The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy as a means to achieving social accountability in medical education

Brian Mundell Ross


Varied social, economic, environmental, and geographic factors lead to often avoidable differences in health between various groups and populations.  The reform of health care systems is key to reducing such ‘health inequity’ including the fair provision of timely high-quality healthcare to all members of society.  The education of health providers themselves has a crucial role to play in the transformative change required to achieve this but, in the case of physicians, has been ineffective in doing so.  An ideological movement is emerging, however, in medical education, that of social accountability which requires that medical schools further the enhancement of the health of the entire society it is part of rather than being interested in furthering the narrow aims of the medical establishment.  The question is how to go about altering medical curricula in furtherance of social accountability.  In this paper I argue that critical pedagogy provides an established framework for doing so which can be used to guide those interested in making medical education a force for social justice.  


Social accountability, critical pedagogy, health equity

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