Medical education is being transformed around the world.
Key to this transformation is the social accountability movement, which encourages medical schools to direct their education, research, and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the communities they serve, both locally and globally. In response to the global health equity crisis, socially accountable medical education provides an upstream policy strategy that is emphasizing the value of programs that advance the health and wellbeing of the people and communities they serve. Early evidence shows that socially accountable medical schools have more educational partnerships (i.e., community placements), more graduates who are likely to stay and serve underserved communities, and greater positive impacts on local economies.
While social accountability has been identified as a powerful paradigm shift in medical education, social accountability as a research movement is still largely under-studied.
To date, social accountability literature has been mostly defined in terms of institutional, educational, and graduate outcomes, and there is a notable lack of specific research structures that can support strengthening academic-community partnerships. The goal of this project is to explore the transformative potential of a socially accountable research network for fostering sustainable academic-community partnerships and institutional change.
The CREATE Project brings together researchers, educators, administrators, policy makers, institutions, and organizations from across Canada and beyond to both study and contribute to the development of a social accountability research movement. With growing calls for research institutions to respond to complex societal problems, CREATE will support a Canadian-led and globally connected research network that will create a body of knowledge that is greater than the sum of its parts, and distinct from similar projects undertaken in an unconnected fashion. Guided by principles of trust, respect, reciprocity, diversity, equity, and inclusion, the CREATE team will engage a collective impact approach to:
In our ever-changing present, we need community-based, systems-focused, and sustainable solutions for addressing wicked societal problems. Socially accountable research has a vital role to play in this effort, and for ensuring our communities are supported by academic institutions. NOSM University, along with its many strong institutional and organizational partnerships across Northern Ontario, in Canada, and around the world, are collectively primed to lead this work towards advancing and evaluating the transformative potential of socially accountable research.