Charles Boelen and Bob Woollard on Social accountability and medical education (2009)
An educational institution that aspires to excellence in the production of health care professionals should be granted that status not only when its graduates possess all of the competencies desirable to improve the health of citizens and society, but when they are able to use them in their professional practice. Although medical schools are not presently held to account for the ways in which their graduates are used, and serve, their societies, such an accounting may be required in the future. Educational institutions are increasingly requested to be more explicit about their outputs of professional practitioners and the impact of their presence on social well-being. We may expect policies in higher education and health care to foster such an approach, providing there is political will to improve coordination between the identiﬁcation of people’s health needs, health care system management and educational strategies. In return, educational institutions must use their autonomy and resources to make the best use of their innovative potential to meet these challenges.