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History of the
The Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH) brings together medical students from all over the world to learn, build skills, cooperate, explore and share ideas to address all issues related to Public Health, including Global Health issues, health policies, health promotion, and education activities.
Medical students of the IFMSA formed the Standing Committee on Students’ Health (SCOSH) in 1952, driven by a strong will to take an active part in preventing and making policies concerning health problems. During the following years, the wide variety of activities led to the change of SCOSH to the Standing Committee on Health (SCOH) in 1963.
In 1983 the name of the Committee changed once more to the Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH).
During these six decades, SCOPHeroes have implemented, maintained and improved a wide variety of community-based projects on a local, national and international level. Through these activities, we are pursuing our vision of a healthy society and we are developing our own potential of being complete and skillful health professionals.
Medical Students attain the optimal skills and knowledge to contribute to their full potential towards the making of healthier communities in their capacity as medical students and as future healthcare providers.
The Standing Committee on Public Health promotes the development of medical students worldwide regarding Public Health issues through an international sharing knowledge network, projects management, community-based learning, capacity building, advocacy, exchanges placements and access to external learning opportunities.
Disease prevention within our society.
Health promotion and education within our society.
Raising awareness about global public health issues within medical students and our society.
Advocating for health policies as the voice of worldwide medical students.
Developing skills and knowledge of medical students as the future health professionals.
Working as an international team and collaborating with external public health organizations to use the potential of over one million worldwide medical students.
Collaborate with other fields as medical education, human rights, and reproductive health.
Health Promotion: recognized as the key element for community health change. SCOPHians perform different activities to raise awareness, educate and train general population on several health issues to prevent from Communicable to noncommunicable Diseases, to adopt healthy lifestyles addressing risk factors but also caring about the environment.
Public Health is a broad field and to focus specifically on some public health issues reflective of the countries priorities SCOPH has regional priorities of every region voted on upon by the National Public Health Officers: This does not imply that we are not working on other Public Health issues however due to the crucial nature and limited resources we have developed such priorities. The priorities are as follows:
- Africa: NCDs
- Americas: Mental Health; Universal Health Coverage
- Asia Pacific: Ageing
- EMR: Antimicrobial resistance
- Europe: Mental Health and Antimicrobial resistance
are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems.
SCOPHians are advocating in their countries to have a positive impact on equal, accessible and affordable high-quality universal health care. Coming from the principle of achieving health for all (3rd Sustainable Development Goal), it is the duty of medical students to support this movement for a better healthcare quality as well as physical and mental health status.
is a movement that advocates for a collaborative approach to improving health of all people by taking in consideration health when making decisions in sectors other than health such as tobacco, food, migration, urbanization, climate change etc. The goal of HiAP is to ensure that decision makers are well informed about the impact their policies can have on health and to incorporate the importance of health in their decision-making process.
With the expansion of international aid in the health crisis, the sense of globalization and trade, the term of global health and international health have emerged and have taken a certain value compared to public health. Take a look at the table below, from Kaplan JP et al, the Lancet 2009: https://ifmsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/capture-ecran-2015-07-23.png
Examples of recent achievements
Public Health Exchanges (SCOPH Exchanges)
Public Health is not always given the importance of the curriculum, including clinical placements of medical students. Public Health Exchanges (SCOPH Exchanges), are exchanges in Public Health settings NGOs, Medical Institutes, primary health care and other such placements. To promote intercultural learning in Public Health and be a source of experience to empower medical students with skills necessary for them as future healthcare providers.
Mental Health is one of the most concerning Public Health Issues of our times, is a priority in IFMSA, SCOPH. Not only Mental Health in general but the mental health of medical students, healthcare professionals and in general within the workplace. Thus, SCOPH has workshops and sessions on Mental Health with not only a focus on a cure but also on prevention and mental well-being.
STOP TB Initiative
Celebrated on March 24th each year, under the STOP TB Partnership, in collaboration with the International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA) and the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF), where the main message was to join forces to fight TB (tuberculosis).
With the IVSA, students are tackling human and animal health, and are finding doors to collaboration by organizing workshops at the national/international, and by tackling overlapping topics such as food safety, zoonotic diseases, and antimicrobial resistance.
Program on NCDs and Healthy Lifestyles
This program was adopted at the March Meeting 2015. It englobes the different activities and interventions being conducted by NMOs, from campaigns to peer education sessions, making sure that to keep a great impact on the target groups and to keep track on the dynamic and evaluation of the NMOs in this field.
Climate Change and Health
IFMSA demands more considerations for health in the climate talks, and its advocacy work has been successfully recognized by the WHO and the UNFCCC. IFMSA is also dedicated to building capacity at the international level, by organizing several workshops and worldwide campaigns.
Mental Health (March 2020)
Air Pollution (March 2020)
Health, Environment & Climate Change (March 2020)
Primary Health Care (August 2019)
Food for Health and Sustainability (August 2019)
Neglected Tropical Diseases (August 2019)
Access to Medicines (March 2019)
Vaccination (March 2019)
Health Emergencies (March 2019)
Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (August 2018)
Drug Reform (August 2018)
Noncommunicable Diseases (April 2019)
Universal Health Coverage (March 2018)
Antimicrobial Resistance (March 2018)
Active Ageing and Life Course (August 2017)
Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health (August 2017)
Access to Safe Surgery and Anesthesia for all (March 2017)