CanMEDS Health Advocate
Who is a Health Care Advocate?

Who is a Health Care Advocate?


The Health Advocate Role may be the least understood of the CanMEDs Roles.  This Role is felt by some educators to be the hardest one to teach.  It is also the Role that residents seem most unaware of [1][2]


Physician as Health Advocate includes the visibile and invisible acts of empathy and compassion physicians show for the patients and communities that we care for.  It is a Role that is conveyed by role models and mentors and may be best taught by example. 


This module may be one which feels the least relevant to your daily work.  However, with this module, we are hoping to highlight the health advocacy portion of your work, and maybe even reconnect you to some of the 'big picture' aspirations you entered medical school with!

Recognizing this component of a physician's work can help to guard against burnout and by maintaining our interest in, and compassion for, our patients.



Dr. Karen Yeates, MD, MPH.  Department of Internal Medicine, Nephrology.



Does the description of the Role of Health Care Advocate as described by Dr. Yeates appeal to you? What aspects of her presentation are relevant to you?


Have you seen other physicians who have incorporated advocacy work into their professional work? How have they done this?


What does advocacy mean to you as a person? and as a physician?


Who, in and out of medicine are your advocacy role models?


Why do some people feel that Health Advocate is the most important CanMEDS Role?



1. Verma S, Flynn L, Seguin R. Faculty's and residents' perceptions of teaching and evaluating the role of health advocate: a study at one Canadian university. Acad Med 2005;80:103-8

2. Leveridge M, Beiko D, Wilson JWL, et al. Health advocacy training in urology: a Canadian survey on attitudes and experience in residency. CUAJ 2007;1: 363-9

All references for this section