Fitzhugh Mullan’s JAMA Viewpoint published this week is an essential document for the Beyond Flexner Alliance. It details why and how the Beyond Flexner movement has grown and why it is critical for health professions educators, leaders, learners, and community-based allies to join the BFA and move social mission to the top of the concerns and commitments of the health professions education community in the United States and elsewhere.
In May of 2012, 200 educators, policy makers, students, and community members met in Tulsa, Oklahoma in a conference entitled Beyond Flexner: The Social Mission of Medical Education. The previous two years had seen a growing discussion about the chronically weak focus on the social determinants of health in most medical schools and teaching hospitals. Fueled by a determination to provide more universal care and equipped with ever increasing documentation of disparities in health between rich and poor, urban and rural, insured and uninsured, etc., the participants in what is now called “Beyond Flexner 2012” wanted to see the educational system leading the movement for social mission by teaching it and practicing it.