World Federation for Medical Education (WFME): History, Mission, Recognition, Standards, Policy etc.

The World Federation for Medical Education was established on September 30, 1972, through collaboration between the World Medical Association (WMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Its primary goal is to enhance the global standard of medical education. Additional voting members on the WFME Executive Council include the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

WFME is dedicated to ensuring that medical education and training meet the highest standards possible. By advocating for excellence in medical education, WFME contributes to the provision of quality healthcare for all, including the approximately 9.8 million physicians worldwide (as estimated by WHO in 2015) and aspiring medical students and trainees. Collaborating with doctors, educators, and universities globally, WFME operates through its six regional associations of medical education, which collectively constitute the WFME Executive Council. Additionally, the World Directory of Medical Schools contains over 2,800 active listings, serving as a comprehensive resource in the field.

WFME Overview

Here in this section, we are providing a short overview of World Federation for Medical Education. Let’s have a look.

WFMEWorld Federation for Medical Education
Established Year30 September 1972
Founding OrganisationsWorld Medical Association (WMA),
World Health Organization (WHO)
RecognitionEducational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
HeadquartersCopenhagen, Denmark
Official website

History of WFME

  • WFME was founded on 30 September 1972 in Copenhagen. The founding organisations included the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Medical Association (WMA).
  • In 1988 the Edinburgh Declaration was approved at the World Conference on Medical Education, calling for greater cooperation between the health system and the education system, reflecting national needs in medical education and continuing lifelong education of medical staff to achieve quality in practice.
  • The World Health Assembly adopted the Declaration in 1989.
  • The part of medical education answering national demands was also highlighted at the World Summit on Medical Education 1993.
  • WFME partook in the Global Consensus Project for Social Accountability of Medical Schools initiated in 2010.


WFME is currently focused on three key initiatives: establishing global standards to enhance the quality of medical education, overseeing the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDMS), and facilitating the Recognition of Accreditation.

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Edufever Common Form
  • Basic (undergraduate) Medical Education (BME)
  • Postgraduate medical education (PME)
  • Continuing medical education (CME)/professional development of medical doctors (CPD)

Types of Accrediting Agencies Eligible for WFME Recognition

The types of organizations eligible to seek recognition from WFME include:

  • A government or inter-governmental entity, or
  • An independent professional body that is authorised or recognised by the relevant national or state/provincial government (Ministry of Health or Ministry of Education or both), the legislator (parliament), or
  • An independent professional body isomerised or recognised by a professional or scientific association with the appropriate authority.

WFME Standards

The WFME standards represent a universal agreement among experts worldwide regarding the criteria for evaluating medical schools and other institutions offering medical education across all stages of medical training.

  1. Basic Medical Education,
  2. Post Graduate Medical Education, and
  3. Continuing Professional Development.

The standards are divided into basic (lowest requirements) and quality improvement standards, accompanied by annotations and definitions.

WFME Trilogy of Standards: Areas

Basic medical educationPostgraduate medical educationContinuing professional development
1. Mission and Values1. Mission and Outcomes1. Mission and Outcomes
2. Curriculum2. Training Process2. Learning Methods
3. Assessment3. Assessment of Trainees3. Planning and Documentation
4. Students4. Trainees4. The Individual Doctor
5. Academic Staff5. Staffing5. CPD Providers
6. Educational Resources6. Training Settings and Educational ResourcesEducational Context and Resources
Quality Assurance7. Evaluation and Training7. Evaluation of Methods and Competencies
8. Governance and Administration8. Governance and Administration8. Organisation
9. Continuous Renewal9. Continuous Renewal

ECFMG 2023 Policy

Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) has released a detailed plan for the progress towards 2023. ECFMG has devised a 4-phase plan which is being implemented as 2023 approaches:

ECFMG 2023 Policy
ECFMG 2023 Policy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is WFME accreditation?

The WFME Recognition Programme evaluates agencies against internationally-accepted criteria for accreditation.

What does WFME stand for?

World Federation for Medical Education

Where is WFME located?

New York, New York United States

What is the purpose of the WFME Recognition Programme?

The WFME Recognition Programme aims to provide a transparent and rigorous method of ensuring that accreditation of medical schools worldwide is internationally accepted and high.

What is the time scale of the WFME recognition process?

Applying to the Recognition Programme usually brings 12-18 months from submitting the eligibility application to the Recognition Status decision. For more information visit;

Who can the accrediting agency in my country contact if they need assistance preparing for WFME recognition?

The WFME office, and

What is the relationship between WFME, ECFMG and FAIMER?

The US Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is described as an elected Executive Member on the Executive Council of WFME. The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education Research (FAIMER) is a non-profit foundation established and supported by ECFMG. WFME and FAIMER are the members who manage the World Directory of Medical Schools.

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