Addressing the health advocate role in medical education

Suzanne Boroumand, Michael J. Stein, Mohammad Jay, Julia W. Shen, Michael Hirsh, Shafik Dharamsi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The health advocate role is an essential and underappreciated component of the CanMEDs competency framework. It is tied to the concept of social accountability and its application to medical schools for preparing future physicians who will work to ensure an equitable healthcare system. Student involvement in health advocacy throughout medical school can inspire a long-term commitment to address health disparities. The Social Medicine Network (SMN) provides an online platform for medical trainees to seek opportunities to address health disparities, with the goal of bridging the gap between the social determinants of health and clinical medicine. This online platform provides a list of health advocacy related opportunities for addressing issues that impede health equity, whether through research, community engagement, or clinical care. First implemented at the University of British Columbia, the SMN has since expanded to other medical schools across Canada. At the University of Ottawa, the SMN is being used to augment didactic teachings of health advocacy and social accountability. This article reports on the development and application of the SMN as a resource for medical trainees seeking meaningful and actionable opportunities to enact their role as health advocates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Jan 2020


  • Advocacy
  • Interprofessionalism
  • Medical education
  • Social determinants of health


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