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  • Thinking About Going Abroad?

    The weather outside might still be frightful, but there are many upcoming opportunities that are delightful! Summer will be here before we know it and it is time for you to start thinking about how you will spend your time. If you are thinking about spending time abroad, read on.

    You may be asking yourself, with so many programs offering similar things, which program should I choose? Several factors can help you decide which program to select. The most important factor to consider is personal safety. Research the political situation of the country you are interested. Check out for a listing of countries that are on the State's Department Warning List. 

    Housing is another important factor to consider. Some programs have host families or dorms that house participants, while others offer no accommodation.

    Cost is always relevant. You may want to ask the program what is included in any fees. For example, do they provide transportation within the country, or does the student have financial responsibility for all transportation? Do the programs organize excursions, and how much extra might they cost? On occasion, they may even provide cellular phones.

    Finally, assess your objectives. Is language acquisition or strengthening a ...

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  • Vote NO on Fast Track

    This moment could not be more important. Our years of work against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are boiling down to this moment.

    Hours ago, U.S. Representative Dave Camp and Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill for Congress to grant President Barack Obama Fast Track trade authority. If Congress approves this bill, it will give away its constitutional authority to protect us from the numerous threats posed by the TPP.  

    Write now and demand that your representative commit to you in writing to vote “no” on Fast Track.

    If the Fast Track bill passes, the TPP could be signed before Congress votes on it. Then the deal could be rushed through Congress with no amendments and limited debate. Fast Track trade authority is how Clinton and Bush passed the WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA and other disastrous “trade” deals.

    The TPP would empower foreign corporations to sue governments in international tribunals if a country implements environmental, public health or other public interests policies that undermine corporations’ “expected future profits.” It would create new incentives to offshore more American jobs.

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  • How a Free Trade Agreement Threatens Your Health and the Health of the People You Care About

    Reshma Ramachandran and David Carroll warn that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will trample over access to affordable medicines. They drafted this article for PLOS:

    Last month, Wikileaks posted the complete Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter of the secretly-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) confirming public health advocates’ worst fears of the agreement’s impact on patients worldwide. The TPP is the largest free trade agreement to date between the United States and 11 other countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam) comprising over 40 percent of global GDP. This landmark agreement is expected to “set the standard for 21st century trade agreements going forward.” While free trade agreements are designed to lower barriers for the importation and exportation of goods between countries and strengthen the global economy through mechanisms such as lowered tariffs, the TPP goes far beyond past traditional trade regulations with the inclusion of over 20 chapters on a variety of non-trade related issues including domestic food safety, health, labor, environmental policies. Two of these chapters on investment and intellectual property will have far reaching consequences on the public health of populations worldwide. The TPP has been shrouded in secrecy, ...

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  • ‘Be the Generation’: Medical Students Fight to End AIDS, TB, and Malaria

    In the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day (December 1) and the fourth replenishment conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (December 3), medical students have been advocating for the U.S. to make bold investments in fighting these three diseases.

    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is the main multilateral funder in global health. It successfully channels 82% of the financing to fight TB, 50% of financing to combat malaria, and 21% of financing for HIV/AIDS. On December 3rd, 2013 in Washington, DC, world leaders will make new commitments to replenish the Global Fund. These pledges will determine the amount of funding that will be available to fight AIDS, TB and malaria globally between 2014-2106.

    Last week, a group of students from Harvard Medical School held meetings with staff members of Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). They asked the Senators to urge President Obama to make a $5 billion pledge to the Global Fund over the next three years. Just a few weeks earlier, students from Michigan State University had a meeting with staffers of Representative Benishek (R-MI) to discuss the Global Fund and ask Rep. Benishek to sign ...

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  • Healthcare issues across the globe: Part II

    By Aliye Runyan, MD
    AMSA Education and Research Fellow


    The conversation surrounding professionalism was fascinating and brought to light a huge unmet need in global medical education. The speaker from the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) spoke about tenets of professionalism: social accountability of the physician, training to take into account needs of the changing face of medicine, adaptability, training students to understand their global responsibility, and of the need for role models for students. Another speaker pointed out threats to professionalism, including commercialization of medicine, the role of pharmaceutical companies and industry, the deteriorating doctor-patient relationship, and that there are MANY medical schools with no formal curriculum on ethics and professionalism. She described attempts at some formalization, but also brought to light the issue that a lot of professionalism standards are from a Western cultural mindset, and do not take into account vastly different cultural standards from Latin America to India (two of the examples she used). She stressed that professionalism attributes must be integrated throughout medical school curricula and not just taught as a standalone course (as many in the US are).

    This brought to mind incredible potential for the IFMSA pre-departure training for clinical exchanges ...

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