Page 1

IFMSA General Assembly Report 67th IFMSA March Meeting 2018 March 1 - 7 2018, Hurghada, Egypt

Publisher Belgian Medical Students’ Association VZW (BeMSA) Brusselsestraat 246 3000 Leuven, Belgium Contact information Homepage: Email: /belgianmsa @BeMSA_VZW @ifmsa_belgium

This is a BeMSA publication © 2018 - Only portions of this publication may be reproduced for non-political and non-profit purposes, provided mentioning the source. Disclaimer This publication contains the collective views of different contributors, the opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of BeMSA. The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers’ products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by BeMSA in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. Notice All reasonable precautions have been taken by BeMSA to verify the information contained in this publication. However, the published material is being distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the material herein lies with the reader. Some of the photos and graphics used in this publication are the property of their respective authors. We have taken every consideration not to violate their rights.

About BeMSA The Belgian Medical Students’ Association (BeMSA) is a Belgian student-run organisation. As of the 2017-2018 academic year, it represents medical students from 7 of the faculties across the country, while also establishing international connections through the existing network of 136 national member organisations of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA). Each year we organise a series of events on a local, national and international level. Additionally, our clinical and research exchange programs send 100 Belgian students abroad every year, while accommodating the same number of foreign students. This allows them to explore innovations in medicine, healthcare systems and healthcare delivery in various settings across the globe. BeMSA brings people together to exchange, discuss and initiate projects with the goal of creating a healthier world. It provides medical students with the skills and resources needed to be health leaders. With the help of the IFMSA, it also advocates for the pressing issues that matter to us to shape the world we want to live in. And it does deliver: our projects, our campaigns and our activities positively impact the physicians-to be alongside the communities they serve.





GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPORT ............................................. 4

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7

OPENING CEREMONY............................................................ 4 SESSIONS............................................................................ 4 REGIONAL SESSIONS ............................................................. 5 NMO HOUR ....................................................................... 5 TRAINING SESSIONS .............................................................. 5 ACTIVITIES FAIR ................................................................... 6 EXCHANGE FAIR ................................................................... 6 PLENARY ............................................................................ 6 SOCIAL PROGRAM ................................................................ 7 CLOSING CEREMONY ........................................................... 7

SESSION REPORTS............................................................... 8 PRESIDENTS’ SESSIONS.......................................................... 8 NMO MANAGEMENT SESSIONS ........................................... 10 SCOME SESSIONS ............................................................. 12 SCOPE SESSIONS............................................................... 14 SCOPH SESSIONS .............................................................. 17 SCORA SESSIONS .............................................................. 19 SCORE SESSIONS .............................................................. 21


PRE-GA REPORT ................................................................ 23


POST-GA REPORT.............................................................. 25


PERSONAL OBJECTIVES AFTER THE GA ............................. 26


GROUP PICTURE ............................................................... 32


ABBREVIATIONS ............................................................... 33

8.1 8.2

STANDING COMMITTEES ..................................................... 33 OTHER ABBREVIATIONS ....................................................... 34

Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

1 Introduction from the Head of Delegation Dear reader, First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this report from the 67th IFMSA General Assembly – March Meeting 2018 in Hurghada, Egypt! The whole Belgian delegation put a lot of time and effort in this report, which we are putting together for the first time. The target audience of this report is twofold. On the one hand, we would like to inform and motivate future generations of BeMSA members to attend an IFMSA meeting, which is without doubt one of the most enriching and motivating experiences you can have as a BeMSA member and as a medical student by extension. On the other hand, this report is also meant for external partners and faculties to inform them about our activities at an IFMSA General Assembly. We at BeMSA hope that this report clarifies some things for the faculties and motivates them to keep supporting their medical students to attend such events, of which we are convinced they contribute to the creation of the future health leaders of Belgium. Additionally, this report was a great opportunity for the delegation to reflect on the experience and to think about the future. Every one of them contributed by writing a small article about their sessions, which you can find in section 3, ‘Session reports’, and composing some objectives for after the GA, which you can find in section 6, ‘Personal objectives after the GA’. I would like to thank the whole delegation for their efforts and dedication during this General Assembly, you really exceeded my expectations. I came to this GA full of excitement and a slight bit of anxiousness as it was my first GA as a Head of Delegation, but you made my tasks so much easier and enjoyable. I would also like to thank our president, Yasnaïa Bruneel, in particular for attending the Presidents’ Sessions with me and for supporting me in my tasks as Head of Delegation. I hope you enjoy reading this report and should you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me, my contact information is below. Sincerely, Basiel Weyers BeMSA Vice-President of External Affairs - +32 476 64 01 50


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

2 General Assembly report This section gives an introduction of the many agenda items of this General Assembly. For each item, a small explanation and picture is provided. This list is not exhaustive, there are even more items that are not explained here. If you want more information about a certain item, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 2.1

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the GA is a formal affair on the arrival day (day 0) where representatives of various sponsors and supporters of the event are invited to a galadinner type event. It acts as the official start of the General Assembly and the members of the Organizing Committee (OC) as well as those from the IFMSA Team of Officials (TO) are introduced during this part of the event. Keynote




Keynote speakers at the opening ceremony.


Ministers to WHO representatives. 2.2


The sessions are the heart and soul of every IFMSA General Assembly and they take place every day (day 1-5). During this General



Committee had one Session

Standing for their

members, the IFMSA Vice-President for Capacity Building coordinated an NMO Management





Presidents joined the President’s Session, all

Delegates writing down their perspectives on a

of which ran in parallel with each other. We

poster during SCOPH Sessions.

had at least two delegates per session, except for the SCORP Sessions, in which we were not represented this year. You can find the reports of our delegates in section 3, ‘Session reports’.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report 2.3

Regional sessions

During these sessions on day 1 and 4, we met with all delegates from the European region. We talked about the upcoming European Regional Meeting in Austria, finances, the European priorities and so much more. Additionally, we were able to present our upcoming Sub-Regional Training (SRT) in Belgium in November. Finally, we also split up even further into Standing Committees and European NMO

Part of our delegation presenting our upcoming

Presidents to discuss some more in-depth

Sub-Regional Training to the European region.

topics concerning the European Region. 2.4

NMO hour

The NMO hour is the daily gathering of the whole Belgian delegation at the GA. This is one of the most important moments of the day and everyone is expected to be there. During these moments, everyone can speak up and tell the rest about their sessions and how they are feeling. Additionally, we discuss the topics that will be voted upon at the plenary afterwards and we go over the NMO hour of the Belgian delegation by the pool.

practicalities of the next day. 2.5

Training sessions

Trainings are the backbone of IFMSA as they provide the skills for the members in order to better organize themselves, their work, and their team. During this GA, there were many 2-hour trainings running in parallel on day 2, with a wide variety of topics. They provided our members with skills and knowledge. Topics





management, leadership and many more.

Certified IFMSA trainer during training session.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report 2.6

Activities fair

The Activities Fair on day 4 gives the opportunity to activities in the NMOs to shine and share its results to the delegates of the General Assembly. There’s always a great atmosphere of excitement and this one was no different! Our delegates were left with various leaflets, promotional material and lots of ideas in no time at all. Additionally, the Activities Fair was a great way to talk directly

Activity Coordinators explaining their activities to

to Activity Coordinators from other NMOs.

interested delegates.


Exchange fair

This is the time where our Exchange Officers (SCORE and SCOPE representatives) came together with their peers to make contacts. Our Exchange Officers were very well prepared with a poster, music, a PowerPoint presentation and lots of sweets. The second part is open to all delegates, which is also a good chance to get to know the cultures and specialties of the plethora of countries that

The BeMSA Exchange Officers explaining our

were present.

exchanges to peers from all over the world!



The Plenary is the highest decision-making body in IFMSA. It is the core of the General Assembly and is where the representatives of all NMOs gather and vote on the changes within the Federation. Our delegation was very well prepared for the Plenaries and therefore, we were able to give lots of input, ask many questions and even make some statements for the whole GA. Additionally, we

Our Head of Delegation, Basiel, giving a

voted on the many submissions such as

statement during Plenary.

bylaw changes, policy documents and more.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report 2.9

Social program

Every evening at the GA is an occasion for everyone to come together and have fun. The Organizing Committee provided us with a fun activity to attend to every night after the Plenary. On day 1, there was a concert by an Egyptian Coldplay tribute band called ‘Strawberry Swings’. As usual, there was also the Cultural Night where NMOs performed a traditional

Delegates trying out food and drinks from all over

dance of their country and the legendary

the world at the NFDP.

National Food and Drinks Party (NFDP), where everyone could try out traditional food and drinks from all over the world. 2.10 Closing ceremony All great things come to an end, and so did this





accompanied by another formal event: the closing ceremony. Keynote speakers included the IFMSA President introducing the current Executive Board, as well as the newly elected President introducing the EB of the next term. Also, the chair of the Organizing Committee introduced his

team, and everyone was thanked

extensively for the work they performed.

Dr. Tedros, WHO Director, addressing the IFMSA members during the closing ceremony.

Finally, we were addressed by the Director of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom in a video, in which he expressed his gratitude for our work and dedication.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

3 Session reports After the General Assembly, we asked all our delegates to write a small report about their sessions, working together with the other delegates attending those sessions. Below, you will find a small summary of each session, how the delegates experienced them and who should consider attending them at a future General Assembly. Additionally, an overview of the authors and thus the delegates that attended the session is provided. Presidents’ Sessions

About the authors


Yasnaïa Bruneel

Basiel Weyers

BeMSA President

BeMSA Vice-President of External Affairs (VPE)



BeMSA Ghent

BeMSA Ghent

In general, Presidents’ Sessions are the

reports and motions. These submissions

place where presidents from National


Member Organizations (NMOs) such as

presidents over the NMO server. In

BeMSA from all over the world meet to


share experiences and ideas, to discuss

submissions beforehand with the whole

pertinent topics concerning the federation


and to prepare the plenaries.

member has to read the submissions. By

A big part of the sessions is occupied by discussions about the submissions, such as bylaw changes, IFMSA Executive Board (EB)





document applications,

shared we

beforehand choose





share that

the these every

doing this, we effectively have input, comments, concerns or questions from the whole delegation that we can raise at the appropriate




Sessions. Moreover, by including the whole


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report delegation in this process, we give them the

Some characteristics of a Presidents’

opportunity to explore and experience the

Sessions sympathizer:

IFMSA on a higher level. Afterwards, we

can come back to the submissions with the delegation during NMO hour, so that we are prepared for voting during plenaries the

Interested in the workings of the IFMSA









next day. •



submissions, discussed issues with delegation) •

Ready to think critically and discuss with the IFMSA EB and NMO presidents

Not afraid to speak up and say what’s on their mind in front of a lot

Presidents’ Sessions are also a great way

of people

for the BeMSA VPE and possibly President to get to know NMO Presidents from all over the world. These connections can come in very handy during other meetings, but also for asking advice or sharing ideas later on. Presidents’ Sessions are mostly fit for more experienced members who are part of the BeMSA Executive Board (especially the

In short, we learned a lot during Presidents’

VPE who is responsible for everything

Sessions, especially about the workings

IFMSA-related), or members who are

and issues of the federation. We felt very

interested in applying for a BeMSA EB

prepared for plenaries, partly because the

position the following term. Additionally,

delegation did a very good job in reading

everyone who is eager to learn more about

and commenting on the submissions

the workings of the IFMSA and the

beforehand. Additionally, we got to know a

discussions happening during Presidents’

lot of other NMO presidents, which we’ll see

Sessions should consider attending these

again at the next meetings. Finally, we also


got to know many of the IFMSA Executive Board members.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

About the authors


NMO Management Sessions Nina De Bock

Thomas Dewaele

BeMSA Treasurer

BeMSA National Officer on Capacity Building (NOCB)

KU Leuven

KU Leuven

BeMSA Leuven

BeMSA Leuven

NMO Management is a relatively young

This year, NMO management dedicated its

and new type of session. We had heard that

first two days to strategic planning. One

it was getting better and better every year,

course for beginners, which Nina attended,

so we thought that we might give it a shot.

and one course for more experienced members, attended by Thomas. By splitting

Nina: I might have decided to apply for March Meeting in a rather rash moment, supported however by our president and I did not regret it once. I think I signed up for NMO Management because I did not really know where I would belong otherwise, but I couldn’t have picked anything more suitable for me. This was by far the most enriching experience I had so far within BeMSA.

up, we had gotten the most out of both sessions. During the following days, we split up once again. Thomas participated in the leadership track, Nina in the one that was about external representation and finances. The first one was definitely fruitful, but for that track the most interesting part got covered in day 4, where they talked about finances and fundraising.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report And yes, this may sound geeky and nerdy,

expect. However, for that exact reason we

but discussing finances had never been this

were all really surprised with how great they



actually turned out to be. This was mainly

issues, solutions with other people dealing

because of the amazing sessions team and

with the same things that you are dealing

trainers that had been working tirelessly to

with, was a necessary step to grow. We

make this track a success.




experienced our fair share of Eureka’s and we






motivated than ever. This growth does not only benefit us, but immediately has effect on BeMSA’s finances and hopefully makes them prosper.

Thomas: Since my main focus points in IFMSA are capacity building, I quickly knew I could benefit most from attending the NMO management sessions. I also had already in mind to apply for a BeMSA EB position the following term, so I could definitely use some tips and tricks on management and leadership.


At the GA we also had a strong, motivated

interesting as well. First, we learned to

and really fun delegation. This event was

recognize our own emotions and needs,

an amazing mixture of cultures, people and

and then practiced how to assess the ones

characters all connected by their passion

of our team, and how to act accordingly. On

for medicine and global health.

day 4, we built on the already learned

So, if you are interested in enriching

interpersonal soft skills by talking about

yourself in a multicultural, global way that

facilitation. We learned and practiced ways

you’ve never experienced before, the GA is

to engage a team and to make sure

definitely the event for you. If you are

everyone gets heard. Day 5 was about

struggling with a lot of questions concerning

discussing capacity building structures in

your position and if you have the feeling

different NMO’s and learning from each

that you need to speak with someone who

other’s training divisions.

is doing the exact same thing as you or if

Overall there was a great atmosphere at

you need some ideas, inspiration and

the sessions and at the GA. Honestly, we

motivation for BeMSA and yourself to grow

had the impression that nobody in the NMO

and evolve, look no further! The General

management sessions quite knew what to

Assembly is the place to be.







Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

About the authors


SCOME Sessions Eline Dejans

Arne Hostens

Arno Van den Broeck

BeMSA Liaison Officer on Medical Education (LME)

VGSO Member

VGSO Member




BeMSA Ghent

BeMSA Ghent

BeMSA Ghent

SCOME (Standing Committee on Medical Education) is a committee which aims to implement an optimal learning environment for all medical students in Belgium. As medical students are directly exposed to medical curricula, they are the first qualitycheck of medical education and they should rightfully have an influence on curriculum development. The second check of medical

The SCOME sessions, and the March

education is whether the graduates are

Meeting in general, provides an opportunity

able to meet the standards of the medical


profession, their healthcare systems and


the needs of their communities. It is often

professionals from all over the world. It

the medical students who are the strongest

gives you a chance to share your local

proponents for adapting their education to


the needs of their community. SCOME

experienced people with maybe a different

believes in medical students as important


stakeholders in creating, developing and

differences in our medical curricula and

implementing medical education systems.

how we can improve them. But it goes way




and than



gather yours.



and health

knowledge discuss

of the


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report beyond just our medical curricula. We explore many paths where the society and the medical students in particular could benefit from our ideas. How can we improve our advocacy ideas by doing activities? Can we make a theoretical difference regarding an activity? It is very important that we keep a close relationship with our university. We debate, explain,

If you’re motivated, if you want to change

review, consider a bunch of ideas, but also

medical education, if you want to give a

talk about how you can present these ideas

voice to the students who cannot speak, if

to your university council or government.

you want to help shape the future




healthcare, then you definitely should



attend SCOME sessions. Are you just in

development as well. You learn skills that

general enthusiastic, then you’re totally fit


for the job!




attending great






representative, such as to advocate, to share ideas, to reach a consensus and many more!


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

About the authors


SCOPE Sessions Tim Philips

Roos Van Den Noortgate

BeMSA Ghent Local Professional Exchange Officer (LEO)

BeMSA Ghent Local Professional Exchange Officer (LEO)



BeMSA Ghent

BeMSA Ghent

Hi everyone! We are Tim and Roos, both 1st master students and LEO’s from Ghent and we attended the SCOPE-sessions during the March Meeting 2018 in Hurghada, Egypt. It was our first GA, so we didn’t really know what to expect. Most of all, we were looking forward meeting so many SCOPE-addicts and to exchange our thoughts, problems and ideas!

The first day Exciting! After a quick speed-dating with all the SCOPE participants (around 70), we started our first sessions. Despite the bad quality of projection and the lack of a microphone, we learned a lot. In the ‘Sharing is caring’ session, we could choose different topics to discuss in small

groups. Tim was involved in the following discussions: misbehaving incomings, upon arrival training, how to recruit contact persons (CPs) and tutors. We learned that we could set up a code of conduct, so we would not be responsible if the incoming students do something illegal e.g. drug use etc. Furthermore, Roos attended -amongst others- the ‘Contact with externals’-session


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report about how to find other partners for your

The most important part of the meeting for

exchange e.g. phone companies to provide

SCOPE people is the Exchange Fair where

sim cards for your welcome package. In

we presented our exchanges to the other

the afternoon, we could sign up for a

LEO’s and NEO’s. Unfortunately, we didn’t

session of our choice. Roos chose ‘How to

win the price of best poster, but our

improve exchanges by using evaluation

chocolate was gone in 10 minutes.

forms’, which was interesting because with ‘impact assessment’ you can measure exactly how much your incomings have learned for their month abroad!

Personally, we had the feeling we became part of a whole new ‘world’ which we were not aware of here in Belgium, although we were already working hard to make the best of our exchanges in Ghent. We are a part of something so much bigger! After the GA, we were filled with enthusiasm and new ideas to implement. It really gives a boost of energy! During the lectures, you learn about what the SCOPE-director and his team have been working on the past semester and the

The other days

new ideas they have. For example, we

Some moments were less interesting such

heard they would like to create a platform

as the regulation changes discussions as

that all outgoing students can join and

we are more locally involved, and we could

where they can find information about -for

not give input about those topics. However,

example- how to

behave during

this made us realize how big the IFMSA is.



On the other hand, other moments were

databases etc. to be fully prepared.

amazing like when we had the honour to

Additionally, they would like to make it

vote in the name of BeMSA-Belgium!

possible to rotate during an internship, so

If you are considering joining the SCOPEsessions, you should definitely join the input





problems are discussed and the regional




for example 2 weeks of surgery followed by 2 weeks of internal medicine in order to have a better view on the health system in a country.

SCOPE sessions where you join with everyone from Europe and talk about different topics such as academic quality (= how can we get study credits for our exchanges).


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report Organizing such a big event is not always easy, so

it only makes sense that

sometimes, things are not going as smoothly as we would hope. In a big group, it was difficult to understand everything, and some technical problems delayed the programme. However, overall, we had a great feeling about our SCOPE leaders and it is amazing how much time and energy those people put into their tasks. They are some of the most motivated students we ever met!

Why you should go First of all, don’t hesitate! It is a wonderful opportunity to meet so many medical students from all over the world. Secondly, getting to know your own delegation is amazing. We had such a great group, we could talk about our experiences and doubts, everyone's input is appreciated -as inexperienced as you are- and there is so much support. We were surprised of the impact we could have on the IFMSA. Apart from the ‘serious’ stuff, we became an amazing group of friends who had so much fun the whole time. The only thing we regret is that we didn’t go to a general assembly sooner!


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report SCOPH Sessions

About the authors


Arno Depotter

Michiel Reunes

Dominique Vervoort

BeMSA Leuven Treasurer

BeMSA National Public Health Officer (NPO)

KU Leuven


KU Leuven

BeMSA Leuven

BeMSA Ghent

BeMSA Leuven

Chair of InciSion Chair of BeMSA Global Surgery NWG

The Standing Committee on Public Health


(SCOPH) sessions united students with

participants were engaged from the start

different backgrounds -ethnicity, gender,

and got to know their colleagues through

age, religion, socioeconomic status- to

brief teambuilding sessions, whilst learning

address current public and global health

about the basics of SCOPH and its

topics in a holistic yet indiscriminate


manner. Driven by their motivation to

current hot topics as non-communicable



diseases (NCDs) and mental health, as well

compatriots, fierce discussions took off

as tackling more recent, but rapidly growing

from the start, all for the greater good.

themes as Universal Health Coverage











(UHC) and Global Surgery. Accordingly, the SCOPH Sessions addressed the past, the present, and the future of the global health sphere as true innovators.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Arno: I think it’s really difficult to describe how incredible and positivelyoverwhelming the feeling is when you enter the main hall and see/meet over 100 nationalities of like-minded people. Also, I was impressed how warm and enthusiastic everyone is. Beside the great people it is unimaginable how much this international GA motivated me and the amount of ideas I discovered in only five days.

It’s exactly that which is the hidden beauty of SCOPH. Beyond the facilitated sessions and talks, every single participant brings his own unique story and experiences. Merely saying hi to someone will make you see a different type of response, asking a couple of questions and you scratch the surface, tap their emotional side by asking about

And yet, it was not all about straight out

their experiences and be enriched. You’ll

facts and figures. The SCOPH Talks gave

open a world you never thought was out

a glimpse of the emotional side of public

there, craving for more and craving for

health: in a TED-like manner, filled with

action, for equity all around and health for







participants’ emotions to show just who and what is behind the dry numbers. A story of a child with leukaemia able to be saved with a bone marrow transplant, Malala -a worldrenowned female education activist and youngest Nobel Prize laureate- only able to do what she does after having her life saved by emergency neurosurgery, the sad and visible truth behind sleep deprivation words don’t do justice to the power of

Michiel: For me it was my second GA and I was again amazed by all the wonderful and energetic people. I was a little bit afraid that the sessions would be a bit repetitive, but this wasn’t the case at all! I can recommend this topic to all who are interested in SCOPH.

stories and their meaningful background. Luckily, over one hundred future public and global health leaders from all corners of the world did take these home, passionate about bringing the change where needed most.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report SCORA Sessions Annelien Cordonnier

Pieterjan Van Rijckeghem

BeMSA Leuven President

BeMSA National Officer on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/aids (NORA)

KU Leuven

KU Leuven

BeMSA Leuven

BeMSA Leuven

About the authors


Let’s start with a general introduction of the

So, if you are interested in everything and

SCORA sessions. For 5 days, we came

all that has to do with sexual education,

together every morning with all the lovely


SCORAngels (a name for all the people

gender equity, HIV and aids, … and if you

who share a love for our standing

are open to hear and talk about everything,

committee). A lot of people there are

about stigmas and inequity, … do not

NORAs or LORAs but no worries, the only

hesitate and join us at the next GA!



thing you need to bring is enthusiasm. All the knowledge and wisdom is shared by the International





attendees. We also started with a really nice introduction from our beloved SCORA Director and the International Team, who planned






everyone with less knowledge of SCORA got up to speed.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report However, be aware you might accidentally

moments. Every single day you learn, not

become a condom fairy (a fairy who

only from the topics themselves but even

distributes condoms at the GA) and you

more from the people present and their

should know that when everyone needs to

views and vastly different cultures. A

be silent we put our hands up in the shape


of a heart.

opportunity to learn from other people their

Each time the session topics are a bit different. This MM they were about subjects exceeding












Sexual paedophilia,


postpartum and


legislation around LGBTQIA+ people and so much more. Because we could talk for hours about all of these, we will not elaborate, but you can always contact us!





experiences. You get the most out of it by not pushing on your western values, but by simply asking questions and engaging with as many people as possible. How is the general




marriages in India? Is religion or the one child policy an influencing factor on coming out as gay in China? Even something as simple as walking on the street as boyfriend and girlfriend is this safe in Lebanon, Ghana, Paraguay?

Then there is the SCORA activity fair. Here, we got the opportunity to see what other innovative and exciting SCORA activities are going on around the globe and get some ideas ourselves. On the other hand, we could share with people from all around the world what we are doing in Belgium. We presented our beloved Stigma Challenge, and …drumroll please… WE WON! The people present voted ours as the best activity.





acknowledgement for all the hard work that everyone back home put into this and gives us a lot of motivation to keep this project going. Hopefully by next year, we see our idea established in other countries.

The main thing we learned at this GA is that these truly are the only chances we will ever get at mixing with so many different cultures. You get the opportunity to live a whole week with 1000 others who are all so nice, so inspiring, so motivated and most of all engaging. So, get the most out of it, leave your prejudices at home, go introduce

The ‘aha‘-moments in SCORA are more

yourself, and walk away again with some

‘wow I never thought about it this way‘-

new insights.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

About the authors


SCORE Sessions Matthieu Pierre

Itri Regragui

BeMSA VUB Local Officer on Research Exchange (LORE)

BeMSA National Officer on Research Exchange (NORE)

VU Brussel

KU Leuven


BeMSA Leuven

The SCORE (Standing Committee on

SCORE is a wonderful exchange program

Research Exchange) sessions are the

for students looking to improve their

place where Local (LOREs) and National

research skills in an international setting.

Officers on Research Exchange (NOREs)

Since research is an important part of

from all around the world gather in one

medicine, SCOREans are set on providing

place to get to know each other, share

(bio)medical students the opportunity to go

discussions and learn skills to improve our


wonderful exchange program. Our dark

abroad. So, if you are interested in

blue family is always full of energy and the


SCORE sessions are the perfect place to

program, the SCORE sessions are the

share your ideas and meet new friends.

place to be for you! Through trainings,


one-month this

research worldwide

exchange exchange

workshops, Small Working Groups (SWGs) and problem-based discussions, exchange officers learn the right knowledge and skills to implement new initiatives in their country. Topics ranged from finances in exchanges, the 9 steps of academic quality and advocacy & recognition to global health and promotion of research. In the SWGs we worked together to create guidelines on


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report contact persons, educational activities

While attending the SCORE sessions, you

during exchanges and on an exchanges

will experience lots of surprises. You will

finances manual. Another highlight is the

learn about new initiatives, such as the

exchange fair, where every country has a


promotional stand, and everyone walks

campaign. The SCORE International Team

around to learn about exchanges in other

is working in many ways, for example

countries. But it doesn’t stop there because

SCORE is represented at international

SCORE also has joint sessions with other

conferences such as AMEE (Association

standing committees such as SCORP

for Medical Education in Europe) to get

(Standing Committee on Human Rights

recognised on an international level. Also,

and Peace) to learn about intercultural

this year the first research camp will be

learning and culture shock.

hosted so students can acquire the right

The characteristics of a SCORE session sympathizer are: Interested in research

Eager for international cooperation

Ready to share ideas with other exchange officers Motivated to implement changes in your exchange program



research skills. It is amazing to see that students are working on many initiatives to highlight the importance of research in the


And a big blue heart that loves exchanges!

medical curriculum. What you will definitely remember from the SCORE sessions is how you share the same goal as other students from all over the world. You will realise that SCORE is a wonderful blue family of motivated students providing research exchanges to more than 3000 students every year!


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

4 Pre-GA report

About the author

Matthieu Pierre BeMSA VUB Local Officer on Research Exchange (LORE) VU Brussel BeMSA VUB

IFMSA’s General Assembly is always preceded by a Pre-General Assembly. This three-day event offers around







worldwide, ranging from a Global Health Advocate workshop to an International Training on Disaster Medicine workshop. I participated in the Training New Exchange Trainers workshop (TNET). IFMSA offers more than 13.000 students the opportunity to go on a Professional (SCOPE) or Research (SCORE) Exchange every year. Through international exchanges, SCOPE and SCORE aim to develop culturally sensitive students and skilled researchers who will shape the world of science and healthcare. To make sure the exchanges are run in the best way possible, Local and National Officers of SCOPE

and SCORE can attend Professional and Research Exchange Trainings (PRET). PRET is a workshop created to improve their knowledge about the exchange programs so that they can develop their own exchange program on a local and national level.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report IFMSA counts very few trainers specialised


in exchanges. To assure the quality of


PRETs and to empower Exchange Officers

Recognition in exchanges. These sessions

worldwide, the Training New Exchange

enabled me to enhance my skills in

Trainers Workshop was created in 2015.

facilitating sessions myself and to provide

The TNET aims to create high quality and

other Exchange Officers with the tools to

well-informed Exchange Trainers, who are

manage their exchange program.

skilled themselves to train others in exchange related topics.




Learning, Advocacy


As part of my graduation, I gave a 2-hour graduation training on the last day of the

During this TNET, I spent three days with

General Assembly on Ethics in exchanges.



It was an amazing experience for me,

sessions covering topics such as soft skills

because I had the opportunity to put the

(conflict management in exchanges, time

skills I learned immediately into practice.

management, facilitation skills, training

Now, I feel confident to facilitate one of the

skills, presentation skills), but also specific

many upcoming PRETs (Professional and



Research Exchange Training) this year,

included Global Health, Exchange Team

and hopefully with one of the other new

management, Academic Quality, Ethics in

Exchange Trainers!








Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

5 Post-GA report

About the authors

Roos Van Den Noortgate







committee (OC) provides the opportunity for the attendants to explore a part of the country. Around

BeMSA Ghent Local Professional Exchange Officer (LEO)

half of our delegation took this chance and signed up for different trips. The OC prepared - in collaboration with a travel agency - 7 three-day trips

UGent BeMSA Ghent

and some one-day trips from which you could choose for a reasonable price (ranging from €200 for 4 days to €60 euro for a day trip, including lunch, transport, guide, income prices and lodging).

Tim, Michiel and Roos signed up for 2 one-

to organize things yourself, that you do this.

day trips: one to Luxor and one to Caïro. If

It saves you some trouble and you can

we are being honest, the organization could

adjust the trip to your wishes. On the other

have been better. Of course, this is

hand, we were on the bus with a group of

understandable as there are more than

medical students from Panama and it was

1000 students attending and as this is a

interesting to interact with them as well.

student run organization, local students

That way, we extended the IFMSA-feeling

were in charge and did the best they could

which we all missed when we came back

to make it all work alongside their studies.

home. Exploring the hosting country is as

Once we were on the bus, our trip could

much a learning experience as the March

start, and we saw some very beautiful

Meeting itself! When driving through Egypt,

places. In Luxor, it was 33 degrees, so

we saw how the local people really lived,

make sure you bring enough water when

which was quite different to Hurghada, built

you are traveling in a warm country! The

for the sole purpose of tourism. If you are

advantage of booking with the OC is that

considering joining a GA, exploring a part of

you don’t need to worry during the trips.

the world is also part of this experience and

However, I would recommend that, if you

is highly recommended!

are going to a country where it is possible


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

6 Personal objectives after the GA After the GA, we asked all our delegates to prepare a couple of objectives that they would like to achieve after the event, in order to retain all the ideas and motivation that comes forth at such an event. We also asked them to set themselves a deadline and to write down a plan of action on how to achieve the objective.

Basiel Weyers

Yasnaïa Bruneel

Presidents’ Sessions Delegate Objective Introduction of the function of Supervising Council within BeMSA.

Deadline By the end to the term (beginning of October).

Re-organisation of finances and PR.

By the end of the term (beginning of October).

Working on a BeMSA Strategy.

By the end of the term (September), so that it can be voted upon at NGA1 of the next term. I want it to be out by mid-April.

Publishing this post-GA booklet containing articles, photos and objectives from the delegation Working out an Alumni Program for BeMSA.

Writing out a manual for the next VPE on GAs and how to prepare for them.

By the end of the term (September).

By the end of August so that there is still one month of handover left for the next VPE to prepare and read the manual.

Plan of action Organize a Skype meeting together with TO-members who are interested: during the OLM the job description and the new bylaw will be discussed. Also, alumni will be contacted to get his input. During next NGA, the bylaw will hopefully pass during plenaries. During the first NGA of next term, elections will be organised for the new function. A Skype meeting already took place with Nina, outcomes were: During the next NGA, the first Finance sessions will take place. Increasing transparency in general. One BeMSA-account. Set up new strategy for fundraising (beginning of July). First Skype meeting with all people involved, then combining the ideas of all TO members and the existing BeMSA 2020 draft. Letting all delegates write articles and collect photos about their sessions, as well as writing down their objectives and discussing them. Get in touch with Carlos (IFMSA President) to ask how other NMOs tackle this + come up with a proposal which can be put forth to the EB and TO. Write down as much as possible of the preparation process for AM, and then afterwards bundling everything in a publication, together with the rest of the handover manual.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Thomas Dewaele

Nina De Bock

NMO Management Sessions Delegate Objective Setting up a more sustainable and durable finance system in BeMSA.

Deadline This is something that has to be worked on continuously, but I will hopefully have done the hardest part by the end of my term.

Work on professionalism and transparency.

I would like to achieve this as soon as possible.

Have more fundraising and sponsorships.

It will probably be a longterm project.

Improving BeMSA’s capacity building structure.

It’s something that takes multiple years to develop and fine-tune. It is therefore important to continuously put effort in CB and to regularly educate new trainers in BeMSA. By the start of next term, the needs assessment and main outlines of the plan should be finished.

Developing an NMO-wide strategic plan that can be implemented in every field of work together with the EB and TO.

Optimising the way the national board works.

During my next term as EB member.

Plan of action First, I will start by implementing guidelines, having a stricter bookkeeping and giving bank accounts to the LC’s. Second, I will make a manual and make sure that I and all the local treasurers have a good handover so that nothing of the gained information this year will be lost. Afterwards, we will evaluate, and this will be the most instructive part. From here on, we can decide whether we are sustainable yet and how we can evolve. Assuring that every important document is viewable when needed, transferring the Excel file to a Drive spreadsheet and making a folder in which all these belong, accessible by everyone. At the end of my term a report for publication will be made. My first step will be to approach PR and consider giving a session together with them for the LC’s on fundraising and sponsorship (and external representation) to pass on the information I got during the GA and to brainstorm about the future. Continuously organizing training sessions to integrate the content into the existing structure / Developing a competency model / Closely monitoring the needs of members and reorganising opportunities for improvement that tackle the existing deficits. The first step is to assess the current status of the NMO. The second step is assessing the needs in all layers of the organisation. The third step is to develop a strategic plan that is concrete and relevant. The fourth step is the implementation of the strategic plan in all aspects of the NMO. The fifth step is evaluation. Strengthening the capacities of individual TO members through trainings and brainstorm / Finding a sustainable way of keeping the motivation high trough teambuilding activities and restructuring TOMs.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Arno Van den Broeck

Arne Hostens

Eline Dejans

SCOME Sessions Delegate Objective Create more medical education projects by creating a structure of projects.

Deadline This term + next year.

Plan of action Discuss this topic with VGSO and BeMSA to find a solution that everyone is happy with.

Keep SCOME in BeMSA growing by motivating people to join us.



Help Eline in convincing the VGSO of the importance of a new structure within SCOME, a structure with the aim of creating opportunities where medical education project can develop and flourish. Convince new enthusiastic SCOME-members to stay active.

This term + next year.

To adapt our review system to a more ambition driven system instead of a more combative driven system.

I hope that I can present my case in the next 2 years and work out more specifics about the system.

Working out the general idea of merging our activities and our advocacy part with my fellow SCOMEdians of BeMSA.

The next few months will be critical to start our merge for the next year.


Taking people to the next August or March Meeting. Talking about IFMSA and BeMSA on the VGSO meetings. This will not be an easy task with the conservative mind-set that often takes over in student organisations. We can tackle this by presenting a very detailed and well thought out proposal.

Keep convincing members to take responsibility by applying for LME or other important functions, so they can further develop the journey that we’ve started in 2016. First of all I will bounce off my ideas with some people that have the knowledge and cognition of the subject. Then work out a plan of action with the SCOME members of BeMSA. Present our plan of action to our advocacy council (VGSO) and BeMSA. Also get the LCs up-to-date and see what the LCs think of this idea.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Deadline We would like to implement this already this summer of 2018.

Tim Philips

SCOPE Sessions Delegate Objective Making a new scoresystem for the contact persons to evaluate their participation during the summer. The contact person will be evaluated by their incoming student and the LEO’s of the LC.

We will discuss this with the NEOs, but it will be too late to implement this already in the summer of 2018. During the summer of 2018.


Roos Van Den Noortgate

We would like to make a few workshops in every LC to increase the academic quality of our exchanges. For example, a workshop on anaesthesia. Implement the new idea of letting incomings make a presentation about an interesting case during their internship to promote participation and giving the internship a more specific purpose.

Plan of action We will create a Google-form with some objective and subjective questions. The following things are important in the evaluation: the contact person (CP) has picked up the student at the airport and showed the student his place to sleep. The CP has introduced the student at the department of the hospital. The CP has made at least one social activity where he/she was present. The CP brought a pillow and bedding for the student. Discuss this with the NEOs and try to introduce this at the first NGA next term. The input of the LEOs will be very important and appointments with tutors will be necessary.


Making a code of conduct to make the incomings sign when they arrive in their student lodging.

During the summer of 2018.



Meeting with Tim and Kristen on 22th of March. Discussing this idea during the coming BeMSA Gent meeting. Before the start of the summer: inform our incomings through the Facebook page + put this idea in the UAT PowerPoint presentation to introduce this new concept at the beginning of each month. Also, we will make a template that every incoming has to follow to present its case. Follow up on this task will be done by the LEO responsible for that month. Inform about the existing procedure of contracts in Belgium by the NEOs. If not present here, I would like to get in touch with countries that have such a procedure to adapt their contract to the Belgian situation.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Arno Depotter

SCOPH Sessions Delegate Objective Start and coordinate new Mental Health project: public awareness.

Start and coordinate new Healthy Food project: public awareness.

Strategic planning session about SCOPH together with Arno.

Deadline Before 1st of Jan 2019. The Czech Republic NPO is going to send the documents about their project to us before the 30th of March 2018. October 2019 - October 2020.


Dominique Vervoort

Michiel Reunes


This term, together with the LPOs, Arno and other enthusiasts. Emphasize this topic during the handover and in the NPO Manual. Next semester (October 2018) unofficially. October 2019 officially if possible (after discussing and voting etc.).

The creation of supportive national project coordinators together with Arno.


Keeping in touch with RAs.

This term.

Create a future leading team for the Global Surgery National Working Group.

June 30th, 2018.


Plan of action 1. Find sponsor to print the panels. 2. Arrange a public spot every month to put the 9 panels. 3. Promote this public spot.


Belgian evidence-based site about healthy food. Try to connect with the government (health department). Working with student restaurants at universities. Have a Skype Meeting on the 2nd of April at 19h. Report of this skype meeting to the TO Meeting and ask for input . Integrate into the bigger BeMSA Vision (together with the Small Working Group). Talk about it during the Strategic planning session about future SCOPH projects. Make a proposal for the national board. Application procedure: NPO accepts this position after application procedure. Informing the VPE about this idea in order to involve alumni. Skype Meeting - date TBA Update Results SWG Updates Finished projects Strategy input Inspire current and future NWG members through the InciSioN Global Surgery Symposium 2018 (IGSS2018). Connect with like-minded students around the world (i.e., the participants). Connect with leaders in the field (i.e., the speakers). Identify potential new NWG Chairs and train them accordingly. Joint creation of an annual action plan/ Attending monthly Global Surgery NWG Meetings with other groups around the world.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Deadline This semester so it can start next year in October.

Pieterjan Van Rijckeghem

Annelien Cordonnier

SCORA Sessions Delegate Objective Help the LORP of Leuven work out a sign language project.

Enrol The Stigma Challenge into the IFMSA Programs.

As soon as possible.

Follow up on our impact assessment.

End of May.

Plan of action Inspiration: I have gathered inspiration from the activities fair and also some email addresses of people responsible for existing projects in other countries who would love to help us and share more details. So I will get in touch with them. A start-up meeting with all volunteers interested on March 26. Brainstorm and put in what we already gathered. Construct a Task List and assign people to it. Find a project coordinator for next year. Will do it when I have the needed information.


Gather the necessary information. Process the data. Write a report.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

Itri Regragui

Matthieu Pierre

SCORE Sessions Delegate Objective Implementation of an Upon Arrival Training for incoming students.

Deadline Summer 2018.

Plan of action Using the UAT template to provide incomings with the right information about our healthcare system and customs in Belgium.

Implementation of a LEO/LORE training.

Term 2018-2019.

Improve my personal time management.

Starting today.

Optimize the exchanges for our incomings.

Summer 2018.

Organisation of a LEO/LORE training day with the right trainers & topics in order to give LEOs/LOREs the right skills in exchanges. By putting to action all the things I learned during the training on time management. One of the things I will try to apply more is the rule of five. Which means that everything you can do within a time period of 5 min, should be done straight away. This way you will avoid procrastination and be more efficient. I had lots of great input on how other countries organize the Upon Arrival Training and national social program etc. so I am more motivated than ever to organize an awesome exchange for our incomings. I also got in touch with other countries to look at the possibility for an international social program as well.

7 Group picture

Group picture of the delegation during the closing ceremony. From left to right: YasnaĂŻa, Michiel, Arno, Tim, Itri, Pieterjan, Eline, Basiel, Annelien, Nina, Roos, Matthieu, Arne, Arno and Thomas. Dominique is missing from this picture because he had to leave early.


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report

8 Abbreviations At BeMSA, and the IFMSA by extension, we have the bad habit of using lots of abbreviations, which we know can be confusing for externals or newer members. In this report, we have tried to limit the use of these abbreviations. The remaining ones are explained below. 8.1

Standing Committees

Standing Committee

Local Officer

National Officer LME Liaison Officer on Medical Education

LEO Local Professional Exchange Officer

NEO National Professional Exchange Officer

LPO Local Public Health Officer

NPO National Public Health Officer

LORA Local Officer on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/aids

NORA National Officer on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/aids

LORE Local Officer on Research Exchange

NORE National Officer on Research Exchange

LORP Local Officer on Human Rights and Peace

NORP National Officer on Human Rights and Peace


Belgian Medical Students’ Association - IFMSA General Assembly Report 8.2

Other abbreviations


Explanation August Meeting, one of the two annual IFMSA General Assemblies Association for Medical Education in Europe Belgian Medical Students’ Association Contact Person for incoming student Comprehensive Sexuality Education Executive Board, the daily management of IFMSA and BeMSA General Assembly, the two-yearly major IFMSA meetings International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations InciSion Global Surgery Symposium BeMSA Local Committee Currently the most inclusive term for those in this community. Each letter can stand for multiple things. Lesbian, Gay / Genderqueer / Gender fluid, Bisexual / Bigender, Trans / Transgender, Queer / Questioning, Intersex, Asexual / Aromantic / Agender / Abrosexual / Abroromantic and the + is meant to represent those not fitting into these March Meeting, one of the two annual IFMSA General Assemblies BeMSA National Board, consists of the TO and EB Non-Communicable Diseases National Food and Drinks Party, part of the social program of most IFMSA meetings National General Assemblies, the main BeMSA meetings National Member Organization of the IFMSA, such as BeMSA National Working Group, a long-term working group on a certain topic Organizing Committee of the General Assembly Online Meeting Public Relations Professional and Research Exchange Trainings Regional Assistant, the IFMSA regional coordinator for a certain Standing Committee Sub-Regional Training, a capacity building event organized by an IFMSA NMO Small Working Group, a short-term working group on a certain topic with a specific outcome Student representative organization from Ghent, member of VGSO Training New Exchange Officers Team of Officials, the group of BeMSA national officers Upon Arrival Training Universal Health Coverage Vlaams Geneeskundig Studenten Overleg Vice-President of External Affairs World Health Organization


THANKS TO Our delegation Yasnaïa Bruneel Annelien Cordonnier Nina De Bock Eline Dejans Arno Depotter Thomas Dewaele Arne Hostens Tim Philips Matthieu Pierre Itri Regragui Michiel Reunes Arno Van den Broeck Roos Van Den Noortgate Pieterjan Van Rijckeghem Dominique Vervoort Basiel Weyers

Our Local Committees BeMSA Gent (UGent) BeMSA Hasselt (UHasselt) BeMSA Leuven (KU Leuven) BeMSA Liège (ULg) BeMSA VUB BeMSA UCL BeMSA ULB EMSA Antwerpen (UAntwerpen)

BeMSA - IFMSA March Meeting 2018 Report