TEPHINET conference and regional FETP network conference.

Facilitated by TEPHINET staff and/or consultants, these workshops incorporate an interactive exercise to teach participants the standards and indicators their programs are required to meet for accreditation. So far, participants have rated the workshops as positive experiences (to date, two have been held for the Eastern Mediterranean and Americas regions).

“One of our challenges has been making the standards and indicators—the ‘meat’ of accreditation—easily accessible for our programs, who then have to assess how well they match up,” says Lorie Burnett, TEPHINET’s project manager for accreditation. “We designed this workshop to allow participants to engage with the standards and indicators and interpret them among a diverse group of peers, which helps with comprehension.”

TEPHINET will conduct its next accreditation workshops in November at the ninth bi-regional TEPHINET conference in Vientiane and the seventh AFENET conference in Maputo. At the AFENET conference, TEPHINET also will hold its annual Global Accrediting Body (GAB) meeting, where GAB members will decide which programs to accredit this year from the eight that applied. TEPHINET expects to announce the results of the third cycle shortly thereafter.

Of the eight applicant programs, six were eligible to receive site visits from TEPHINET’s accreditation review teams (ARTs), the highest number of programs advancing into the site visit stage since the accreditation program began in 2016. TEPHINET is working on expanding its pool of accreditation reviewers and strengthening their training. TEPHINET’s accreditation staff are currently finalizing the development of a reviewer training e-learning module that will be ready to use for the next cycle of accreditation beginning in 2019.

“The new module will help us ensure that our reviewers are as prepared as possible,” says Dominique Bozarth, TEPHINET project coordinator for accreditation. “It will enable us to monitor reviewers’ progress and track completion rates so that we know who is truly ready to go into the field.”

During the TEPHINET Program Directors Meeting in July, experienced accreditation reviewers underscored the benefits of the experience during a session on accreditation and program quality improvement.

“What we hear again and again from our reviewers, especially those who are FETP directors themselves, is that the experience of reviewing a different program opens their eyes to the strengths and weaknesses of their own programs,” says Burnett. “It’s an enormous opportunity for cross-program learning and another example of how, with our global reach, TEPHINET is helping to fill gaps.”