History & Mission

In 2001, landmark document (Social Accountability: A Vision for Canadian Medical Schools) later adopted by the all Canadian medical schools, the concept of social accountability laid out the expectation of the public that governments and the professions work collaboratively to ensure that the highly valued Canadian health care system continues to provide the necessary access and quality to meet the needs of the population. Medical schools have an important role to play in this endeavour. WHO (1995) has defined the Social Accountability of Medical Schools as “the obligation to direct their education, research and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region, and/or nation they have a mandate to serve. The priority health concerns are to be identified jointly by governments, health care organizations, health professionals and the public”.

The CoM has had a long history of advocacy in healthcare, starting with our first dean, Dr. J. Wendall MacLeod, known as the “Red Dean” because of his public support during the birth of Medicare in Saskatchewan at a time when there was great resistance from physicians. Macleod was considered a pioneer in social medicine and medical education in Canada. (Horlick, 2007). The CoM continues to uphold MacLeod’s values and philosophy through our College-wide social accountability mission emphasizing health equity, Indigenous health, rural and remote health, and global health. For the CoM, social accountability meets the unique needs of marginalized and underserved communities, both locally and globally. Our social accountability activities closely follow the Future of Medical Education in Canada (FMEC) MD and PG Guidelines, which identify the particular role of medical schools in social accountability as the institutions that train and support health professionals in developing the skills required to serve the various and changing needs of diverse and vulnerable communities ensuring high quality health care is available for all Canadians.

The college established the Social Accountability Committee in 2004 and in 2011 a division was created to incorporate SA into all the College does. In that division we work with community, health professionals and administrators, faculty, students and residents to facilitate a college wide response that aims toward addressing the health needs of underserved populations in Saskatchewan and the broader global community, through innovative medical education, thoughtful research, and advocacy for health equity. Today within the College of Medicine, social accountability (SA) is a strategic direction, a shared responsibility, and a guiding philosophy of the work we do.