JAMSA REPORT ON THE IFMSA’S 62ND AUGUST MEETING 2013- SANTIAGO, CHILE
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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
The August Meeting 2013 of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and the work of the JAMSA Council 2013-2014 echoes this famous quote of Barak Obama. The young people, the future leaders of the world who are members of these organizations have recognized the importance of change, the importance of making the move towards development and improvement and this report will give a view of reformation from the International- IFMSA experience in August as well as a synopsis of the JAMSA vision for 2013-2014.
e-Health As the world is now, modern technology is being incorporated into all aspects of life. Hence, the theme chosen by IFMSA Chile “ehealth: technology-based medicine. Bringing future into present.” The Organizing Committee (OC) of IFMSA-Chile recognized the importance of technology to modern day medicine in enabling procedures that just a few years ago would have been considered impossible- ensuring that patients have more effective, health- enhancing care. It was noted that mobile technology presents one of the greatest opportunities for health professionals to promote health in developing countries, but this would also be somewhat challenging.
For this general assembly, three delegates from the Jamaica Medical Students’ Association were originally expected to be in attendance. Unfortunately however, the JAMSA delegation was only two members strong with Sachalee Campbell-JAMSA President and Auvarhenne Howell- JAMSA VP for Internal Affairs in attendance. We therefore had to expend more energy to ensure that JAMSA’s views were well represented and that we accomplished our goals for this meeting.
Opening Ceremony The first highlight of the meeting was the opening ceremony in which the Minister of Health-Chile addressed delegates on the life of a medical doctor and what we should view as priorities. Our Guest Speaker, PAHO Director and UWI, Mona alumna, Dr. Carissa Etienne, spoke on the importance of primary health care and highlighted the expected challenges of the medical profession and gave encouraging advice on how to overcome these challenges. .
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The opening ceremony was also used to introduce the concept of ‘IFMSA Reform’ to the delegates. IFMSA President, Dr. Rhoopa Dhatt, spoke on the change that IFMSA hopes to achieve. As a result of the prior work of IFMSA-Chile, the IFMSA signed a collaboration agreement with the Pan American Health Organization on that night. This agreement is geared towards strengthening relationships between both organizations and working towards the mutual benefits that this collaboration would afford. Even as IFMSA focused on its reform, the usual structure of IFMSA meetings was not lost. As such, days 2-6 of the General Assembly saw the usual Standing Committee sessions and Presidents’ Session which focused on topics specific to the different committees, but also incorporated the area of focus- reform. Regional Meetings were also held as is customary and these meetings enabled each Region of IFMSA, including the Pan American Medical Students’ Association (PAMSA), of which JAMSA is a member, to be able to gather the views of the region on reform and the importance of ensuring a stronger local and regional presence of IFMSA. As is customary for IFMSA’s General Assemblies, IFMSA Chile also organized theme events on e-Health, including, general e-Health sessions as well as e-dermatology, among others. These events had speakers with experience in this area such as Dr. Ramiro Molina sharing vital information with delegates and encouraging our participation in activities geared towards enhancing E-health. A group presentation on e-Health was done by representatives of MedeTel which is an event organized by the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), which is the international group of national associations who represent Telemedicine and eHealth stakeholders of their different countries.
Dr. Carissa Etienne and Dr. Rhoopa Dhatt
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Contract Fair At each IFMSA August Meeting, an opportunity is presented for national member organizations (NMO) to sign agreements to allow for bilateral and/or unilateral exchange opportunities for students of the signatory countries. This year saw JAMSA signing seven bilateral contracts with AMSA- USA,CFMS- Canada, Canada-Quebec, ANEMFFrance, IFMSA Brazil and HelMISC Greece. This will allow our students to visit these countries on electives within the coming year and for students to be similarly sent to Jamaica from these countries. Seven unilateral exchange agreements were also signed to allow students from those countries to visit Jamaica on electives. Surveys which were administered to the student population before the general assembly to determine their locations of interest were used to inform these agreements. Contract fair also provides an opportunity for each NMO to be on showcase in order to expose other students to the general culture and the medical educational system.
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Another highlight for the August Meeting was the Closing Ceremony which was also on Jamaica’s Independence Day. During the Plenary session that evening, JAMSA presented a statement on Jamaica’s Independence and encouraged the other delegates to join in our celebrations. We then shared a Jamaica 50 video, which saw the plenary room erupting, clapping and dancing. The most remarkable thing about that moment was that though there were internet issues, causing the video to stop every few seconds, everyone was quite enthused about this JAMSA-Jamaica initiative that the video was restarted a few times. Thus, JAMSA’s delegates although a bit saddened that the video presentation did not run perfectly, were quite enlightened to see how much our island is loved by persons internationally. This August meeting presented another of the many networking opportunities that IFMSA brings as young people came together to interact – developing friendships with present and future leaders in various fields. Just as our parent body IFMSA is working towards change, JAMSA is also focusing on improvement for 2013-2014. One of the major areas of focus is institutional memory which has not been at its best. We have been encouraging the process of documentation and also improvements in the visibility of JAMSA as we have numerous activities, but at times, even the medical students whom we serve are not as abreast of our activities as we would wish them to be. Another famous quote of Barak Obama says, “Yes We Can!” and this is one of the themes of JAMSA for this year. There are many dreams for this year. Not all can be accomplished within a year, but we have begun work that will strengthen JAMSA for many generations to come.
Presidents of the National Member Organizations of IFMSA
The Jamaica Medical Studentsâ€™ Association Sachalee Campbell President Auvarhenne Howell Vice-President of Internal Affairs www. ifmsajamsa.org firstname.lastname@example.org