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Health workforce: Accreditation of education and regulation of practice

The global health workforce faces a number of challenges requiring action at national and international level. In addition to the low density of health workers in various occupations and sub-optimal distribution resulting in reduced access to care, the quality and performance of the existing and future health workforce is a key determinant for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and of SDG3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages).

Health professional regulatory processes are central to ensuring health workforce quality and sustainability. These processes include establishment of education standards, quality assurance of education programmes, establishment of codes of conduct, identification of scopes of practice, systems for licensure, maintenance of registers of those fit to practice, and systems to ensure continuing professional development and appropriate disciplinary measures. Health professional regulatory processes also have been used to give effect to broader policies related to dual practice and compulsory service programmes. Health professional regulatory systems and their capacity are, however, increasingly under stress across countries. The centrality of health professional regulatory systems to address priority health systems concerns, as well as associated capacity constraints, has been made further prominent by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There are important variations in country experiences in health professional regulation. It is important to understand what works (and does not work) in differing contexts, and how best to maintain and improve the quality of health workforce education and practice.

This thematic series in Human Resources for Health aims to:

  1. Identify empirical evidence on the impact of accreditation of education institutions on improving the quality of  health worker education.
  2. Identify empirical evidence on impact of health professional regulation on patient safety, quality, and broader health system objectives. 
  3. Identify innovations in the professional regulation of health workers and underlying drivers for reform.
  4. Explore the link between accreditation of education institutions and the broader regulation of professional practice.
  5. Provide an opportunity to present low- and middle-income country processes and practices in accreditation and health professional regulation that are currently under-represented in the literature.
  6. Fill the gap in regulatory and accreditation data about health occupations such as accelerated medically trained clinicians, community health workers, dental assistants, optometric technicians, and other health occupation under-represented in the literature.

In this thematic series, we are particularly interested to receive manuscripts which contribute to the evidence base on the implementation, management and impact of health worker education and practice regulation.  Manuscripts should be nationally or internationally policy relevant, with cross country papers encouraged. Submissions should address:

  • Diversity of national, multi-national, and sub-national approaches to accreditation and regulation
  • Facilitators and barriers to effective accreditation and regulation
  • Societal impact of accreditation and regulation  
  • Implementation challenges for accreditation and regulation-related laws and  policies
  • Data sharing on implementation and impact of accreditation and regulation

Edited by William Burdick and Ibadat Dhillon.

The Editors express no competing interests and the views expressed in the articles are the sole responsibility of the authors. Payment for publication of the series was made by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).

This series is closed to new submissions. During submission authors should select the option to submit to a thematic series and choose this series from the list.

Please submit manuscripts for preliminary screening to The Article Processing Charge will be sponsored by FAIMER for approved submissions. Details of how to obtain this funding will be provided in the reply from

Return to Human Resources for Health.

  1. To strengthen health systems, the shortage of physicians globally needs to be addressed. However, efforts to increase the numbers of physicians must be balanced with controls on medical education imparted and ...

    Authors: Wafa Aftab, Mishal Khan, Sonia Rego, Nishant Chavan, Afifah Rahman-Shepherd, Isha Sharma, Shishi Wu, Zahra Zeinali, Rumina Hasan and Sameen Siddiqi

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:91

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  2. The shortage of doctors and their unequal distribution serve as challenges to advancing primary healthcare (PHC) and achieving effective universal healthcare coverage in Brazil. In an effort to use nurses’ pot...

    Authors: Carinne Magnago and Celia Regina Pierantoni

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:90

    Content type: Research

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  3. By 2050, the global demand for orthotic and prosthetic services is expected to double. Unfortunately, the orthotic/prosthetic workforce is not well placed to meet this growing demand. Strengthening the regulat...

    Authors: Leigh Clarke, Louise Puli, Emily Ridgewell, Michael P. Dillon and Sarah Anderson

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:83

    Content type: Review

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  4. The World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Recognition Programme was created to ensure the comparability of medical school accrediting agencies, so that the schools accredited by those agencies would ha...

    Authors: Kahlo Baniadam, Zakia Arfeen, Mohammed Ahmed Rashid, Ming-Jung Ho and Sean Tackett

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:78

    Content type: Hypothesis

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  5. Quality of training is determined through programs’ compliance with accreditation standards, often set for a number of years. However, perspectives on quality of training within these standards may differ from...

    Authors: Nesibe Akdemir, Romana Malik, Theanne Walters, Stanley Hamstra and Fedde Scheele

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:75

    Content type: Research

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  6. Accreditation systems in medical education aim to assure various stakeholders that graduates are ready to further their training or begin practice. The purpose of this paper is to explore the current state of ...

    Authors: Deborah Bedoll, Marta van Zanten and Danette McKinley

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:70

    Content type: Research

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  7. Increasing evidence suggests that sustainable delivery of interprofessional education (IPE) has the potential to lead to interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP), which in turn has the potential to lead...

    Authors: Mohammad Azzam, Anton Puvirajah, Marie-Andrée Girard and Ruby E. Grymonpre

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:66

    Content type: Research

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    Authors: Tanvir C. Turin, Nashit Chowdhury, Mark Ekpekurede, Deidre Lake, Mohammad Ali Ashraf Lasker, Mary O’Brien and Suzanne Goopy

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:51

    Content type: Review

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  9. Shortages and inequitable distribution of physicians is an obstacle to move towards Universal Health Coverage, especially in low-income and middle-income countries. In Brazil, expansion of medical school enrol...

    Authors: Alexandre Medeiros Figueiredo, Danette Waller McKinley, Adriano Massuda and George Dantas Azevedo

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:33

    Content type: Research

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  10. Fundamentally, the goal of health professional regulatory regimes is to ensure the highest quality of care to the public. Part of that task is to control what health professionals do, or their scope of practice. ...

    Authors: Kathleen Leslie, Jean Moore, Chris Robertson, Douglas Bilton, Kristine Hirschkorn, Margaret H. Langelier and Ivy Lynn Bourgeault

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:15

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  11. Academic institutions worldwide are embedding interprofessional education (IPE) into their health/social services education programs in response to global evidence that this leads to interprofessional collabor...

    Authors: Ruby E. Grymonpre, Lesley Bainbridge, Louise Nasmith and Cynthia Baker

    Citation: Human Resources for Health 2021 19:12

    Content type: Case study

    Published on: