deleeuw-thepolitics-2012.pdf (1.17 MB)
The politics of medical curriculum accreditation : thoughts, not facts?
journal contributionposted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Evelyne de Leeuw
The medical profession needs to adapt to the socio-political challenges of the 21st century. These have been described as the ‘Health Society’. Medical professionalism, however, is characterised by conservative values that are perpetuated by the professional attributes of autonomy, authority, and state-sanctioned altruism. The medical education enterprise is a replication and continuation of these values, sanctioned by its accreditation agencies. The Australian Medical Council through its accreditation standards only sanctions the formal curriculum. The status quo, however, is maintained by social, cultural and political parameters enmeshed in the informal and hidden curricula. By not addressing informal and hidden value constructs that maintain elitist medical arrogance the accreditation agency fails to uphold its remit. This paper explores the philosophical and empirical bases of these phenomena and illustrates them by means of a case study. Medical education and its sanctioning structure and agency are confirmed as forceful political enterprises. We conclude that explicit review of the informal and hidden curriculum is a feasible and necessary prerequisite for medical education reform and change.