Social Mission Metrics: Developing a Survey to Guide Health Professions Schools.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges






Published for the Association of American Medical Colleges by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


Education, Dental, Graduate; Education, Graduate; Education, Medical, Graduate; Education, Nursing, Graduate; Healthcare Disparities; Humans; Organizational Objectives; Political Activism; Practice Guidelines as Topic; Reproducibility of Results; Surveys and Questionnaires; United States




The social mission, which is focused on advancing social justice and health equity, has gained recognition as an important aspect of health professions education. However, there is currently no established method to measure a school's commitment to these activities. In this Perspective, the authors describe the development of a new tool to measure the social mission at dental, medical, and nursing schools across the United States, and they reflect on the implications of using this tool to deepen discussions around the social mission and strengthen progress toward health equity.From 2016 to 2019, the authors created and field tested the online social mission metrics survey for health professions schools to identify their level of engagement in social mission activities, track that level over time, and compare their progress with that of other schools. The survey measures a school's social mission values, programs, and activities across 6 domains and 18 activity areas. The authors also developed a scoring system based on stakeholder priorities, which they used to provide customized, confidential feedback to the schools that participated in the field tests.Going forward, the authors recommend that schools complete the survey every 3 to 5 years to track their social mission over time, and they plan to expand the survey process to additional dental, medical, and nursing schools as well as to schools in other health professions. The social mission metrics survey is meant to be a useful tool for improving the level and quality of social mission engagement at health professions schools, with the goal of improving the awareness, skills, and commitment of health professionals to health equity.


This is an open access PubMed Central article.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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