Can I really attend the IFMSA?
Blog from Hussein Mohamedbhai, who has attended 2 IFMSA conferences.
I’ve been involved in the IFMSA in some capacity for nearly 2 years. While I’m certainly no veteran, I hope that I can give you a little idea of the IFMSA and hopefully get you thinking about joining the UK delegation to their next general assembly.
The IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Association) is an umbrella organisation of 108 national medical student associations, and by representing over 1.2 million medical students, they are the largest student body in the world. They are recognized as a non-governmental organisation within the UN system, the WHO and are a student chapter of the World Medical Association. Clearly, the potential impact they can have is huge and the opportunities for initiating global change are endless.
Twice a year the IFMSA meets for 6 days: a general assembly (GA). The meetings aim to empower students and provide them with the tools they need to improve health care. A wide range of policies (such as pharmaceutical funding, maternal health and medical education) are conceived, debated and implemented at these meetings. On top of that, there are training sessions run by IFMSA trainers every day which are great opportunities to develop skills in a huge variety of areas. For example, this year, there was over 8 hours of training dedicated to advocacy, campaigning and media skills.
As you can imagine, the social side is incredible. There are over a 1,000 students from over 90 countries, in one hotel, for a week. The atmosphere and chance to meet and mingle with students from all around the world is unlike anything else you’ll have the chance to experience. The parties are pretty good too...
Before attending, I was worried that I’d be out of my depth, and that everybody else would be far more knowledgeable and skilled. But, it doesn’t matter how much you know or how experienced you are. The key is that you’re passionate about a health topic/project/activity and that you’re interested in sharing and developing it. There’s always the chance to do presentations and training sessions. If you’re thinking about running a training session, I’d urge you to do it. And, don’t worry you won’t be presenting to the 1000 delegates- everybody splits up into much smaller groups of less than 40 people!
Are you passionate about advocating for health equity and developing and running campaigns at a global level with students from across the world? Are you interested in honing your skills in training, presenting and leadership and a lot else? Do you relish the opportunity to meet and socialise with over a 1,000 students from over a 100 countries in a hotel in Washington for a week? If any of these sound like something you’d like to do, I really recommend joining the Medsin-UK team in Washington next March. Information about applications and the application form can be found here. Bear in mind that there are points on the application for being a new applicant, so new and old medsinners stand just as much chance of getting accepted! The deadline for applications is the 25th October.
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