CanMEDS Health Advocate
Introduction to Health Advocate

Introduction to Health Advocate

Module Objectives


After completing this module you will be able to:

  • define the Role of Health Advocate

  • identify behaviours and skills that reflect the Health Advocate Role

  • list the social determinants of health and explain how each impacts on health outcomes

  • identify the Health Advocate Role in a variety of environments - daily practice as well as local, national and international settings

  • identify barriers to physicians becoming Health Advocates


This module is an opportunity to think about advocacy, all kinds of advocacy and especially the kinds of advocacy that you already do and that which you hope to do in the future.


We will introduce advocacy and provide some examples of it.  In order to help to identify areas of opportunity for advocacy we will talk about health, the determinants of health and our responsibility to not just treat disease, but to promote health. Health promotion and the mitigation of the factors that create ill health are acts of advocacy easily included in the medical sphere.  We will then examine international conventions on Health as a Human Right to broaden our discussion of advocacy to see that there is an imperative to act when we see that individuals or communities are being denied access to the conditions necessary for health.


Advocacy can then come from a sense that it is within our realm of responsibility as physicians - our professional responsibility, it is also a moral and legal obligation set by international convention - our civic and community responsibility.  We will then look at empathy as a motivator for advocacy and examine the extent to which advocacy is our responsibility as a human being, that as individuals capable of compassion it is our responsibility to try to understand and meet the needs of others .