The role of medical schools is in a process of change. The World Health Organization has declared that they can no longer be ivory towers whose primary focus is the production of specialist physicians and cutting edge laboratory research. They must also be socially accountable and direct their activities towards meeting the priority health concerns of the areas they serve. The agenda must be set in partnership with stakeholders including governments, health care organisations and the public.The concept of social accountability has particular resonance for the Bar Ilan Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, Israel's newest medical school, which was established with a purpose of reducing health inequities in the Region. As a way of exploring and understanding the issues, discussions were held with international experts in the field who visited the Galilee. A symposium involving representatives from other medical schools in Israel was also held to extend the discourse. Deliberations that took place are reported here.The meaning of social accountability was discussed, and how it could be achieved. Three forms of action were the principal foci - augmentation of the medical curriculum, direct action through community engagement and political advocacy. A platform was set for taking the social accountability agenda forward, with the hope that it will impact on health inequalities in Israel and contribute to discussions elsewhere.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to the Four Daughters’ Charitable Trust and the Friends of Israel Educational Foundation Academic Study Group for providing financial support for the visit by social accountability experts and for the symposium. Thanks too to Keren Or Caspi who ensured the smooth running of both the visit and the symposium.
© 2014 Rudolf et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
- Community engagement
- Health inequalities
- Health inequity
- Medical curriculum
- Medical education
- Medical schools
- Social accountability