Global Consensus for Social Accountability of Medical Schools

The beginning of the 20th century presented medical schools with unprecedented
challenges to become more scientific and effective in the training of physicians. This
was captured in the Flexner report of 1910. The 21st Century presents medical
schools with a different set of challenges: improving quality, equity, relevance and
effectiveness in health care delivery; reducing the mismatch with societal priorities;
redefining roles of health professionals; and providing evidence of impact on
people’s heath status.

To address those challenges, 130 organizations and individuals from around the
world with responsibility for health education, professional regulation and policy-making
participated for eight months in a three-round Delphi process leading to a
three-day facilitated consensus development conference.

The Consensus consists of ten strategic directions for medical schools to become
socially accountable, highlighting required improvements to:

• Respond to current and future health needs and challenges in society
• Reorient their education, research and service priorities accordingly
• Strengthen governance and partnerships with other stakeholders
• Use evaluation and accreditation to assess performance and impact

It recommends synergy among existing networks and organizations to move the
consensus into action at global level, with a number of tasks:

Advocacy to recognize the value of the global consensus
Consultancy to adapt and implement it in different contexts
Research to design standards reflecting social accountability
Global coordination to share experiences and support

A century after Flexner’s report, the global consensus on social accountability of
medical schools is a charted landmark for future medical education worldwide.