IFMSA has a long history of empowering medical students to tackle health issues that matter to our generation. As an international federation, we are in an optimal position to influence decisions taken on at all levels, collaborating with different organization that go from a global reach to a local implementation. By being a diverse and global organization, that has its roots in its national members, IFMSA is able to discuss and influence policies at regional and global level in a coordinated way that will influence policies in all countries.
It is important to underline that the policies of the Federation are defined by its national members, according to IFMSA democratic and participative principles We use policy statements adopted and revised by national member organizations during our General Assemblies as the official position in different health matters. Our policies come from our roots.
External representation is a key are of IFMSA and its delegations contribute to discussions on important health topics to more than 100 high-level conferences, meetings and events including, but not limited to, the annual World Health Assembly; the World Health Organization Executive Board and Regional Meetings; the United Nations Post-2015-related meetings; World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction; the UNFCCC Conference of Parties; the Prince Mahidol Award Conference. At these events, potential solutions to health issues as well as impact-oriented interventions are delivered, and recognised by key international health players.
In the past few years IFMSA has consolidated its advocacy efforts, since it acknowledges that advocacy and medicine are inseparably intertwined. Discussions at international conferences and reports by eminent organizations have highlighted the ever-increasing need for physicians to be well equipped with advocacy skills. Despite this, medical curricula are generally poor at preparing future doctors in this area. This is why IFMSA is taking the lead.
In May 2012, IFMSA organized its first-ever Pre-World Health Assembly for Youth (directly preceding the 65th World Health Assembly), that consists in a series of workshops for students and young people interested in health. Ever since, this has been an annual and recurrent event of the Federation, being now in its 3rd Edition. The Youth Pre-WHA aims to educate and empower future health leaders to ignite change in global health using the knowledge gained during those few days. Furthermore, the workshop aims to develop a streamlined plan of action for youth active participation at the WHA.
In November 2014, IFMSA proudly co-founded the World Health Students Alliance (WHSA) together with International Federation of Pharmaceutical Students (IPSF) and International Association of Dental Students (IADS). The WHSA hence aims at offering a meaningful working space for health students to promote greater youth participation from all sectors; and at effectively and collaboratively working to improve the health of patients and thus of populations around the world in the best interests of the people served by health professionals.
Students of the Federation are active members of society, who not only identify and question certain issues and policies, but also engage in advocacy for change. Via workshops dedicated solely to external representation, IFMSA also ensures that students are equipped to understand international governmental decision making processes and are able to actively participate in the Federation work. IFMSA is truly, deeply and genuinely committed to find solutions to some of the biggest populations issues and this is why we provide the space for students to educate themselves so to become the leaders they want and proactive healthcare professionals.
The policy making in IFMSA is lead by its members – the national member organizations – and supported by the Team of Officials. Policy Statements can adopted and/or updated at each General Assembly, and they are valid for a maximum period of three years. They state the Federation beliefs and call on different groups – UN Institutions, governments, medical schools, health professionals, students – to achieve, respect and/or do certain tasks and objectives. They serve as the backbone for official statements and contributions of IFMSA to any forums and platforms.
Over the past years, IFMSA policy statements have addressed a large variety of topics that are of interest according to medical students worldwide. Currently, there are over fifty effective policy statements. All policy statements are available on the website.
If you are interested in drafting a new policy statement or to update an older one, please contact the relevant Liaison Officers:
- Public Health Issues: Tarek Ezzine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Sexual & Reproductive Health Issues, incl. HIV/AIDS: Frederike Booke (email@example.com)
- Human Rights & Peace Issues: Hiba Ghandour (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Medical Education Issues: Katerina Dima (email@example.com)
- Student Organizations: Teodor Blidaru (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- World Health Organization: Charlotte O’Leary (email@example.com)
Want to know more?
You are invited to visit the other sections to know more on how you can, as a medical students, be involved in IFMSA external advocacy work.