Symposium #5 - Learning How to Advance Accreditation in Your Context


Somaya Hosny is a board member of the National Authority of quality assurance and accreditation and education in Egypt and a professor in histology and cell biology at the Faculty of Medicine at the Suez Canal University.

Dr. Jacques E. Girard is a visiting professor at Université Laval, as a special advisor in Global and Planetary Health at the School of Medicine. During his career, he was actively involved in the fields of Social Medicine, Primary Health Care (PHC), Health System Analysis and Global Health Research. In October 2005, he joined the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to work as an international advisor for the development of health systems and services first in Chile and then Mexico for more than 6 years. Back to Quebec, during his mandate as the Global Health Director until 2022, he was aligned with the Faculty’s vision of social accountability. He acts now also as a Public Health Consultant in the Americas.

Learning how to advance accreditation innovation: What? So what? Now what?

There are several strategies for advancing accreditation for specific institutions, these include:

  1. Generating interest in actionable approaches to social accountability through accreditation
  2. Gathering feedback on the webinars and future ideas/input from this community
  3. Identifying synergies among the working groups and other interested partners/organizations
  4. Identifying next steps and improvements for future impact


The initiative began with think tank meetings hosted by the Associated Faculties of Medicine in Canada in 2021, leading to the formation of three action groups: Advocacy, Capacity Building, and Standards Setting. A steering committee was established to coordinate and communicate the work of these groups. 

Adopting new medical education accreditation standards can have a ripple effect on healthcare delivery institutions and health actors in decision-making capacities. The steering committee, composed of action group co-chairs and additional representation, meets regularly and has hosted an international workshop. A new research action group has also been added.

The three action groups have distinct objectives:

  1. Standards Setting Group: Designing a universal framework adaptable to local contexts that encompasses standards illustrating social accountability in medical schools. This includes suggesting metrics, and indicators, and promoting collaboration between institutions.
  2. Capacity Building Group: Supporting leadership in academic institutions on social accountability (SA) and its implications for change, preparing advocates for SA, helping design strategies for SA adoption, and developing a framework for essential competencies of socially accountable health professionals.
  3. Advocacy Group: Drawing up key arguments for SA, designing advocacy packages for specific targets, organizing events, and seeking support from international organizations.

Overall, accreditation can be thought of as a catalyst for health system change. The ongoing activities of the three action groups supported by the steering committee, emphasizing the importance of their coordinated efforts in driving positive transformations in medical education and healthcare delivery.


International Social Accountability and Accreditation Steering Committee (ISAASC) Standard Setting Group (SSG): A conceptual framework to generate standards for assessing/accrediting progress towards social accountability

The goal of the International Social Accountability and Accreditation Steering Committee (ISAASC) is to create momentum for a global initiative ensuring that accreditation systems for medical schools are designed and utilized to effectively address current and future priority health needs and challenges in societies.

The main objective of the Standards Setting Group (SSG) within ISAASC is to design a universal framework. This framework is intended to assist accrediting bodies in collaboration with medical schools and stakeholders to develop their own context-specific standards related to social accountability.

The SSG has undergone an iterative process, producing seven versions of a conceptual framework document between June 2022 and October 3, 2023. The latest version, titled “Assessing/Accrediting Progress Towards Social Accountability: A Conceptual Framework to Generate Standards - The Case of Medical Schools,” poses a key question: “To what extent does the medical school contribute to health in society?”

The purpose of this framework is to initiate a conversation with accreditation systems and influencers globally. The SSG aims to determine the relevant documents to be shared in this dialogue. The process involves organization and consultation to define the information most helpful in pursuing this conversation and achieving the expected outcomes.

Learning about change within local and global ecosystems: Planning an advocacy strategy for socially accountable accreditation


There is a comprehensive advocacy strategy for socially accountable accreditation within the International Social Accountability and Accreditation Steering Committee (ISAASC) initiative. Key components of the strategy include:

List of Arguments/Selling Points for SA:

  • Define social accountability (SA) as responding to society’s needs and challenges.
  • Emphasize values-driven approaches, partnership, and the search for impact.

Design Advocacy Packages:

  • Tailor advocacy packages for specific targets, including national authorities, university leadership, school leadership, health professions, accreditation agencies, civil society, students, and citizens.

Organize Special Events and Meetings:

  • Plan and participate in special events and national/international meetings to promote socially accountable accreditation as a tool for achieving excellence.     

Seek Support from International Organizations:

  • Obtain backing from international organizations such as WHO, UNESCO, World Bank, OECD, WFME, international associations of universities, and accreditation agencies.

Understand Advocacy Group’s Role within ISAASC:

  • Clarify the advocacy group’s role in contributing to the overarching goal of ISAASC to create a global initiative for responsive accreditation systems in medical schools.

Assess the Influence of Agencies at Different Levels:

  • Determine the extent to which agencies at national, regional, and international levels could impact the accreditation of medical schools. Interaction with these agencies will be crucial for revisiting accreditation systems in light of social accountability principles.

Utilize Stakeholder Analysis:

  • Employ a stakeholder analysis, visualized through a Pentagram partners mapping tool, to gain diverse perspectives on challenging accreditation processes.

Develop a Tentative Roadmap:

  • Envision a tentative roadmap outlining specific actions to be undertaken by the advocacy group and experienced colleagues.

There should also be background considerations, including the scope of authority, acceptance of accrediting agencies, and substantive changes. The strategy emphasizes the importance of determining the purpose and focus, identifying stakeholders, and developing a political management strategy.

Advocacy Strategy Template Components:

  • Cover Sheet - Summary
  • Issue (Advocacy Goal, Key Messages, Challenges, Materials)
  • Potential Allies and Opponents
  • Advocacy Status and Timeline
  • Critical Path: Impact Change/Theory of Change
  • Resources
  • Risks and Contingency Plans
  • Exit Strategy and Evaluation

Overall, there is a structured and detailed plan for advocating socially accountable accreditation within the broader context of the ISAASC initiative, encompassing various strategic elements, analyses, and templates for effective implementation and assessment.


Stay in touch - there's more to come.

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