UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Health Advocate Role: Preparing Future Physicians for Socially Responsive Practice Dharamsi, S.; Osei-Twum, J.; Shroff, F.; Mu, L.; Woollard, R.


The CanMEDS Health Advocate (HA) role relates to the physician’s responsibility to identify and respond appropriately to the social determinants of health, healthcare disparities, and the needs of vulnerable or marginalized populations. According to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), physicians have an important role to play as health advocates - they are expected to attend to the ethical and professional issues inherent in health advocacy, including altruism, social justice, autonomy, integrity and idealism. However, HA is regarded as one of the more difficult CanMEDS roles to integrate into medical education. We have prepared this e-booklet for medical educators and learners as an educational primer. It is meant to be a resource for students, residents, educators, and clinicians. The content reviews principles of health advocacy, examples of the HA work that physicians do, starting points for teaching HA, problem-based case studies, and an extensive list of resources. The booklet was funded by the Office for Faculty Development and Educational Support, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. It is one outcome of a larger research project by Dr. Dharamsi, funded by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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