Social Medicine Network

We are currently in the process of developing the links for the Social Medicine Network University of Alberta chapter, thank you for your patience.   

Who we are:

The Social Medicine Network was initiated by a group of medical students in British Columbia as an initiative that brings together an interdisciplinary group of health care providers, trainees, community members, and organizations to work together and enhance the understanding of a broad range of social factors affecting health and wellbeing. It is founded on principles of Social Medicine such as social justice and advocacy.  This network initiative works to unite citizens toward improving health outcomes and reducing health inequities.

This webpage serves as a tool providing information on opportunities to understand the broad range of social factors affecting health across Alberta in form of working with community organizations, elective opportunities for trainees, or working with individuals doing research or leading initiatives.

Through this network, we hope that ideas and conversations will be crowd sourced and developed into action as individuals connect with one another and share ideas.

If you are interested in opportunities for community engagement in British Columbia, please see the following webpage for the founding Social Medicine Network branch:

What is social medicine?

Although there are many different descriptions of Social Medicine in the literature, all of these share at least five common principles: 

1. community; 2. political action; 3. organization of services; 4. prevention of disease; 5. investigation of the causes and distribution of disease. 

In addition, the studies of social medicine are not only grounded in biology, but also in history, law, economics, moral philosophy, and other relevant fields of humanities and social sciences (1).

Historically, the term “Social Medicine” is known to be first coined by the French physician-journalist Jules Guerin in the 1800s. At this time, the term meant extending medicine’s insights to social problems. Since then, the definition of Social Medicine has evolved to be synonymous with public health, epidemiology, state medicine, community medicine, social pathology. The practice of social medicine has also evolved globally over the decades, with unique practicing styles in different regions. In 1978, the WHO’s 1978 Alma Atta Declaration also embraced the core principles of social medicine (1).

(1)  D. Madison. Introduction to Social Medicine. 1993. UNC Chapel Hill.


The Social Medicine Network is an interdisciplinary group of individuals and organizations that explore health and address healthcare needs from a multidimensional perspective. Rooted in a social model of healthcare, and founded on principles of social justice, we hope to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities in our communities through direct clinical care, advocacy, research, and community based initiatives.