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The Annual Report
Credits Design and Layout - Rachel Galea - www.rachelgalea.eu Editors - Elizabeth Gialanze’ and Arlène Gatt Printed in Malta, 2012 Copyright - Malta Medical Students’ Association - www.mmsa.org.mt
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The Hon. Dr. Joe R. Cassar, MP
Ann Victoria Farrugia
Daniel Vella Fondacaro
Secretary General Richard Apap Bologna
Financial Officer Alexander Paul Grima
Exchanges and Research Officer Christabel Mizzi
Medical Education Officer Robert Cachia
Sexual and Reproductive Health Officer Keith Pace
Public Health Officer Eleanor Borg
Human Rights and Peace Officer Thea Dimech
Peer Education and Training Officer Michael Sullivan
Media and Marketing Officer Elizabeth Gialanzeâ€™
Ryan Grech and Julian Agius
Electives Coordinator Jessica Burr Galea
Supervising Council Jacob Vella and Sandra Zammit
FOREWORD FROM THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH, THE ELDERLY AND COMMUNITY CARE. This document clearly illustrates that the MMSA has continued to address its role within the medical profession and in the health sector with remarkable commitment and significant achievement. The direction and activity of the Executive Board of the association has sought to reach out to fellow students within and outside the medical profession, to other professions and moreover to the members of our society, especially the patients. As doctors we all hold to the contention that, in the midst of all the socio-economic, professional and political dynamics, patients remain at the heart of our profession. All of us need to keep in tune with this. Studentsâ€™ rights and obligations need to be continually tuned to this cornerstone contention. I believe the MMSA has managed to deliver a sterling contribution towards such tuning!
I would like to take the opportunity to commend the work of the MMSA and moreover, I would like to encourage other studentsâ€™ associations to find and follow such paths. As Minister, I promise my continued support towards the MMSA, and I hope that the MMSA will continue to collaborate with government towards enhanced outcomes, especially the outcomes related to patient care delivery.
Hon. Dr. Joseph R. Cassar
PRESIDENT ANN VICTORIA FARRUGIA
It is with great satisfaction that I write this piece for what will probably be the last installment during my tenure as MMSA President 2011-2012. It was a year of implementation and a year of re-instating the MMSA for what it truly is: a dynamic, powerful student organisation. It was also a year of maintenance of previous years’ achievements – an important factor for continuity and growth. Before I got elected, I based my plan of action on three pillars: the medical student, the association and the
Executive Board (EB). Throughout my term, I made sure that these three pillars were being taken care of in the best possible manner. The medical student The medical student was central to our values this year and we made sure that anything the EB decided on profited directly the people that make up the MMSA. As President I regularly attended meetings with Dr David Cassar as Dean’s Delegate for Student Affairs, during which we discussed the introduction of a gap year, waivering of Behavioural Sciences seminar fees, and any other pending student matters communicated to me by the EB. It was a year dominated by endeavours which focus on the student and how the student could benefit from every step
we took. One of the most important priorities for us is the constant development and training of medical students. We therefore further developed the Travel Assistance Fund (TAF) criteria this year and improved on the existing TAF protocol, hence making the process of giving points more objective. The creation of an International Opportunities mailing list facilitated the direct communication of such opportunities to interested students. Also throughout the year, several seminars were held directed towards increasing the student’s knowledge base. The Association A major leap for the MMSA this term was the utilisation of the new points system. This was a lengthy process and required
many adjustments, but inkeeping with our values, the student was put first and above everything else. By the end of the process, we made sure that not a single complaint was left unanswered and we are proud of having accommodated everyone in a fair and just manner. This term saw the implementation of the new administration roles, attributing several tasks to the roles of the President, Vice-president and Secretary General. This ensured that my focus was mostly on the association since external relations were being very well-managed by an externals team. The maintenance of a positive vibe throughout the year was crucial to the rebirth of an entire Standing Committee (SC) and the improvement of the other SCs. Every member who approached us with an idea was encouraged to materialise it and
this led to the creation of new campaigns and the actualisation of many initiatives, such as participation in the President’s Fun Run which was subsidised in part by the Physical Activity Fund (PAF). International representation was high-priority this year, with delegations present at both IFMSA General Assemblies (GA) and the EMSA GA. This continued to better relations with such bodies, as well as to strengthen the opinion of the association in this regard. At the MMSA, we never underestimate the power of a united voice and this is why we strive to forge relationships with many externals. We completed registration with the Malta Health Network and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, signed the React declaration with 5 other student organisations and built relationships with Members of Parliaments (MPs) and political parties in a bid to work closer together to influence policy-making. The Executive Board Most of my energy this year was directed towards the efficient running and management of the EB. This mainly involved facilitating communication between EB members as well as the normal proceedings of organising and
chairing EB meetings. One of my important missions this year was to restore faith in the MMSA EB as a body. I strongly believe in the fact that a happy EB makes a happy organisation and I went to great lengths to establish positivity among EB members which would trickle down to the rest of the MMSA. Not only does it promote hard work, but it also makes the work more rewarding and satisfying. This is ultimately what I strived to achieve for the MMSA this year and I can safely say that thanks to the compliance of the EB this mission was fully accomplished. In any team, conflicts are bound to arise. Being in touch with the
EB members and being receptive to their feelings and work ethics made it possible to have a year without resignations. This to me is the result of the excellent intra-EB relations and the establishment of a clear team vision and mission at the beginning of our term both directed towards the consistent improvement of our association. The work of an EB member involves a lot of background work which could not be listed here. For this reason, I invite readers to look up full monthly reports by the undersigned and all other Executive Board members on the MMSA website which will be
available as from August 2012. To conclude, I would like to thank all those people who made this term a successful one. I would like to thank the EB members for showing exemplary teamwork, all MMSA members for their commitment to making our association ever greater, the University of Malta medical school and external partners for their support throughout the year and all those family members and friends who provided guidance, assistance and compassion. Yours, Ann
VICE PRESIDENT DANIEL VELLA FONDACARO
It is sometimes hard to understand how a student association could have such an impact on the life of the medical and university student and the medico-legal sphere in general. The strong infrastructure of the association provides the perfect platform for effective campaigns, seminars, debates, outreaches, meetings and ideas. Moreover, for continuous, sustainable and well-planned growth, a strong association needs strong external relations, giving it the capacity to endure and build on the long-term maintenance of its goals and achievements. Most of the work of the MMSA Vice President is making sure that these external relations are up and running and in good shape, strengthening existing relations and building new ones. The MMSA Vice President is the main MMSA representative at the KSU Social Policy Commission (KPS), where he/she has to take a stand on several issues pertaining to the discussion. Other important liaising bodies include all the other NGO’s, the Maltese Government, the European Union and its agencies, funding institutions etc. The following is a summary of work carried out by the office of the Vice President during 2011-2012 July 2011 – CONF Report The CONF report (Classification Board, Offices in Students’ House, Notice Boards in Students’ House, Freshers’ Week Stands) is a report compiled by
the student associations at the University of Malta for the assortment of the offices and notice boards at students’ house and the Freshers’ stand at the quadrangle the following September/October. The 212 page long report I compiled managed to bring us to third place, side by side with Moviment Graffitti and after SDM and Pulse. In this position we could benefit from the following: ◻ Having our own office in Students’ House ◻ Choosing our own Freshers’ Stand in a good location for maximal exposure ◻ Choosing our Notice Board at Students’ House July - August 2011 – KSU Drug Reform in Malta Subcommittee This was the result of a liaison of several different associations (KSU, MMSA, MUSC, MUFC, SDM, GĦSK, GĦSL, MPSA and Moviment Graffitti). After long discussions and meetings, together with Dr Sandra Scicluna, an expert in the field, we presented the first Drug Policy Reform – The Way Forward. One of the issues tackled was the decriminalisation of Marijuana as opposed to the legalisation of the drug. The policy paper was approved by the KPS on the 5th of August. As the MMSA representative, I was responsible for the medical/medico-legal aspects in the policy.
which was part of the ‘Health and Well-Being Campaign’. This anti-tobacco, anti-drug and prohealth outreach took place on a Saturday night (17th December) in Paceville Square aiming for the best possible exposure. We made use of hundreds of glow sticks and also organised a photo competition. Throughout the term, Peer-Ed sessions were also delivered by the MMSA Peer Education Officer to the newly formed Students For Healthy August 2011 - March 2012 – Living (SFHL). Chairing the Student Health MMSA SCORA organised a ‘NeoCommittee plasms Seminar’ at the Anatomy After my appointment as chair- Lecture Theatre which dealt with person of the committee, eight the delicate approach that one health-oriented associations should have with cancer patients (MMSA, KSU, MHSA, MPSA, and also general information Y4TE, MUSC, SFHL and Green- about this debilitating disease. house) united to discuss health The University Health Week was related issues and to organise organised by the Student Health campaigns and seminars for the Committee with the participageneral public. The first event tion of the Hon. Dr Joe Cassar, was ‘One Night Stand’ , an event the Hon. Dr Marie Louise Coleiro
Preca, the Hon. Mario Galea and Ms. Marianne Massa from the Health Promotion Department. International Office This term saw the appointment of the MMSA International Officer within the VP office. By means of the MMSA Google group for international events and conferences, the MMSA members had the opportunity to go to 41 different conferences and seminars abroad. The biggest response to an international event was seen for the National Undergraduate and Foundation General Surgery Conference which was held in London on the 3rd and 4th March 2012. This saw the biggest delegation of medical students that went abroad at one go (total of 58 medical students).
The MMSA Alumni The VP office also saw the appointment of an MMSA Alumni Officer. Several past Murmur magazines (1992, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) went through a process of digitalisation and we are currently working on an investigative procedure to find out the exact founding date of the MMSA. Moreover, on the 28th October, an MMSA Alumni Facebook page was created, and this has 70 members to date. The MMSA Organisations’ Gathering The Executive Boards of the different student associations were invited to this special MMSA event held at the KSU Common Room on the 26th April 2012. During the course of the event, the MMSA Executive Board
members described the structure of the MMSA and talked about a number of campaigns that the association organises. This event also saw the launch of Minima Medicamenta, the presentation of the newly elected Executive Board 2012-2013, and a small social event to finish off the evening. Other ◻ Building strong relations with the European Union Programme’s Agency (EUPA) and Malta-European Union Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC) to secure funding for campaigns, seminars and events organised by the various Standing Committees. The last application was given in April. ◻ Strengthening our relations with the University Student Council (KSU), the Na-
tional Youth Council (KNŻ) and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ. ◻ Being awarded the KSU Kokka tas- Sena Award This term has been a very busy one and I thank the MMSA Executive Board 2011-2012, all the MMSA members and all those who helped in some way or other by organsing, planning, attending and giving the necessary feedback. The student body is shaping the future of our society. Acquiring certain skills as a student will definitely help the individual to strive better in the near future, and consequently shaping a better society. That is the basic principle of student activism. “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” Winston Churchill
SECRETARY GENERAL RICHARD APAP BOLOGNA
Brief overview of the Training and Resource Development (TRD) Seminar: The TRD Seminar weekend aims to recruit new medical students and introduce them to the work done by the MMSA. Apart from recruitment, this year further sessions were included, with the aim of arming the medical student with specific skills -, such as presentation skills and suturing skills. This also encouraged older students to attend another TRD, giving them an incentive for something extra. The seminar was designed in such a way that a proper overview of the MMSA including all its different Standing Committees was still delivered. The TRD seminar weekend was held between the 21st of October 2012 and the 23rd of October 2012, at the Suncrest Hotel in Qawra. Hotel and Sponsor Hunting: Hotel hunting began only a few weeks after I was elected - this was a time-consuming job that took over a month to finalise. In order to obtain the best price possible for our students, a wide variety of different hotels were contacted. The prices for hotels with our demands for such an event were all at a higher cost, nothing close to the traditional €55 TRD student fee. Fortunately a good deal was worked out with the Suncrest hotel in Qawra (4 star), dropping the price down to €60. This price was brought down even further by sponsorship funds the Executive Board strived to collect – to
€55, thus saving a lot of money for both the students and the association. By all this I fulfilled my first goal at making TRD affordable and sustainable.
EB Admin Duties
The Planning Phase:
◻ Taking meeting minutes and publishing them online to increase transparency within the organisation.
Once the hotel was booked I formed a team. I was very fortunate to work with an enthusiastic organising committee (OC) who helped me plan the event. We met a few times throughout the summer as well as at the beginning of the scholastic year so as to update each other on the progress of the planning, and to discuss any new matters. We were a well-structured OC and the weekend would not have been possible if it wasn’t for all their dedication and help. Freshers’ Week: Registration and promotion of the TRD weekend was the main aim of this much hectic week. During our presentations, I explained the setup of TRD to the first years and all that was in store for them. A stand was set up at the University Quadrangle where students could come and meet members of the OC, come forward with their inquiries and pay their TRD registration fee. Within one week we managed to register 207 applicants: This led us to achieve our second goal, having over 200 students attendees. The TRD Weekend: The weekend was quite a success and everyone had a good time. We managed to cover a lot of material allowing us to promote the different SCs within the MMSA and deliver training sessions. We had a large number of distinguished guest speakers giving a wide variety of talks. This year we also implemented an attendance system which allowed us to distribute certificates to the active participants.
The role of the secretary general as an EB member comprised of many different tasks, mainly:
◻ Maintenance of the bi-weekly MMSA newsletter to keep students informed about the MMSA and other relevant activities. ◻ Active participation in discussions with the rest of the Executive Board members ◻ Helping out in the allocation of points for TAF forms ◻ Being the legal representative and signatory of the MMSA for sponsorships, contracts and permits. ◻ Responding to inquiries posted on the MMSA website.
December Extraordinary General Meeting 2011 Last December an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) was held. As secretary general I was in charge of the planning and organisation. This was an important meeting which needed to be held so that we could address some pressing matters and required changes in the statute and bylaws of our association. The EGM took place at Mater Dei Hospital Central Auditorium on the 19th of December 2011. Annual General Meeting 2012 The general assembly is the highest body of authority in the MMSA. All members have the right to exercise one vote at the general meeting. Again as part of my duties as secretary general I was in charge of the organising, promoting and planning of this annual general meeting. A very good attendance was recorded and the candidates for the EB Elections 2012 had an op-
portunity to present themselves in to the general assembly. The current MMSA EB members pre-
sented their AGM reports after which they were approved by the general assembly. Refreshments were also served. The MMSA AGM took place on the 21st of March 2012 at the Central Auditorium of Mater Dei Hospital. Extraordinary General Meeting 2012 In April it was required that another EGM would be held in continuation of the previous AGM in order to finish some important amendments to the statute and bylaws that could not be finalised at the AGM due to time restrictions.
Once again as secretary general I was in charge of the organising, promoting and planning of this extraordinary general meeting. Apart from approval of the proposed amendments to the statute and bylaws, a vote for the Supervising Council candidates was undertaken at the end of the EGM. The EGM was held on the 11th of April 2012 at the Central Auditorium of Mater Dei Hospital. Elections 2012 This year the MMSA had a large number of contested posts and candidates in comparison to previous elections.
The voting turnout was also higher than the previous year, almost hitting the 60% mark, indicating the increasing interest of medical students in the running of the association. This increase in the percentage of voters, when compared to last year, was just under 20% of the student body, which accounts for over 100 more votes! My time as secretary general within the MMSA will be one to remember. I have managed to fulfill all my duties to the best of my capabilities without receiving any complaints. I wish my successor the best of luck for the upcoming Executive Board term.
FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEXANDER PAUL GRIMA
Dear readers, This term saw the Malta Medical Students’ Association’s Executive Board invest heavily in the students. Its campaigns and projects were aimed at increasing the opportunities of students and open up doors, allowing them access to new experiences that benefitted their education and personal growth. Such investment is a matter of pride for this Executive and with our heads held high we can say that the student has always been our top priority. This has been echoed in the financial activities of the association. As in past years the MMSA’s EB has sought to improve the Training Assistance Fund (TAF), increasing accessibility and availability whilst making it all the more objective and fair for students. This year saw over 75 individual students benefitting from this opportunity to receive a refund on expenses incurred in the course of furthering their education and training in the medical world. Not only has there been an increase in the popularity of TAF but the EB has time and time again throughout its term voted to continue extending the TAF budget which started out at €8,500 and is now well over €16,000. Improvements have been made not only in quantity but also in quality. Over the late summer the protocol was reviewed and modified to make it clearer and more student friendly. The way applications were revieiwed and
points awarded was standardised both by setting specific time frames and listing criteria on which applications were to be judged, greatly increasing our objectivity. This is not to say that the year has been perfect. The EB found itself overwhelmed by the volume of applications received for the NUGSC London in March 2012 and much work still needs to be done to continue improving on the objectivity of the protocol. Yet, we are proud of the work that we have done and through that work, we have continued to improve on this great initiative for students. The student also found himself at the heart of other changes and initiatives implemented by the Executive Board. The Physical Activity Fund (PAF) protocol was also reviewed and modified in the same time period as the TAF protocol. From being based solely on refunding students for gym memberships, the protocol has now been extended to provide a 25% refund on all expenses of a physical nature, including the purchase of equipment such as gym equipment or sport shoes. This has increased the expediency to PAF. It was by means of a special 50% sponsorship through the PAF initiative that over 50 medical students decided to participate in the President’s Fun Run in December 2011. Apart from these initiatives, the student have also benefitted from a number of changes brought about by the EB in the way it handles its accounts. Despite some teething problems, an HSBC account was this year opened in order to conduct transfers via e-banking with those students who have an HSBC account and not a BOV account. This has made financial transactions easier. Also in 2012, a Transport Coordinator was appointed and after compiling a database of transport companies, found cheap and
reliable transport for use during our campaigns such as Teddy Bear Hospital. Furthermore a stable rate of €1.50 was paid by students for round trips to campaigns, the extra cost being completely subsidised by the MMSA. This has gone some way to help improve accessibility to campaigns and thus attendance. The MMSA EB has also decided to change its statute and bylaws which did not allow the EB to give full refunds for students who were not selected for an exchange programme. Thus, not only did the EB reduce the exchange application fee from the stipulated €150 to €100 but also gave full refunds to those denied the opportunity to go abroad. All this spending power is directly due to sound budgeting and financial management by the administration of the MMSA together with SC heads and their coordinators. Most campaigns were able to keep within budgets set early in the year and although some modifications were necessary, good teamwork and understanding allowed capital to be spread to allow adequate usage by all. Great savings were made in events that traditionally caused losses for the MMSA. TRD was able to record a profit of around €82.00, an exceptional occurrence made even more astounding considering the difficult financial year the entire world and our country has been through. Congratulations to the outgoing Secretary General Richard Apap Bologna and his dedicated OC are in order! Similiarly, savings were made in both the Xmas Party and even the Ballo dei Cavailleri. Ryan Grech, our Leisure Officer has worked tirelessly with his team to ensure that their entertainment success was equally matched by financial success!
It has yet been a difficult financial year. The end of a corporate sponsor agreement with Alfred Gera and Sons, has not been followed up with another corporate sponsor agreement. Such reluctance by corporate entities to enter into financial commitments with student associations has been felt across the board, yet we have still managed to garner minor sponsors and through the hard work of Assistant Financial Officer, Stephanie de Bono, establish a good working relationship with Technoline. Such difficulty in finding sponsors has made it difficult to break even, especially considering our relentless investment in the student. Moreover, throughout the year, the MMSA EB has made its utmost to be flexible when dealing with unforeseen expenses. Breakages in apartments by exchange students and other unexpected expenses were adequately handled using contingency funds that were planned for earlier in the beginning of summer. Other ad hoc events such as the Stroke Awareness Campaign could also be under-
taken and made into a successful event by tapping into these funds. As always our greatest source of income has been elective students. This year has seen a drop in the profits recorded through apartment rental. However the superior elective programme offered in Malta has attracted record numbers of students and application income has been very satisfactory. 30% of application fees fuel our own accounts and this term a total income of €35,585.62 has been recorded. This income has contributed to increasing our final balance to €42,936.62. Adding to this is another €5,200.00 that will be deposited into the MMSA’s account in July/August, following the successful application for the Youth Initiative Grant, awarded through EUPA. This added income is very much the result of the hard work and diligence of President-Elect Daniel Vella Fondacaro and Financial Officer-Elect Lisa Buttigieg. Such work bodes well for the next term and with a solid financial position at the end of June, we can safely say that the
MMSA will continue to grow and push its boundaries. The MMSA’s vision is to continue investing more in the student and the public and it definitely has the resources to deliver that dream. I would like to thank all the MMSA EB for their help and support throughout this term. Such a strong and united team, capable of surmounting individual differences and opinions to work collectively for the good of the MMSA, is difficult to come by. It was an honour and a pleasure being part of this team. I would also like to give special thanks to Stephanie de Bono, whose work particularly when I was abroad was vital in ensuring that our financial situation remained strong and viable. Her work with sponsors was inspiring and without her our situation would not be so optimistic. Last but not least I would also like to thank all the students who in 2011 trusted me with this job and gave me such an amazing opportunity. Many thanks and kind regards, Alexander Paul Grima
EXCHANGES AND RESEARCH OFFICER CHRISTABEL MIZZI
My name is Christabel Mizzi and I have been the National Exchange Officer and National Officer on Research Exchange (NEO-NORE) for the term 20112012. Having occupied the position of the NEO-NORE assistant during the term 2010-2011 inspired me to take on this role. Being both a NEO-NORE-in i.e taking care of the incoming students and a NEO-NORE out i.e. taking care of the outgoing students has proved itself to be quite of a tough job. However, thanks to many, I was able to carry out all the tasks involved.
My role as a NEO-NORE spans the whole year and I can say that it occupied my thoughts most of the time. I started my term in July, taking over from my predecessor and I was immediately inundated with loads of enquiries regarding the July incoming students. The transition process is hard in every kind of profession. However, this hurdle was gradually and successfully surpassed. The incoming exchanges were organised by first making sure to notify the consultants about the studentsâ€™ attachment both by letter and by e-mail. The studentsâ€™ applications were reviewed and immunisation results were collected. That visiting students have received proper immunisation vaccines is a pre requisite for any student working in our hospital This is a safeguard towards both the student and the patient.
The food contract with Spuntino was renewed for yet another year since no complaints had been received in the previous year. Contact persons were designated to pick up the foreign students from the airport and transfer them to their allotted apartment. The pick up service is one which is highly appreciated by the incoming students as they immediately feel welcomed to our island and to our exchange programme. Once the students have settled in, they are picked up from their apartments and taken to Mater
Dei Hospital where they are shown round and introduced to their consultants. The accommodation is chosen on the criteria of comfort and close proximity to the hospital to make it convenient for the student. In the course of my term, a greater than usual number of apartments had to be rented due to the higher influx of exchange students. The social programme is organised with great detail to ensure that the students see as much of Malta as possible. The pro-
gramme includes several events and many places of interest such as day trips to Gozo and Comino and the wine and beer festival. I made sure that the students could contact me at any time which contributed to there being no complaints from the students. Incoming students apply all year round. However, the most busy months are July, August and September. Students are usually not accepted in May and June since this is our exam period. In my term, the MMSA had a total of 91 incoming students throughout the whole year with 27 students arriving in July and 43 students who in August. Compared to last year, there was an addition of 6 students in July and 11 students in August. I am very happy to state that according to the 2012 survey, more than 90% of the students will recommend Malta as an exchange destination. During my term there was a total of 58 SCOPE and 9 SCORE outgoing students. Outgoing students are given an academic quality logbook which they need to fill during their exchange. This logbook was approved by the Dean of The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.
During my term, I also organised the annual Research Day together with five other coordinators. During the research day, several speakers delivered a talk about their current research. We also gave an opportunity to medical students who carried out research at some point during their medical studies to present it to their fellow medical students, to encourage them to venture in the field of research and paper presentation. Following my experience of having too many tasks to carry out
being in charge of both outgoing and incoming, I proposed that the role is split into two, that of NEO-NORE-in and NEO-NORE out. This will make it easier for each NORE to carry out the duties tied to each role. Thanks to my colleagues on the EB, my this has now been implemented and I am sure the exchange standing committee will be. Although, this was probably the most hectic year of my life, with 4th year exams and a part time job on one side and managing exchanges on the other, I have no regrets as I learnt a lot and the experience will surely help
me in my future career. One of the most important being time management. I truly wish the best of luck to the new NEONORE-in and out, and I am positive that they will do an excellent job. I would like to close off by thanking everyone who helped me throughout my term including the rest of the Executive Board, my predecessor, the electives co-ordinator, my NEO-NORE assistant, the various contact and pick up persons and last but not least my family and friends.
MEDICAL EDUCATION OFFICER ROBERT CACHIA
Dear All, It is my pleasure to take a moment to reflect on all of SCOME’s achievements this year. Not only has it been a great year for SCOME but also an amazing year for our beloved MMSA. The Standing Committee on Medical Education has always been a major part of the core of the MMSA as one of the main pillars of the association. This is because of its role of cater-
ing for the medical student’s own good both by representing the students and giving them a voice and also by providing opportunities which enhance medical education through seminars, workshops, publications and other events. SCOME has always been the Standing Committee for the medical student and has progressed very rapidly in the past few years. As a Fresher in 1st year I remember SCOME consisting of a team of merely 4 persons. As the MMSA Medical Education Officer for the year 2011 – 2012, I am proud to say that we have taken SCOME to a new level and have had at least 40 persons working within the Standing Committee and hundreds attending our events this year. However for us SCOMEdians, it is not only quantity that mat-
ters but also quality. With each event or project we have organised this year, we always ensured quality in each and every aspect. We made sure to improve on previous events while adding new projects to our calendar. We went beyond organising the usual seminars to creating educational publications and working with numerous other
Standing Committees in aspiring towards an integral approach for the MMSA. This year has seen exceptional seminars being organised by SCOME - a fact based on the feedback gathered from medical students. These included seminars such as “Aches and Pains”, “Don’t do a House”, “Careers’
Convention”, “The Audit Seminar” and the biggest hit “Breaking the Silence”. These seminars were made as interactive as possible providing the opportunity of practicing skills that will be important to the graduated doctor which include suturing, bandaging, breaking bad news and sign language sessions, amongst others. Another great success was the Medical Education Development International Kit Training (MEDIK-T) weekend workshop which brought together about 20 medical students teaching them important skills that are beneficial to both their personal development and to their work within our growing organisation.. Apart from being educational it was also fun and a great motivator and foundation builder to the students who will form part of the future of the MMSA. This year SCOME went a step further and took the initiative of issuing a number of publications. Ideas Cafe’ is a 50 page document consisting of feedback and suggestions gathered by and from the students over the past 2 years and presented to the faculty. It is a pure representation of the role of SCOME as the voice of the student. This year also saw the creation of Minima Medicamenta which is a compilation of interesting clinical cases written by medical students and approved as an educational publication by both the Faculty of Medicine & Surgery as well as the Minister for Health, the Elderly and Community Care. My personal favourite this year is, of course, the Maltese – English and English – Maltese Medical Language Translator which is a very interesting and creative initiative and is in the process of being published. This publication has been professionally proofread and also approved by a number of important bodies
including the Ministry of Health, the Faculty of Medicine & Surgery and also the UoM Department of Maltese Linguistics. I hope that each medical student is looking forward to getting a copy which will be of great help to them particulary during their clinical years. As always, SCOME also took care of providing each class of medical students with its own class representatives who all did a very good job at caring for the needs of each respective class and liaising with the Faculty and myself. MMSA – SCOME was also represented abroad three times this year, namely in Denmark, Ghana and Prague. SCOME also worked at directly enhancing the everyday experience of the medical student by extending the opening hours of the Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) Medical Sciences Library in order to give a better service to all healthcare students. Furthermore, we managed to remove all administrative fees which had
to be paid by the MMSA for the use of MDH facilities, with immediate and long-term benefit to all Standing Committees. In conclusion, we have shown that involving oneself and being part of a team is beneficial in improving one’s personal skills which will be of great use when working as part of a medical team. The benefits of SCOME can also be seen as having a direct impact on delivery of skills and also a long term yield with the Standing Committee pushing for the direct improvement of the course structure especially as can be seen in the preclinical course thanks to our Ideas Cafe. Finally I would like to thank a number of persons without whom the successes of this year would not have been possible. First of all, I start by thanking my fellow Executive Board members, who worked as a team and made the successes of the MMSA possible. I would also like to thank my team and coordinators who made the or-
ganisation of individual events and projects possible. A big thank you also goes to all those externals who supported SCOME including university professors, medical consultants and other professionals who offered their help. It makes me very content to have such persons approach me themselves with ideas for new SCOME projects, which goes to show that even these professionals see the results that SCOME reaps. Most importantly, I would like to thank my assistant for her continuous help and support in SCOME matters. Last but not least, I thank all of you who have always supported SCOME by attending events and participating in any way possible. I look forward to continuing my contribution to the MMSA in the coming years. “Don’t mess with M.E. I could be your doctor someday” Yours truly, Robert
SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH OFFICER KEITH PACE
Dear all, It is with great pleasure that I am writing this report as my final duty in the post of Officer on Reproductive Health including AIDS for the term 2011-12. This year finally saw SCORA grow into the Standing Committee (SC) it deserves to be, especially in a nation where sexual health is a subject which still has the power to raise (too) many eyebrows. The Standing Committee on Reproductive Health including AIDs was reawakened with strong student participation, new liaisons with other student associations and local bodies, new
projects and campaigns and a vast amount of publicity through local and international media. Rebuilding SCORA was a task which I could have never done alone and this is why creating a team was the most important step in making SCORA the SC which the MMSA can be proud of today. The SCORA team consisted of 12 members including myself. Together we worked to revive the SC, liaise with other SCs, student organisations and local and international bodies and maintain existing campaigns whilst striving to encourage participation and new ideas. I am so grateful to this team, not only for their work and dedication but also for their friendship and encouragement. I would like to thank all those students who were active in the events organised by SCORA. Nothing would have been possible without their help and participation. The first task we worked on was the Sexual Health Survey during the month of September. This
was organised by the Department for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) in liaison with the MMSA. This national study focused on sexual knowledge, attitudes and lifestyles in young Maltese adults between the ages of 18-25, since very limited data has been available so far. The KSU awarded the Kokka Innovativa 2011/12 for our work on this project. During the summer months we also worked with the HPDP on the H-Cubed campaign. The aim of this campaign was to inform people about HIV, Hepatitis B and C, whilst also collecting data through questionnaires. To kickstart the SC’s work, the SCORA team prepared immensely for this year’s TRD. The SCORA handbook together with a welcome video was launched during TRD. Following TRD, the Physiology Seminar was organised in liaison with SCOME. This seminar gave medical students the chance to showcase projects which tackled reproductive health topics. Throughout
the month of November, SCORA participated in the international Movember Campaign and €125 were donated to the Prostate Cancer Charity and Institute of Cancer Research. World AIDs Day (WAD), one of the MMSA’s most important campaigns, kicked off with a Red Party at Black Pearl in liaison with the MPSA. All profits went towards Xefaq-Caritas, a counselling service aimed at people living with STDs including HIV/ AIDS. Outreaches were held on campus and in Sliema, and a Candle Vigil was organised through the streets of Valletta with the participation of local authorities. Through the efforts of the MMSA, the Health Ministry and St.George’s Square were also lit red to commemorate the day. Exposed! - the Concert, was relaunched with the participation of local bands Red Electrick and Funk Initiative. All these events were organised between November 26th and December 8th. The campaign received extensive media coverage including the inter-
ticular cancer awareness during International Women’s and Men’s Day - this was done both through outreaching and seminars. As Officer on Reproductive Health, I was also highly active in the Student Health Subcommittee. This consisted of members from the MMSA, MPSA, MHSA, KSU, SFHL, Y4TE and MUSC. The University Health Week organised by the Subcommittee included a day dedicated to Sexual Health. As part of this Subcommittee I also worked on organising a seminar about Reproductive Neoplasms.
national news-portal Reuters. One of the major hurdles of living with HIV/AIDS is stigma and discrimination – an issue which remains widespread after over 25 years since the start of the epidemic. IlluminAIDS is an IFMSA transnational project tackling this issue. A seminar was organised locally in December and through discussion with the Faculty, a lecture on the topic was added to the preclinical syllabus as part of the module MDS2024. I also presented this project during the IFMSA European Regional Meeting held this year in Prague. A new MMSA Sexual Health Peer Education syllabus was launched as a guide for our peer educators and for the schools in which we deliver sessions. The MMSA also joined the IFMSA transnational Peer Education project ‘Sexperience’. Sessions were delivered in two schools this year and hopefully the amount of students reached will continue to increase in the coming years. The MMSA set out to inform medical students on the topic of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights through a seminar organised in February
regarding Gender and Sexuality. This included discussions with sexual health therapists and members of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE). Together with WeAre, we also worked on educating the public by distributing rainbow ribbons, leaflets, booklets and postcards during Healthfest. We also prepared a large handprint rainbow. The MMSA is currently working together with the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) in an effort to modify the local ban on blood donation as has been done in other countries worldwide. During the month of February the Valentine’s Day Campaign was part of our SCORA Calendar. This celebration of hearts, roses and budding relationships was a perfect opportunity for SCORA to spread information on the risks of STDs, the current help available on this issue, and the proper use of contraception. The campaign included not only outreaches and photos with our very own cupid, but also an online informative campaign. The Maltese delegation presented this project during the projects fair in EuRegMe Prague, where it was very well received!
The IVF Campaign included not only a full page poster on local VIDA magazine and the launch of an online e-poster, but also the compilation of a Vox-Pop video with the participation of students representing various
student associations including MHSA, Pulse and SDM. Moreover, a debate was organised on campus, at the start of April. SCORA also worked in liaison with SCORP to include topics such as breast cancer and tes-
The term ended with the initiation of the handover process to my successor, to whom I wish to extend the best of luck whilst thanking her immensely for all her hard work as part of the outgoing SCORA Team. This has definitely been a great year for SCORA and I am very proud of all we have achieved, but I am sure that the next will be even better
and that SCORA will continue to grow in the years to come. Regards, Keith
PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER ELEANOR BORG
At the start of the year, I made a few simple plans which would have served as my aims to direct SCOPH during the forthcoming year: To make the MMSA more known to the general public so as to increase the turnout of people that attend our events, focusing not only on the campaigns which target the general public (such as World Heart Day and World Diabetes day) but also on the campaigns we do in schools. I believe that by teaching the children, we are working to achieve a healthier future society. SCOPH has managed to achieve these goals by working hand in hand with the other Standing Committees so that all together they represent the MMSA as one entity rather than a subdivided one. MMSA-Media contributed to the press releases and public relations, and this proved to be fruitful as we have seen an increase in the number of attendance by the public to our events, an enhancement to their knowledge about our association and their interest in our activities. We were invited to join national events such as the ‘Maltese dance’ for Kurt Calleja who this year represented Malta in the Eurovision Song contest, and Health Days organised in various localities such as Żebbuġ and St. Venera to name a few. A number of campaigns were repeated from last year.
First semester: Reach on the Beach 5th September 2011 World Heart Day 25th September 2011 World Mental Health day (in association with SCORP) 10th October 2011 TRD BP sessions 22nd October 2011 World Diabetes Training session 29th October 2011 World Diabetes Day 12th November 2011 Health Day at Żebbuġ 20th November 2011 MMSA on the Run 4th December 2011 Christmas Presents Campaign and Lottery 23rd December 2011
Second semester: Eating Disorders Campaign 24th February 2012 MMSA Healthfest 30th & 31st March 2012 Included in Healthfest: Blood donation & organ donation campaigns, Ergonomics campaign, Hand Washing campaign
Campaigns that run throughout the year: Teddy Bear Hospital (10 sessions carried out) FOOD campaign (3 session were done besides parent talks) E-posters: September – June First Aid campaign (in association with SCOME) A great number of people turned up at World Heart Day in Bisazza Street and it was such a
successful event that this venue was also considered for other campaigns. We had great media coverage for this, especially since the event was attended by Hon. Dr. Joe Cassar and the leader of the opposition party, Dr. Joseph Muscat. World Mental Health Day was given a boost this year. The coordinators worked hard to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health problems and have successfully increased awareness on depression, stress and similar conditions. SCORP was of great assistance in this campaign and we worked very well together to achieve the good results we ultimately had. In November, we repeated the World Diabetes Day training session since last year this proved to be helpful to the medical students in their preparation for World Diabetes Day. This year’s event was of particular importance since the MMSA was asked to collect the results of
blood glucose levels obtained during the day so as part of a nationwide study on the occurrence of diabetes in Malta, in association with the Ministry for Health, Elderly and Community Care of Malta and the Health Promotion Department. MMSA on the Run was a fun initiative taken by one of the MMSA members to gather those students interested in participating in the President’s Charity Fun Run in aid of ‘L-Istrina’ in December and in this way the MMSA also had the opportunity to donate money to charity. The Eating Disorders campaign was given a different twist this year. An outreach campaign was held on campus during the month of February. The coordinators then took it even a step further and contacted a local magazine, asking them to allow the MMSA to publish articles about the cause. This was suc-
cessful, with the first article appearing in June. This year we improved Teddy Bear Hospital by including a hand-washing demonstration and activity during our one hour and a half session with the children. This proved to be a lot of fun, and the children were eager to try out their hand-washing techniques. The Stroke Awareness campaign is a new campaign which was launched this year. We felt that this is a topic which is not often addressed in Malta. The first activity consisted of a conference entitled “Stroke Management; a multidisciplinary approach” for which we invited professionals from different areas of stroke management – including professionals from the fields of physiotherapy and speech therapy to give a brief description of their role in stroke management. Over 500 medical and healthcare students attended the event and
a lot of positive feedback was received. Each attendee then received an e-certificate. This activity was followed by a short talk and presentation on stroke, its risk factors and management in the square of ĦażŻebbuġ. The coordinators carried out a good job in explaining the presentation of onset and demonstrated the signs of stroke to the attendees. To strengthen the awareness that hypertension is a risk factor for stroke, free blood pressure monitoring tests were then carried out. I feel that this has been a very fruitful year for SCOPH and the MMSA as a whole. I would like to thank the MMSA EB 2011 – 2012 for the constant help and support, my assistant, and all the coordinators and MMSA members who worked continuously throughout the year to help to continue disseminating information about health to the Maltese population.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND PEACE OFFICER THEA DIMECH
Looking back on my term in the MMSA Executive Board ’11-’12 seems a little bit surreal now that it is over but any doubt that it existed is quickly wiped from my mind as several pictures of SCORP events serve as a reminder of how the hard work of many coordinators and EB members indeed paid off. We started the year with an improved Mental Health campaign which from a two day campaign was extrapolated into a successful all-year round campaign. Several talks on how to deal with stress and how to maintain mental health were delivered to students by profes-
sionals. Along with support from Mount Carmel Hospital, SCORP raised awareness on mental health issues during Mental Health Day, Human Rights Day and even Healthfest - all this while prompting open discussion about illness and prevention. In November SCORP launched the brand new, International Men’s Day Campaign which resulted in many laughs from our ‘I’m a Real-Man’ campaign participants who took part in a campaign to take a stand against domestic violence. Talks about men’s sexual health and fitness during training were provided to enhanc the campaign. Paralleling International Men’s Day Campaign in March, the MMSA SCORPians organised the ‘traditional’ International Women’s Day Campaign which aimed to shower the university in pink, pink and more pink! On this day we revisited the achievements of women throughout the years and attended sessions on breast care, how to deal with situations
of sexual harassment and the much asked-for sessions on pros and cons of plastic surgery! This year, along with other Standing Committees, SCORP was also proud to be part of a Children’s Day Event organised by the Commissioner for Children where the MMSA was one of seven organisations which made this fun-filled, activitypacked day possible for children. Utilising the opportunity to install the ideology of human rights from an early age, SCORP organised a hand-painting activity which resulted in many tiny hands being dipped into paint and printed against a white background in support of human rights. While aiming to increase awareness on human rights, SCORP never fails to recognise the importance of tackling global issues. Several campaigns are centred around or involve this. The Global Health Campaign cannot help but be mentioned when discussing global health is-
sues. This year the coordinators decided to focus it around children’s health, a topic specified in the Millenium Developmental Goals. These goals were developed to help end poverty and in line with these goals, the Global Health Campaign tackled issues such as education among child immigrants. SCORP’s Water Campaign this year managed to raise around €300 to be donated to SOSMalta, an organisation which works keenly to install water wells in countries where water is scarce, changing the life of hundreds of children who could then obtain water from their school instead of having to walk many miles for it. This fund-raising was conducted over three separate days during International World Water Day and the MMSA’s Healthfest. Working with the Ministry of Rural Affairs also allowed SCORP to promote their campaign carried out in schools. MMSA students visit primary schools in Malta and deliver ses-
sions on the importance of how we should conserve water in a friendly and fun way. SCORP will aim to continue strengthening its liaisons in this campaign in the hope that it may further achieve its target in raising awareness about conservation of water, promoting water as the healthiest beverage and fund-raising for water projects set in water scarce countries. This year SCORP was also part of the KSU subcommittee of Human Rights and Peace where in two separate events, human rights were promoted. During Human Rights in Christmas, muffins were sold to raise money for a good cause. This provided an opportunity for SCORP to work with and get to know other organisations such as WeAre and MUFC. For Human Rights Days on campus, a packed programme was set-up by several campus-based organisations including but not limited to, MPSA, MHSA, Y4TE, MUSC, MUFC, SFHL, BetaPsi, TSA, We Are, OFD, GĦSK, and Pulse. This subcommittee served as a platform for further strengthening relationships that the MMSA already had with other organisations. Indeed it was a pleasure to get to know some of
the contact people from other organisations, in the knowledge that we were united by one cause – to promote an agenda of human rights, whether it was gender equality, rights to health or children’s rights. Along with MMSA-SCOME, SCORP also helped organise Patient’s Rights and Safety Seminar, where medical students were provided with a three hour seminar on how to acquire better bedside manner and get better acquainted with patient’s rights. My term as NORP has indeed provided me with some of my fondest memories. Not only has it allowed me to make friends and acquaintances I would have not otherwise had, but it has allowed me to view the world from a slightly different perspective. Indeed, even though a success of a campaign always makes those who worked hard for it happy, it was often the small things which made the campaigns seem excellent. An SOSMalta representative explaining how hard it was to have access to clean water in her home country. The man who randomly gave all his change to the Water cam-
paign in Healthfest. Waking up at six in the morning trying to figure out for the fiftieth time how the MMSAtent will hold up, and walking around for eight hours with paint smudges on your elbows because the banner painting you tried to squeeze in between lectures was a little wilder then you’d hoped. Finally, leaving the best for last, I cannot help but thank all those who helped make this term a success - the excellent EB members, who even though, often hungry and tired, always listened to my SCORP agenda
points five hours into an EB meeting. Thank you also goes to all my coordinators, all of them. The ones who phoned late into the evening because they have tried so hard to make everything perfect and now the caterer won’t answer calls. The ones who spent all night painting banners and cutting up posters. The ones who, driven by motivation and pure dedication, made this term what it was, because the people behind the posters, the event report forms, the banners, the calls, the paperwork and the external meetings are definitely the tracks on which any good standing committee runs.
PEER EDUCATION AND TRAINING OFFICER MICHAEL SULLIVAN
The National Peer-Education and Training (NPET) Standing Committee of the MMSA has grown more and more each year with the result that, for the first year, NPET worked as a Standing Committee in its own right. The NPET Standing Committee is responsible for the nonformal education of our peers. This involves eliciting ideas and questions from these peers by initiating discussions, delivering talks, and holding seminars. The NPET Standing Committee is also responsible for maintaining the high standard of training among the MMSA members. The first part of the year involved putting a team together. The key to maintaining a high interest for peer-education (or peer-ed) was by maintaining our original, fascinating and helpful peer-ed programmes. These programmes revolve around current health issues. The programmes include substance abuse awareness, eating disorders, sexual health, tobacco smoking awareness and the newly revamped anti-bullying and human rights sessions. Other programmes introduced this year include basic emergency skills, which raises awareness on the importance of first aid training and general hygiene talks and demonstrations. Sessions took place at various youth groups and schools around Malta such as; San Anton School, St. Margaret Zejtun, Verdala International College, Lija youth group and also youth clubs and schools in Gozo, like Don Bosco. Peer-ed sessions are very satisfying for both the students delivering the session and the peers present. Organisation
and planning involved communicating with schools and youth groups and arranging dates for meetings, sessions or simply answering questions. Sessions started very early this year with sessions on healthy eating and general hygiene taking place in August 2011 at St. Joseph Summer School. Sessions continued throughout the year and ended with sessions about awareness on substance abuse and tobacco smoking taking place at Verdala International School Health Week in May. The MMSA peer-ed has a great reputation among those in the field of education and has become very popular among schools. The schools and youth groups were impressed throughout the year by the informative and fun sessions the MMSA peer-educators conducted. School teachers, councillors and youth group leaders always ask us to return for more peer-ed sessions. A project undertaken each year is the publication of the NPET peer-ed ebook. This is published by the MMSA at the beginning of the scholastic year and updated yearly. This e-book includes information on the several peer-ed programmes, including what is covered and how the topic is tackled (i.e. discussion, presentation, etc). The e-
book also includes information about the usefulness of peer-ed and how effective it can be at tackling certain topics with our peers. The reasons why peer-ed is effective and the methodologies used by the peer-educators are all included. Those interested can also find contact details of the different team members. This year the NPET e-book summed up all the information anyone interested needs to know about peer-ed, it is easy to read, with clear and concise information. At the start of my term, in July, I attended a conference on the European Action on Drugs (EAD) in Warsaw which was funded and organised by the European Commission. The conference was very interesting with particular focus on so called ‘legal’-highs. With all I had learnt at this conference I revamped the substance abuse awareness sessions, together with the coordinators. Sessions took place at schools and also throughout the week at the NSTF science week in April at Xrobb L-Għaġin Nature Reserve, Marsaxlokk. EAD ended this year and rounded off the campaign with an online competition, in which applicants had to describe what work they did under EAD throughout its course, entitled ‘EAD stories’. The MMSA participated with our EAD ‘story’ about substance abuse awareness through peer-
education. Another event organised by the NPET team related to substance abuse awareness was a seminar organised for medical students (peer-education). Speakers included police superintendent Norbert Ciappara, Professor Richard Muscat and Dr. Gorg Grech, who each gave very interesting and useful insight into substance abuse in their various lines of work and different aspects of substance abuse. A new type of peer-ed session introduced last year was also carried out this year. It is called peer-id and refers to including all or most of the programmes usually done separately and combining them to produce a mini health fair. Throughout the event peers are encouraged to visit our peer-educators at the various stations covering different topics. This year’s peer-id session was done in conjunction with the MMSA’s Standing Committee On Human Rights and Peace (SCORP) at the Centres for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Minors (AWAS); Dar is-Sliem (Sta Venera) and Dar Liedna (Fgura) in March. The contact persons were very happy with the sessions, as were the peers who learnt a lot from the experience. The training aspect of NPET involves conducting training sessions, which allow for the high
standard of trained MMSA members to be maintained. Training began at the Training New Trainers (TNT) weekend in October, which is officially accredited by IFMSA. The weekend was filled with many training sessions (covering various topics, like planning sessions, collecting feedback and team building) and was arduous and tiring but rewarding as 16 MMSA members
became fully fledged trainers, being able to plan and conduct their own training sessions in Malta and abroad. Trainers also give sessions at events organised by other SCs, such as the great MEDIK-T organised by SCOME. Training sessions on subjects like team development and presentations skills also took place at the Training and Resource Development (TRD) weekend in Octo-
ber, which gave First Year medical students a basic and solid foundation for future training sessions . The NPET weekend was this year shortened to two days and was jam packed with peer-education training sessions (given by TNT certified trainers). The 24 members who applied became trained in peer-ed and fully ca-
pable of conducting peer-ed sessions. This year peer-ed training also extended outside the MMSA. Peer-ed training sessions were conducted throughout the year for the Students For Healthy Living. The group found the training very useful to their organisation and future liaising, training and work together is in the pipeline.
MEDIA AND MARKETING OFFICER ELIZABETH GIALANZE’
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” - H.E. Luccock This was the quote on which I based my plan of action when I presented my candidature last year and it is with great satisfaction that I believe that Media has managed to take a leap this past year and expanded itself into a fully fledged team of creative individuals. This was accomplished by continuing upon the solid foundation the previous Media and Marketing Officer had built and extending it so that more students could contribute to this Standing Committee. The number of events and campaigns which the MMSA is organising or is involved in is increasing year after year and therefore so should the promotion associated with it. A marketing liaison team, which involved a media and marketing liaison officer in every Standing Committee, maintained a smooth coordination between MMSA Media and the other Standing Committees, thus ensuring that there is appropriate coverage and monitoring of design for every MMSA event. When mentioning marketing, one must not forget that this
Standing Committee also involves a marketing aspect: by managing the overview of sponsorship contracts together with the Finance and Fundraising team as well as the Corporate Identity we so often speak about within our organisation. MMSA Media also ensured an expansion of its digital platform, with constant updates of its Facebook page, Twitter account and website - the latter being continuously enhanced with the creation of several new tabs and pages. There was also an increase in the number of subscribers to our social network accounts, which included reach-
ing the ‘1000-likes’ goal on our Facebook page! At the start of the year, each Standing Committee head was encouraged to create a Standing Committee (SC) Facebook page so as to maintain conformity across SCs and share their events and updates throughout the term. There was also at least one share or status post per day, thus increasing the amount of times the name of our organisation appears in social network feeds - proving that we are indeed one of the most active student organisations on campus!
The Media calendar is made up of the promotional needs of each and every SC campaign, main ones being renowned events such as World Heart Day, World Diabetes Day, World AIDs Day and Global Health Campaign. Media mentions have been a peak of this year’s Media team, with the maximum number of mentions accomplished for Reach on the Beach and World Heart Day, rating a total of 9 published press releases each.
called ‘We Love Patch Adams!’ A group of 50 students got together to take a group photo in support of Patch Adams’ work. The MMSA was also represented by MMSA Media on the Media and Monitoring KPS (Kummissjoni Politika Soċjali) Subcommittee, where it contributed towards the organisation of three media handling workshops. The end of my term funnelled down to the design of the Annual Report together with my successor, to whom I wish the best of luck.
The publicity breakdown of a total of 16 large scale MMSA campaigns is as follows: - 87 published press releases - 2 appearances on Xarabank - 1 appearance on Ħadd Għalik - 3 other TVM appearances - 7 radio show attendances – such as RTK, VOS radio, Malta Llejla and Smash Radio - 14 magazine articles (including 7 DI-VE articles, the other 7 appearing in magazines such as Pink and A&H magazine). This brings it up to a total of 114 media mentions.. A great accomplishment for our organisation this year! The MMSA also witnessed an increased coverage, especially with the assigned posts of two main MMSA photographers. The Media team is also responsible for the proofreading and design of several publications, such as the annual Freshers’ Booklet, the NPET booklet, Murmur magazine and the Annual Report. This year MMSA Media took a step further and also produced the comic newsletter Sphygmo (after its two year absence).
One of this year’s aims for MMSA Media was to encourage students to make use of their potential to be creative. An agreement was formed between MMSA Media and an online newspaper which led to the publishing of articles written by medical students. These articles were aimed to not only continue increasing public health awareness, but also to encourage students to enhance their writing skills. Chosen topics were linked to MMSA campaigns, thus also increasing exposure for our organisation.
a digital archive of past Murmur publications and contacting alumni to forward their photos of past Executive Board terms.
This year an effort was also being made by the MMSA to expand its alumni database. MMSA Media contributed by setting up
An international collaboration also took place with the Health Leadership Summer School being organised in the Netherlands,
MMSA Media also sought to collaborate with other Standing Committees and external bodies, such as the organisation of a Healthfest logo competition in collaboration with SCOPH, the design of videos for SCOME and SCORA, as well as the publication of the internationally recognised publication - Minima Medicamenta together with SCOME.
Be it the design of T-shirts, business cards, taking photos, writing articles or shooting videos, I have enjoyed being such an integral part of this organisation and will continue giving it my full support. Being part of a student organisation is not only a sure way to keep you busy until the early hours of the morning, wondering why you are still awake preparing for a campaign instead of being snuggled under cosy quilt - but also guaranteed fun. It is what us Biology nerds used to call back in our days, ‘a symbiotic relationship’: You give a lot to the organisation, but in return the organisation bestows you with many skills too. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the rest of the Executive Board for a dedicated hardworking year and my Media team - with whom I enjoyed working with so closely. A big thanks goes to my assistant without whose patience and hard work, MMSA Media would not have accomplished half of what it has done.
LEISURE OFFICER RYAN GRECH
Since its foundation, the Malta Medical Students’ Association (MMSA) has always worked towards the best interest of the students, whether medical or otherwise. Thus it comes as no surprise that the leisure events organised by the MMSA Leisure are widely known and recognised as being amongst the best events throughout campus. The Leisure team plans each and every event down to the most intricate detail and ensures that the events maximise stress relief, are fun and also serve as a comfortable environment where everyone meets new people. The members of the Leisure team attest that it was a wonderful experience organising the events which are mentioned below. The first and most essential task, was to form this Leisure team. This team worked as one unit to organise all the events throughout the year, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them since without them, such events would not have been made possible. I can also say that this past year, 2011-2012, the Leisure standing committee had one of its best years yet. End of Exams Parties Lift Off: The Second Edition (24/06/2011): This event was a beach party held at the limits of Armier Bay, Malta. There was a very good turnout for the event with over 300 people attending. It was a free event with very cheap drinks at the bar. Two DJs
were present, Luke Zee and Mr. Bugelli.
End of Exams (10/02/2012): This event was held at the newly refurbished Places in Paceville. Again the entrance was free and DJs Stickman Gil and Monochrome played for the crowd. More than 350 people attendedthis event.
TRD Parties (21/10/2011 and 22/10/2011): The much renowned TRD themed costume parties are held during the MMSA TRD (Training and Resource Development) seminar where just like other Leisure
Summer Events The MMSA Boat Party (28/08/2011): This event was the first of its kind organised by the MMSA Leisure team. It was quite a successful event, with Stickman Gil, Mr. Bugelli, Monochroms, Luke Zee & D.A.P hitting the decks. The Hera II served as the venue, boarding was at 18:30 for a 6 hour event at a price of only 15€. End of Summer Party (28/09/2011): Like previous years, the traditional foam end of summer event which many students look forward to was held. This event is an excellent opportunity for the new first year medical students to get to know older students. The foam party was held at Fuego, Qawra and had a turnout of over 300 people.
events, both medical and nonmedical students from all years are invited. These attend with gusto, wearing the most creative of costumes according to the respective theme of the night. The first TRD Party ‘Time Machine’ was held at Fuego, Qawra and had a great attendance of over 450 people. The second party
was held at Amazonia, Bugibba, this time round the theme being ‘Anything But Clothes’, and with a wonderful turnout of over 550 people. Christmas Events The MMSA Christmas Party (20/12/2011): This was one of the most successful events organised by the MMSA to date. MMSA Leisure liaised with MPSA, BetaPsi & SACES and took the lead in organising this event at the newly refurbished Spin Club in Paceville. Entrance was against a fee of €5 however in return the attendees were given freebies, were presented amazing bar offers and high quality cutting edge music delivered by renowned DJs including the likes of Matt & Nate, Luke Funk & Squeak! The attendance for this event was that of over 550 individuals.
The MMSA Ballu This is the most highly anticipated event organised by the MMSA Leisure team. Yet again,
this year’s MMSA Leisure team exceeded all expectations organising what is being termed by several people as the best Ballu to-date. MMSA’s ‘Ballo Dei Cavalieri’ was organised at Renaissance, Montekristo Estates. The recorded attendance was that of over 850 people making it the biggest MMSA Ball thus far with, guests including both university and non-university students, as well as graduates. Doors opened at 9:00pm, and the event ended at 3:00am with transport being included in the ticket price. This cost also included finger food, a full open bar and amazing entertainment from the upcoming talented Bridget Bone, a fire show, groovy tunes by Luke Funk and Luc Adams, and much more. Other Events The MMSA Car Treasure Hunt (04/12/2011): This year’s Leisure
team re-introduced the MMSA Car Treasure Hunt into its events calendar making it as fresh and as innovative as possible. This was a huge success and will likely be an annual recurrence in
MMSA Leisure’s calendar. Fourteen teams participated against an admission fee of €20 per car. It was divided into five sections, namely: photos, videos, scavenger hunt, riddles and costumes. My term consisted of a number of successful events, the last one being the MMSA Ball. I would like to, once again, thank my leisure team for helping me in this wonderful experience and I am happy to say that it was maybe one of the most successful Leisure terms in MMSA history.
where last year’s Lift Off! took place. I sought a variety of ideas from different people, most of whom are highly experienced when it comes to organising parties. I also attempted to seek sponsorship contacting a number of companies. The promotion of the party was not taken lightly and the event was greatly shared via social networks. A Facebook photo competition was organised in order to further promote Lift Off! Participants were invited to send a photo of themselves as victims of their study crisis and the top two voted entries would then win prizes.
Due to the fact that I was elected as a member of the Culture and Entertainment Office in KSU in March 2012, I resigned from the post of Leisure Officer in The first part of Lift Off! was mid-May giving a proper hando- hosted at Amazonia’s pool area ver to my successor Julian Agius (Amazonia Terrace), after which who immediately kicked off with the party shifted indoors. A happreparations for the MMSA’s py hour was also organised, with first summer party: Lift Off! a ‘buy one get one free’ offer. Ryan Grech To continue ensuring safety for those attending the MMSALeisure parties, the services of a The third edition of the MMSA’s lifeguard and first aid team were Lift Off! was held at Amazonia, hired and transport was also Bugibba. The new Leisure team provided after the party. – which I immediately formed Approximately 400 people atafter my appointment as Leisure tended the event, which was Officer for the remaining 2011- completely free of charge. 2012 Leisure (and who would then continue helping me in the Julian Agius 2012-2013 term) – opted for a different venue than the beach
ELECTIVES COORDINATOR JESSICA BURR GALEA
The electives programme is run in association with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta. The main representatives are Mr.Daniel Colombo and Ms Anna Carabott. The electives programme works hand in hand with them at every step of the application process, whereby the electives office are the first point of contact. Applications are received via postal service, processed and each student is attached to a consultant and speciality of their choice. Medical School is then responsible for further liaison with the prospective student as regards their health forms and official acceptance notices. A medical elective is a period of approximately one or two months placement in one of our local hospitals. These may be held at Mater Dei Hospital, Sir Paul Boffa Hospital or St.Vincent de Paul Residence. The elective is intended to introduce students to medical practices beyond their training experience, to be part of a different community and to enjoy some of the excitement of foreign travel, after many months of demanding study and examinations. We receive on average 10-20 students arriving every month, however during the peak season June-September we may have up to 40-50 students. The students arrive from various countries including the UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and South America. We provide them with accomodation, ensure they have transport from the
airport and set up their clinical placement with a consultant in the speciality of their choice. Our hospital offers them many specialities including General Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cardiology, Accident and Emergency, Dermatology, Geriatrics and many others. However, these are subject to availability and on a first come first served basis. Students are advised to apply well in advance in order to avoid disappointment. A minimum of two months is necessary to process and accept an application. Local medical students may also get involved if they wish to help out with our foreign elective students. Duties may include pick-ups from the
airport or offering support to students and at the same time having the opportunity to meet foreign medical students. During the Executive Board (EB) term 2011-2012 the electives office accepted a total 167 students and a further 100 applications were processed for the EB term 2012-2013. Students were very satisfied with their experience in Malta, especially with the high standard of education at Mater Dei Hospital. They were able to shadow their consultant by joining in the daily ward rounds, outpatients and surgical procedures. The medical elective is officially an observatory
experience, however with approval from their consultant and patient they are able to take histories and examinations. As with regards to cancellations this term there was a significant decrease totaling 45 students. The reasons for these cancellations were also sought in order to obtain feedback and improve our service. However, the reasons were mainly monetary, personal family matters and obtaining a visa. These issues are beyond the control of the electives coordinator and unfortunately inevitable. The electives office does its utmost to be available to students should any matters arise or if they require our assistance. Out of the 167 students, 109
opted to use the MMSA accommodation while 58 had organised their own. The accommodation which the MMSA offered during the EB term included “Formes” Sliema which could accommodate twelve students. In addition, “St.Patrick’s Court” Msida which could accommodate four students. The students were able to select which accommodation they preferred, subject to availability. When we were overbooked, students were booked into the “University of Malta Residence” Lija. Accommodation facilities include wireless internet, bed linen, fans, washing machine and all the necessary basic amenities are included in the fee. The electives programme is a major source of income for the Malta Medical Student Association. The fees include an application fee of €75 which is paid once. An administrative fee of €69.88 paid for every week spent at Mater Dei hospital. The accomodation rate during peak season from 1st June until 30th September is €17/day. While from 1st October until 31st May it is €12/day. The funds brought
elective students. He assumed the official post from 1st July 2012 together with his assistant. Future suggestions discussed together with the new electives coordinator included promoting the electives programme during the winter months, by possibly handing out leaflets promoting our programme at the summer
in by electives are utilised by other Organising Commitees within the MMSA to aid in funding many of the outreaches. The main achievements this term included compiling a new consultant’s database which is now updated and more userfriendly both for the electives and exchange office to access. This has allowed the coordinators to work in a more effective manner and ultimately offer a better service for prospective students. The student database has also been updated and is now more accessible and organised making allocation of students less time-consuming and more efficient.
From early 2012, my successor joined the electives team, assisting me with duties such as collecting the post, processing applications and answering emails. The handover began from April 2012 whereby he was trained on how to organise himself and offer the best service possible to prospective medical
GA. The winter months usually have a low number of incoming students, so we are attempting to increase these numbers. All in all, I am pleased to say it has been a very prosperous term with the influx of medical elective students steadily increasing with each EB term.
SUPERVISING COUNCIL JACOB VELLA SANDRA ZAMMIT
First and foremost we would like to thank all the people who assisted us in our contribution as members of the Supervising Council during the council’s first year of term within the organisation structure of the MMSA. We must also thank those who helped us prior to our appointment since this was postponed from beginning of July to midOctober. All this happened due to a simple punctuation error in a bylaw which lead to its misinterpretation among some of the Executive Board (EB) members. This matter was then resolved and it was agreed that such interpretation went against the spirit of the bylaw, which was checked with the proposer of the same clause during the last MMSA General Meeting. A call for appointment of the three Supervising Council (Sup Co) members was issued and seven candidates applied for the posts. We, the undersigned, were appointed, together with Alison Psaila (who resigned in February for personal reasons), by the EB members as per the MMSA statute (stating that the MMSA General Assembly should appoint the Supervising Council under normal circumstances, that is, during the Annual General Meeting) and we immediately enacted the following measures to ensure teamwork between its members and with the EB. We asked for an official MMSA domain mailbox – supco@mmsa. org.mt – which is accessed by all Council members. All official correspondence was always delivered after consultation with
all three members, mainly using an editable online document (nicknamed Procès Verbal). Email correspondence was forwarded to the Council members’ personal email inboxes for quicker visibility by all members. This provided for a swifter feedback to the correspondents following discussion among the Council members. This basic framework helped in effectively tackling the duties of the Supervising Council: overseeing the actions and decisions made by the EB, being an active resource body to assist and advise the EB where necessary and to handle enquiries from the MMSA members which the Council would investigate and take action accordingly. The Council was to supervise the EB by reading through its meeting minutes which were to be sent to the Council at the latest three weeks after a meeting is held. We felt that this was not enough to ensure proper supervision, and most importantly, to give timely suggestions before the actual taking of decisions. After a series of meetings with the EB, it was agreed that a Sup Co member (by rotation) was to attend each EB meeting as an observer. The Sup Co official MMSA domain was also added to the EB Google group. Again, any correspondence on behalf of Sup Co was only given once all Sup Co members agreed on it. The Council also revised a posteriori, the EB meeting minutes and the annual budget which were compiled before its appointment. We felt that this was the way forward (although looking backwards) to make sure that Sup Co gives its utmost to the EB and MMSA members. Another task of the Council was to review the quarterly financial reports. Other relevant work included the monitoring of the MMSA website to ensure updated content such as minutes, statute and bylaws, the review of previous EB Google group
posts and the EB meeting agenda prior to the actual meeting. The Council also decided to issue a quarterly report in order to ensure transparency of its work. The reports give an insight of the works of the Sup Co and its validity within the MMSA administrative structure. The report was circulated via the MMSA news and also made available on the MMSA website members’ area. We also wanted to make ourselves accessible via all available means to the whole medical student body as a feedback unit. Our official MMSA email address was promoted via MMSA news and we also offered members to send us anonymous feedback by addressing a letter to us and send it to the MMSA official address at the Medical School. We also sent the statute and bylaws to all members and pro-
moted the idea that ideally everyone should be a de facto Sup Co member by both seeing that the EB members one elected are doing their work appropriately and to give feedback and advice to the same EB members. All the MMSA members are also given the right to attend any EB meeting as observers. Surely, the peak of member empowerment efforts and Sup Co intervention was reached when the Sup Co suggested the holding of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM). The reason was that the Council identified numerous shortcomings in the MMSA structure, statute and bylaws. It also wished that the members took a more active role in decision-making at the highest authority of the Association – the General Assembly. We felt that one annual meeting was not enough to cater for the
potential of change present at that point in time. The EGM was a success and our proposals lead to the legitimate reinstatement of the MMSA National Electives Coordinator as member of the Executive Board, the diminution of the number of Executive Board members by moving ex-ufficio posts to the Vice President
office, clearer definition of the roles of the Supervising Council in bylaws, the promotion of inclusion of all the MMSA members, particularly for external opportunities, improvement of liaison and collaboration with local organisations, rather than just international ones and finally, removal of unnecessary and
redundant by-laws which lead to continuous misinterpretation. This was achieved through over 38 amendments which were approved by the General Assembly. Overall we can confidently say that this was a very positive learning experience for us.
We are proud that we have reciprocated the trust given to us by the EB and members by substantially contributing to the prosperity of the Association. Finally we wish the newly elected EB and Sup Co members a pleasant journey ahead.
THE MMSA EXECUTIVE BOARD 2011/2012