Medical Education Scholarship Forum and Social Accountability


In May 2014 the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland organised the 2nd Medical Education Scholarship Centre’s Forum. I was pleased to be involved with the following presentations –


(1) Oral poster presentation entitled “Social Accountability in Medical Education”. Catherine Nicholson, MD student, Class of 2017, had carried out a research project –

“…to  illustrate the recent trend of social accountability in medical education to tailor admission processes and curricula to best meet the needs of the region that a particular medical school serves and to show how it can be successful in addressing health disparities and inequities.”


This thoughtful and insightful piece of literature research was received with significant interest by participants at the Forum. Admissions and the MD curricula are key places to address social accountability because it is an important subject for the 21st century physician. See:

Also, the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) have added an accreditation standard for medical schools regarding social accountability from June 2015.


It was a privilege to facilitate Catherine’s work on this project.


(2) Workshop presentation entitled “Social Accountability – Impact of the Faculty of Medicine’s Activities on the Community and Patient Care”.


This workshop involved a collaboration with Faculty colleagues: Lisa Fleet and Fran Kirby, Professional Development and Conferencing Services, and Janet McHugh and Wanda Parsons, Admissions.


Our principal objectives were:

(a) to discuss the Faculty’s current activities in support of social accountability in undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education;

(b) to propose further activities to improve social accountability in these areas of medical education.


We had ten participants and a series of active discussions throughout the 75 minutes of the workshop. Social accountability is a dynamic, rapidly evolving area of the Faculty’s education activities requiring engagement with our communities. I believe the Faculty needs to continuously improve these activities in order to meet the changing health needs of our patients and populations.



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About Iain Robbe

I am a medical practitioner (MB, BS, 1980; MRCS, LRCP, 1980) registered with the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have reactivated my licence to practise and I am providing telephone support to vulnerable elderly to assist them during the pandemic. I remain active as a Clinical Medical Educationist participating in a number of projects with the universities of St Mary’s and Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and Mount Allison in New Brunswick, inter alia, and separately with three of the veterinary schools in the UK. My focus is on teaching and research in professionalism, ethics, and communications, and particularly the influences of vernacular architecture on the creation of positive learning experiences in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. I have the degree of Master in Public Health from the University of London (1985) and the degree of Master in Medical Education with distinction from the University of Wales (2001). The guiding principles in my practices are based on andragogy and humanism, and the prime ethical principle of autonomy for the individual and in population health.

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