Family physician preceptors' conceptualizations of health advocacy: Implications for medical education

Maria M. Hubinette, Rola Ajjawi, Shafik Dharamsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Despite its official acceptance as an important physician responsibility, health advocacy remains difficult to define, teach, role model, and assess. The aim of the current study was to explore physicians' conceptions of health advocacy based on their experience with health-advocacy-related activities.

Method: In 2012, the authors conducted 11 semistructured interviews with family physician clinical preceptors and analyzed the interviews in the tradition of phenomenography.

Results: The authors identified three distinct but related ways of understanding health advocacy: (1) Clinical: Health advocacy as support of individual patients in addressing health care needs related to the immediate clinical problem within the health care system, (2) Paraclinical: Health advocacy as support of individual patients in addressing needs that the physician preceptors viewed as peripheral yet parallel to both the health care system and the immediate clinical problem, and (3) Supraclinical: Health advocacy as population-based activities aimed at practice- and systemlevel changes that address the social determinants of health.

Conclusions: The qualitatively different understandings of health advocacy shed light on why current approaches to defining, teaching, role modeling, and assessing health advocacy competencies in medical education appear idiosyncratic. The authors suggest the development of an inclusive and extensive conceptual framework that may allow the medical education community to imagine novel ways of understanding and engaging in health advocacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1502-1509
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume89
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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