Social accountability of medical education: Aspects on global accreditation.

Stefan Lindgren, Hans Karle

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Medical doctors constitute a profession which embraces trust from and accountability to society. This responsibility extends to all medical educational institutions. Social accountability of medical education means a willingness and ability to adjust to the needs of patients and health care systems both nationally and globally. But it also implies a responsibility to contribute to the development of medicine and society through fostering competence for research and improvement. Accreditation is a process by which a statutory body evaluates and recognises an educational institution and/or its programme with respect to meeting approved criteria. It is a means for quality assurance, but also a strong power to reinforce the need for improvement and reforms. It must be performed through internationally recognised and transparent standards and should foremost promote quality development. The social accountability of medical education must be included in all accreditation processes at all levels. The global standards programme by World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) provides tools for national or regional accreditation but also guidance for reforms and quality improvement. The standards are used worldwide and have been adopted to local needs in most parts of the world. They are framed to specify attainment at two levels: basic standards or minimum requirements and standards for quality development. The concept of social accountability is embedded in all parts of the WFME standards documents. In 2011, a revision of the standards for undergraduate education has been instituted. Strengthening of aspects on social accountability of medical education will be a particular concern.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-672
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Educational Sciences


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