OP-504 : Meeting the Millennium Development Goals through family medicine: Developing new standards for enhancing the contribution of academic institutions

Robert Woollard, Charles Boelen, Canada
Academic institutions must demonstrate that their educational, research and service activities have the best possible impact on the nation’s health. Important institutional changes must take place to vivify such a vision. Medical schools in particular must adopt new sets of standards to define academic excellence as well as new rules for evaluation and accreditation.

Several resolutions of the World Health Assembly have recognized family medicine and general practice as potential major contributors for revitalizing medical education and implementing primary health care strategies. In order to best meet the ambitious Millenium Development Goals ( MDG’s) the main stakeholders in a health system must share a common vision and purpose in action. They need to be socially accountable, that is to ensure that action is planned to serve the priority health needs of individuals and society as a whole.

An international committee of experts is organizing a consensus conference of the major international organizations devoted to medical education. Attendees will contribute to this development.

Standards should emerge from three interdependent domains identified as “conceptualization, production and usability” ( CPU model ) of trained health professionals. By addressing the selection, preparation, and enduring utility of their graduates, medical schools will enhance their capacity to anticipate people’s health needs and have a greater impact on health. This will require partnership with policy makers, service managers, professional associations and civil society. A core element in a successful effort will be the promotion of family medicine education and practice that are unambiguously devoted to achieving the MDG’s.