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  • AMSA Delegation in Mumbai, India

    Namaste from Mumbai, India!

    The AMSA-USA delegation spent this past week at the IFMSA India AM 2012 meeting, fighting off Delhi belly, and promoting our upcoming March meeting (March 9-15) and AMSA National Convention (March 14-17).

    This being my first GA, it was eye opening to learn from such varied perspectives medical students have in different regions of the world. While pointing out major differences in medical education and practice worldwide, the presentations and conversations I had with fellow delegates moreso proved that our experiences as physicians in training are very similar. from frustrations with preclinical years to wanting improvements in community health, patient safety, and health policy, IFMSA provides a collective ground for a worldwide student voice to be heard and help us improve our training.

    AMSA USA came out strong with a presentation and update of MM2013, which everyone in the plenary session was very tangibly excited about:



    We were successful in passing two significant policy statements, one on road safety, and a highly debated measure to improve conflict of interest policies for funding of future IFMSA meetings. Thanks to AMSA, all delegations will now be notified if meetings are receiving pharma funding, in advance, so there can be open discussion - a huge win!

    The research and clinical exchanges taking place at the contract fair are a tangible representation of the incredible networking, experiential, and ideological interchanges that occur through IFMSA

    I presented the Medical Humanities Scholars Program at one of the Standing Committee on Medical Education (SCOME) project sessions, and was thrilled to hear that a liberal arts and humanities perspective on medical education is indeed a global need. The quality and quantity of such experiences in medical universities worldwide range from some to none at all, but students' desire to integrate well rounded topics into their education is clear. I am excited to work with other delegations for humanities curricular reform!

    We collectively learned so much from AM 2012, and will surely bring this experience to bear in planning MM 2013.
    Get excited, AMSA!!
     
    If you thought AMSA's Annual Convention alone was an incredible networking, friendship-making, and exciting educational experience, you ain't seen a GA yet! Be sure to save the dates for March 9-17, and register early! This will be the chance of a lifetime to experience the world literally in your backyard, no visa required!




    Big thanks to SG Dan Rhee, VPIA Nida Degesys, President Liz Wiley for their incredible work at plenaries, to the MM 2013 OC (Jerry Abraham, Kyle Swinsky, Samy Bendjamil, Krithi Srinivasan) for their huge planning effort and enthusiasm, to our NEO And NORE Sarah Kleinfeld and Jim Curry for their work on exchanges, to Action Committee leaders Heather Fenley and Lexi Light for support and programming ideas, and to my fellow Health Equity fellow, Drew Lee, for being a great counterpart in our ongoing work to apply our roles in the AMSA office to OC programming and logistics.

    Here's to truly global health and leadership,
    Aliye Runyan
    Education and Research fellow

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  • GA Day 5: New Exchange Database, Saying Goodbye, and Looking forward to MM2013

    Sarah Kleinfeld
    National Exchange Officer (NEO)
    American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
    International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA)


    My last SCOPE session was an exciting one, because Marianne, our current SCOPE director, introduced all of the NEOs to the new exchange database! Our database, where students fill out their applications and upload required documents, is how we keep track of our exchanges. It is old and outdated, and getting a new one has been something that has been in the works for a long time. The new database should be launched this fall, in conjunction with the revamping of IFMSA’s own website. We will be using it on a trial basis for the next month, working though glitches and suggesting any improvements that we want made. I was excited to see what the format would like and I’m happy to say it’s much better than what we currently have — I think it will be much more user friendly for our students and local exchange officers, and I can’t wait for them to be able to use it this fall!

    Although the GA is running through tomorrow. yesterday was my last full day in Mumbai. I am sad to be leaving all my AMSA and IFMSA friends but definitely ready to be home and sleeping in my own bed again! Most importantly, attending this GA gave me a much needed energy boost – after being a NEO for 1 1/2 years, I am leaving Mumbai with so many great ideas and improvements for the upcoming exchange season. It reminded how much I love being a part of IFMSA and SCOPE and how sad I’m going to be when my term ends this spring.

    Finally, it wasn’t until I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight back to the states that I realized how quickly March Meeting 2013 is approaching — it is the next time that all of IFMSA will come together, and I’m so honored that AMSA will be hosting what could potentially be the largest gathering of medical students ever. I’m proud of the OC team for all of their hardwork thus far, and I can’t wait to show off Washington, DC and AMSA to all of the international medical students that will be attending!

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  • GA Day 4: Contract Fair!

    Sarah Kleinfeld
    National Exchange Officer (NEO)
    American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
    International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA)

    As the NEO, the most important part of any August GA for me is the contract fair. This is where the NEO and National Officer for Research Exchanges (NORE) sign contracts with other countries for the upcoming exchange season – April 2013-March 2014. Each country sets up a table and chaos ensues — other delegates come to check out the proceedings and man their country’s table as NEOs and NOREs frantically run around to sign contracts It’s a fun but hectic two hours for everyone involved. In addition, most tables give out promotional materials related to their country including pins, flags, and stickers. Sometimes students even wear clothes representative of their culutre – my favorite this year was the Japanese kimonos!

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  • GA Day 3: More SCOPE and Plenaries

    Sarah Kleinfeld
    National Exchange Officer (NEO)
    American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
    International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA)

    Day 3 was a busy day as well — it kicked off in the morning with another SCOPE session, regional meetings and trainings in the afternoon, followed by plenary in the evening.

    Plenary is IFMSA’s version of AMSA’s House of Delegates. Each national member organization (NMO) is represented in plenary by their organization’s president or head of delegation. It’s really cool when you first experience it, because many times countries hang their flags on their table, giving it the feel of a medical student’s version of model UN. During roll call, its fun to hear all of the different countries represented, and many times students sitting in the back of the hall will do a country specific cheer when their country is called. Basically, all of IFMSA’s official business is conducted through plenaries, which are held each evening – bylaws are passed or suspended, reports and projects are approved, and candidates for IFMSA offices present their candidatures and are elected.

    Some of the highlights from plenaries throughout the past few days include: presentation of an update on the status of March Meeting 2013, which is being hosted by AMSA in Washington, DC, Chile’s presentation of their candidature to host next year’s August Meeting, and, for me, the election of next year’s SCOPE director (one of the many IFMSA positions voted on). Marianne Koch (Austria), this year’s SCOPE Director has done amazing job, and I will be sad to see her go. I’m very excited for our new SCOPE Director-elect, David Arku (Ghana) — he was last year’s regional coordinator for Africa, and he has done a great job building up the exchange programs there! I’ve included a pic of plenaries below – enjoy!

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  • Arriving in Mumbai

    Sarah Kleinfeld
    National Exchange Officer (NEO)
    American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
    International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA)

    IFMSA’s 62nd General Assembly kicked off for me when I arrived in Mumbai on Thursday night. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the hotel until after the Opening Ceremonies ended. The first night was spent mostly getting settled into the hotel and trying to catch up on some sleep — I was coming off of 20+ hours in airports/planes!

    Day 2 started early Friday with an AMSA delegation meeting at breakfast. There were 13 AMSA representatives there, including members of the BOT, AMSA Fellows, MM2013 Organizing Committee members, AMSA Action Committee members, and members of the IFMSA Advisory Council (which includes my role as a NEO).

    The rest of my day was taken up with the first SCOPE session of the GA. For those of you who don’t know, IFMSA is composed of six standing committees. The two that deal with exchange are: the Standing Committee on Professional (Clinical) Exchanges – SCOPE and the Standing Committee on Research Exchages – SCORE. SCOPE is composed of an international director, 5 regional coordinators, several other support positions for things like marketing and academic quality, and then all of the national exchange officers (NEOs) from the participating countries. We started out first with some energizers to get to know everyone; I had met a few of the other NEOs there at the GA last August in Copenhagen, but many were new. It was great to meet in person a lot of the people that Carrie and I have been emailing!!! The rest of the session was taken up with discussions regarding a policy statement our SCOPE director proposed, some bylaw changes, and general updates.

    It was a long day, but I did have some free time in the afternoon to venture out of the hotel and explore a little bit of the nearby area with one of the other AMSA delegates. It was a local holiday, and there was a celebration going which included a group of men creating a human pyramid!



    (that's me on the right!)

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