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Friday, July 14, 2017

Social Mission in Health Professions Education: Beyond Flexner

Fitzhugh Mullan
JAMA: Viewpoint
Originally published June 26, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Today, with a broader recognition of the importance of social determinants of health and a better understanding of the substantial health disparities within the United States, new ideas are circulating and important experiments in curricular redesign are taking place at many schools. Accountable care organizations, primary care medical homes, interprofessional education, cost consciousness, and teaching health centers are all present to some degree in the curricula of health professions schools and teaching hospitals, and all have dimensions of social mission. These developments are encouraging, but the creative focus on social mission that they represent needs to be widely embraced, becoming a core value of all health professions educational institutions, including schools, teaching hospitals, and postgraduate training programs.

Toward that end, the unqualified commitment of these institutions to teaching and modeling social mission is needed, as are the voices of academic professional organizations, accrediting bodies, and student groups who have important roles in defining the values of young professionals. The task is interprofessional and should involve other disciplines including nursing, dentistry, public health, physician assistants, and, perhaps, law and social work. The commitments needed are not the domain of any one profession, and collaborative initiatives at the educational level will reinforce social mission norms in practice. The precision with which health disparities and the morbidity and mortality that they represent can be documented calls on all health professions schools, academic health centers, and teaching hospital to place their commitment to social mission alongside their dedication to education, research, and service in pursuit of a healthier and fairer society.

The article is here.

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