May 2022 What I’m Thinking About


Ethical and Practical Challenges of Health Advocacy Assessment

Drs. Ian Scott, Kori LaDonna, Maria Hubinette, Renate Kahlke, Theresa Van der Goes 

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Hybrid: Life Sciences Centre 1312 CMR & Zoom*

Zoom Details: For connection details, please email


Recent social movements like #BLM and #JusticeForJoyce, combined with the devastating impact of COVID-19 among lower income and racialized communities, have brought new attention to the stark disparities in health, produced in part by inequities and discrimination in our healthcare systems. Many clinicians, researchers, and advocacy groups have called on healthcare professionals to do better in addressing these inequities in the clinical setting, and to act as advocates for social justice for their patients and communities. If we are to address these issues in the healthcare system, we must also consider the experience and role of learners learning and working within it, as they prepare to enter their future professions.

Learning to act as advocates for patients and as activists for systems change while learning to work within systems that are resistant to change is a difficult task for future health professionals and educators alike. In particular, we know that assessment can be a key driver of learning, but assessing learners’ skill as advocates is fraught with ethical and practical challenges. In this “What I’m Thinking About” discussion, we explore these challenges and discuss a possible way forward to think about teaching and assessing learner advocacy activities in medical education.

  1. Discuss how health advocacy is understood by educators and health professionals, and its role in health professionals’ and health professional learners’ work
  2. Identify ethical and practical issues involved in assessing advocacy among health professional learners
  3. Discuss ideas and possible frameworks for advocacy teaching and assessment

Biography: Ian Scott

Dr. Ian Scott’s research interests are in medical student career choice, practice patterns of newly graduated family physicians, and the teaching, enactment and assessment of advocacy in medical training. Ian has an MD and a Master’s in Health Research Methodology from McMaster University and is certified by both the College of Family Physicians of Canada in Family Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Public Heath and Preventive Medicine.

Biography: Kori LaDonna

Dr. Kori LaDonna is assistant professor, Department of Innovation in Medical Education & Department of Medicine, and Lead—Qualitative Education Research, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Ottawa. Dr. LaDonna’s program of research explores the hidden or overlooked struggles that affect learning and professional development, including misconceptions about the Health Advocate role that challenge robust teaching and assessment for this critical aspect of care. Dr. LaDonna has expertise in a number of qualitative methodologies, and she regularly mentors learners across the medical education continuum as they conduct and disseminate rich and impactful medical education scholarship.

Biography: Maria Hubinette

Dr. Maria Hubinette is a community-based family physician. Engaging a variety of qualitative methodologies, her research explores how we conceptualize and operationalize social accountability, equity and inclusion as health professionals and has the underlying goal of system change. She has explored the construct of health advocacy and how this is conceptualized and enacted in training and practice. Another related area of research considers the experience and professional identify formation of learners, particularly those that identify as members of under-represented groups. She is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Practice at UBC and a Scholar at the UBC Centre for Health Education Scholarship.

Biography: Renate Kahlke

Dr. Renate Kahlke uses a range of qualitative methods to explore how social and systemic pressures influence health professionals’ and trainees’ decisions. For instance, she recently explored how professionals work to improve their practice in spite of obstacles, and how learners understand their role as health advocates when there is often significant pressure not to advocate. She is also interested in moving qualitative research in health professions education forward by engaging in methodological innovation, theory development, and meta-research.

Biography: Theresa Van der Goes

Dr. Theresa van der Goes is the Assessment Director for UBC Postgraduate Family Practice, and a retired full service Family Physician, who lives and works in Nanaimo.

Accredited by UBC CPD




The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15.0 Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity. CFPC Session ID#: 195173-001.

RCPSC Accreditation

The CHES Cutting Edge Speaker Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.