Amsterdam, The Netherlands – The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) has just wrapped up it 67th August Meeting General Assembly. The meeting, which hosted over 900 medical students from 105 countries in the city of Montréal, Canada, took place between the 2nd until the 8th of August 2018, under the theme of the Social Accountability – Health Beyond the Hospital.
The Pre-General Assembly:
Prior to the meeting, from the 29th of July until the 2nd of August, Québec City, a neighboring city of Montréal, became host to almost more than 200 students who had the chance to participate in one of the to Pre-GA Capacity Building Workshops: Advanced Training for IFMSA Global Health Advocates, Advocacy in Medical Education Training (AMET), Healthcare in Danger, HIV Education & Advocacy Training (HEAT), Presidents’ preGA, Public Health Leadership Training on Universal Health Coverage (PHLT), Social Accountability Workshop, Training New Exchange Trainers (TNET), Training New Trainers (TNT), Universal Health Coverage & Global Surgery
Each of the these 3-day workshops aimed to engage participants and teach them new skills in the different fields of advocacy in global health, medical education, rights of healthcare professionals, sexual and reproductive health, public health, Social Accountability, leadership and personal development, as well as many other skills. This is but one part of how IFMSA aims to create better healthcare professional, who are well equipped to face growing health and social challenges.
IFMSA in Numbers!
After the General Assembly, IFMSA is now 135 National Member Organizations (NMOs) across 125 Countries. While in this GA, we have had no new NMOs, we very much look forward to more applications from countries and areas which are yet unreached by our Federation.
If you are from one of these countries and you are curious as to how you can join our Federation, please check the following link for more information: https://ifmsa.org/get-involved-2/
Agreements, and Policy Documents:
Furthermore, IFMSA adopted and/or updated new and ongoing agreements with Global Health Now, European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), Global Health Strategies, International Association of Dental Students (IADS), IOGT International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – Students (IPPNW – Students), THEnet, and the World Healthcare Students’ Symposium (WHSS). We also reviewed and accepted the commitment reports of all our ongoing agreements with partner organizations.
In terms of policy and advocacy work, 7 policy documents were adopted or updated by the General Assembly. These concern topics such as Ethnicity and Health, Drug Reform, Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Abolishing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Climate Change and Health, and Sustainable Development Goals. These documents will support IFMSA global health advocacy efforts at the highest of levels, and are available online (link)
“We are not doctors if we are not to be socially accountable”. Those were the words shared with IFMSA members by Professor Gordon, WFME President, during the IFMSA Theme Event.
As part of our commitment to Social Accountability, highlighted by its adoption as one of the Global External Focus Areas 2017/2018, the theme of this August Meeting was Social Accountability – Health Beyond the Hospital. Together with IFMSA-Quebec, we organized two panel discussions with diverse speakers, experts in the area, that provided an array of thought provoking perspectives. During the two Theme Event sessions, topics addressed ranged from Climate Change and its effect on health and vulnerable populations, access to sustainable food sources, Socially Accountable curricula and service learning experiences to Open Science and Responsible Research, Accreditation as well as the potential pitfalls of Social Accountability.
However, Social Accountability was highlighted in both the General Assembly and the pre-General Assembly, with the first ever Social Accountability Workshop organized in Quebec City between July 29th-August 2nd.
The speakers included:
- Dr Horacio Arruda, Chief Public Health Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health and Social Services for the Government of Quebec.
- Dr. Lawrence Loh, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC, FACPM, IFMSA Honorary Life Member who serves as an Associate Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto.
- Dr. Courtney Howard, an Emergency Room Physician who practices in Canada’s subarctic. She was recently elected as the president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)
- Dr. Usman Mushtaq, a Medical Doctor from University of Oslo (UiO) and is currently studying Economics. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of EAT Foundation.
- Dr. Henry Lin, a Pediatrician working at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania and IFMSA alumnus with a background on service-based learning and community advocacy experiences for learners.
- Nick Shockey, Director of Programs & Engagement for SPARC, an advocacy organization that works to make research and education open by default, and the founding co-organizer of OpenCon.
- Professor David Gordon, MA MB FRCP FMedSci, President of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).
- Nikolai Nunes, former NOME of JAMSA-Jamaica and participant at the first ever IFMSA Social Accountability workshop.
- Maria Madarasz, LORP at HUMSIRC-Hungary and participant at the first ever IFMSA Social Accountability workshop.
As part of the Social Accountability theme, attendees drafted together with the IFMSA Liaison Officers the IFMSA Action Plan on Social Accountability 2018/2020, a document to guide the work of the Federation in the area, as well as serve as our own self-accountability mechanism. Moreover, IFMSA reiterated its commitment to Climate Change and Health with the announcement of a global advocacy campaign to include at least an element of climate and health in all medical curricula by 2020 and to achieve the integration of climate and health in all aspects of medical schools by 2025. Last but not least, the IFMSA Social Accountability Pledge was launched, a 1-page document prepared by the participants of the Social Accountability workshop. The Pledge will be added to the IFMSA Students’ Toolkit on Social Accountability and medical students from all over the world will be able to take it online and accelerate their personal commitment to Social Accountability.
Team of Officials 2018/19
As is our procedure every August Meeting, the Plenary of the GA elected members to the IFMSA Team of Officials of 2018-2019. They will undergo one month of handover, after which they will embark on their journey for the Federation, assuming office on October 1, 2018. We would like to congratulate the following people for their appointment and wish them the best for their upcoming term:
- Regional Director for Africa Mr. Parth K. Patel from Malawi
- Regional Director for Asia Pacific Mr. Po-Chin Li from Taiwan, China
- Regional Director for Europe Ms. Paulina Birula from Poland
- Director on Medical Education Ms. Catarina Pais Rodriguez from Portugal
- Director on Professional Exchange Ms. Tatiana Zebrova from Russia
- Director on Public Health Ms. Katja Cic from Slovenia
- Director on Sexual and Reproductive health incl. HIV/AIDS Mr. Ijeb Jemel from Tunisia
- Director on Research Exchange Mr. Erwin Barbosa Mollinas from Paraguay
- Director on Human Rights and Peace Ms. Idil Kina from Turkey
- Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues Ms. Katerina Dima from Greece
- Liaison Officer for Public Health issues Mr. Tarek Ezzine from Tunisia
- Liaison Officer for Sexual and Reproductive Health issues incl. HIV/AIDS Ms. Frederike Booke from Germany
- Liaison Officer for Human Rights and Peace issues Ms. Hiba Ghandour from Lebanon
- Liaison Officer to the World Health Organisation Ms. Charlotte O’Leary from Australia
- Liaison Officer to Students Organisations Mr. Teodor Christian Blidaru from Romania
- Supervising Council 2017-2018 Mr. Miguel Castilla Moreno from Spain
- Supervising Council 2018-2020 Dr. Gabriela Noles from Peru, Dr. Hana Lucev from Croatia and Mr. Satria Nur Sya’ban from Indonesia
The positions of Regional Director for the Americas and Regional Director for the EMR remain vacant as of now, since there were no candidates during the August Meeting. Interim appointments will be made as soon as possible after the August Meeting and formal elections for this position are set for the upcoming March Meeting in Slovenia.
The Post-General Assembly
Though the meeting came to a close on the 8th of August, many of the GA participants went on beautifully organized trips with across Canada, this one organized with the support of CFMS-Canada. Many participants went on a tour to the Niagara Falls, Ottawa, and Toronto, finally enjoying the famous sceneries of Canada after a jam-packed week of sessions.
To close this post, IFMSA wishes to thank IFMSA-Québec and all members and volunteers of the Organising Committee of the August Meeting 2018 for their enormous efforts, impeccable preparation, and their dedication to make this meeting not only high-quality, but also carbon neutral. Truly a reflection of our commitment to Sustainability and Climate-friendly meetings. This amazing event would not have been possible without them. We have enjoyed our stay and surely hope to be back soon!
The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which all medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, IFMSA today represents a network of 1.3 million medical students through its 137 national member organisations in 127 countries. More information can be found at: www.ifmsa.org.
IFMSA Executive Board
(E): [email protected]
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