News Release

REF NO.: 4

SUBJECT: International excellence in social accountability award for Memorial University

DATE: September 4, 2014

         The Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University has received a 2014 ASPIRE Award of Excellence in Social Accountability of Medical Schools.

         The International Recognition of Excellence in Medical Education awards were presented at the 2014 International Conference in Medical Education in Milan, Italy, on Sept. 2.

         The ASPIRE awards were created by the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE), an international association for medical education, to set high international criteria and a rigorous process to recognize medical schools who have demonstrated excellence. Memorial University is now one of only five medical schools to be recognized worldwide by the association for excellence in social accountability.

         The award recognizes medical schools for their excellence in engaging and partnering with their communities and responding to the needs of their region. This fits closely with Memorial University’s special obligation to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and its Public Engagement Framework.

         Receipt of the ASPIRE award was based on the success of the Faculty of Medicine’s mission to direct its education, research and service activities to address the priority health concerns of the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador.

         The award assessed Memorial’s commitment to social accountability in four areas: organization and function of the school; education of medical doctors; research activities; and impact on communities served. These four areas are reflected in numerous ways within the faculty.               

         “We start right from high school through our summer MedQuest program, which introduces high school students to careers in health-care professions,” said Dr. James Rourke, dean, Faculty of Medicine. “We’re really connecting with communities throughout the entire province. Between 30-40 per cent of our undergraduate medical students come from rural areas, compared to a Canadian average of 11 per cent.”

         Two examples that helped Memorial stand out are the student-led Gateway initiative, which provides refugees with medical care, and the increase in the number of medical graduates who have chosen to set up practice and remain in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

         “The presentation in Milan has given Memorial remarkable international recognition as a global leader in social accountability and medical education,” said Dr. Rourke, one of the world’s leaders in the area of social accountability of medical schools. “It recognizes Memorial University’s excellence and identified us as an exemplar in how we engage with our partners to meet the needs of our communities and region.

         “This success is the result of the vision, commitment and teamwork of our faculty, staff, students and graduates and our many community partners, all of whom have provided, and continue to provide, crucial input into Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine,” he continued. “Together we are educating world-class doctors for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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