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

The World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) aims to enhance the quality of medical education worldwide. WFME was founded in 1972 by the World Medical Association (WMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), which are the additional voting members on the WFME Executive Council, along with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

WFME is concerned that medical education and training quality should be to the highest standard. WFME works to support healthcare for all by promoting high-quality medical education for the estimated current physician workforce of 9.8 million (WHO, 2015) and prospective students and trainees. WFME works with doctors, educators and universities worldwide through its six-member regional associations of medical education, which form the WFME Executive Council[4]. There are more than 2,800 active listings in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

WFME Overview

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

WFME[1]World Federation for Medical Education
Established Year30 September 1972
Founding OrganisationsWorld Medical Association (WMA[6]),
World Health Organization (WHO)
RecognitionEducational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)[5]
HeadquartersCopenhagen, Denmark
Official websitehttps://wfme.org/

History of WFME

  • WFME was founded on 30 September 1972 in Copenhagen. The founding organisations included the World Health Organization (WHO) and 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.


The three significant projects WFME presently prioritises are creating global standards for quality improvement of medical education, managing the WDMS[2] and the Recognition of Accreditation.

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  • 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 following are the kinds of agencies eligible to apply for WFME recognition:

  • 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[3] 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 are a global expert consensus on the standards for medical schools and other providers of medical education throughout the continuum of medical education and 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

Does the WFME accredit medical schools?

No, WFME does not supply an accreditation process for medical schools. The WFME Recognition agenda grants Recognition Status to individual accrediting agencies normally operating within a specific country that have been evaluated as meeting WFME recognition criteria.

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; https://wfme.org/accreditation/timeline/

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

The WFME office, accreditation@wfme.org and admin@wfme.org

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.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Federation_for_Medical_Education Wikipedia
  2. https://main.mohfw.gov.in/medical-education official website
  3. https://www.wdoms.org/ official website
  4. https://wfme.org/about-wfme/executive-council/ official website
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Medical_Association Wikipedia
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