None of the authors have declared competing interests.
All the authors made substantial contributions to the discussions underpinning this paper. The manuscript was drafted by MCJR and the remaining authors contributed critical revisions and gave final approval of the version submitted to IJHPR. They all agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work and in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part are appropriately investigated and resolved. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The role of medical schools is in a process of change. The World Health Organization has declared that they can no longer be ivory towers whose primary focus is the production of specialist physicians and cutting edge laboratory research. They must also be socially accountable and direct their activities towards meeting the priority health concerns of the areas they serve. The agenda must be set in partnership with stakeholders including governments, health care organisations and the public.
The concept of social accountability has particular resonance for the Bar Ilan Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, Israel’s newest medical school, which was established with a purpose of reducing health inequities in the Region. As a way of exploring and understanding the issues, discussions were held with international experts in the field who visited the Galilee. A symposium involving representatives from other medical schools in Israel was also held to extend the discourse. Deliberations that took place are reported here.
The meaning of social accountability was discussed, and how it could be achieved. Three forms of action were the principal foci – augmentation of the medical curriculum, direct action through community engagement and political advocacy. A platform was set for taking the social accountability agenda forward, with the hope that it will impact on health inequalities in Israel and contribute to discussions elsewhere.