Social Accountability of Medical Schools: Do Accreditation Standards Help Promote the Concept?

The social accountability of medical schools is an emerging concept in medical education. This issue calls for the consideration of societal needs in all aspects of medical programmes, including the values of relevance, quality, cost-effectiveness and equity. Most importantly, these needs must be defined collaboratively with people themselves. Social accountability should be considered in the accreditation of medical education, a process implemented with the aim of ensuring quality in medical education. This process may be voluntary or mandatory and varies from one country to another. The objective of this study is to analyse current accreditation standards in relation to the concept of social accountability. The standards of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and the Australian Medical Council standards (AMC) were classified into process standards, content standards or outcome standards. The three sets of standards were plotted against the social accountability grid suggested by Boelen and Heck. Most of the standards are process standards. Content standards are addressed less frequently than process standards, and very few standards address the outcomes of the medical school. When considering standards that address social accountability, the focus is on education more than the service and research functions of the medical school. Standards should consider all aspects of the medical school’s functions to promote the concept of social accountability.

CitationAbdalla, ME. Social Accountability of Medical Schools: Do Accreditation Standards Help Promote the Concept? Journal of Case Studies in Accreditation and Assessment. 2014;3.

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