IFMSA Membership on Horizon for St. George’s University

St. George’s University is now a candidate member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).  IFMSA represents more than one million medical students from over 100 countries, and as an international, independent federation of medical students has numerous benefits to its members and member countries.

IFMSA recognition is significant, particularly for an institution like St. George’s University, whose academic and social foundation is rooted in global health care awareness and education. Through partnerships with external organizations that include the World Health Organization (WHO) and  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  , IFMSA has established a myriad of opportunities for its members to learn, share and contribute to the eradication of public health problems that we, as a global community, face each day.

The IFMSA candidate qualification process must not be underestimated, as witnessed first hand by St. George’s University medical student Alex Drossos.  As a Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP) student from Canada, Alex was all too familiar with the requirements from IFMSA, as he, along with fellow KBTGSP student Morgan Rice were integral in establishing the KBTGSP as one of the newest members of Medsin, the UK branch of IFMSA. As part of the KBTGSP, accepted students spend the first year of SGU’s basic sciences program as well as the Northumbria University’s DipHE in biomedical sciences in Newcastle, United Kingdom.

Alex presented Grenada as a candidate to the IFMSA Executive Board at its General Assembly in Tunisia last March.  He is grateful to St. George’s University’s Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development, for his support and encouragement throughout this rewarding endeavor.

One of the many benefits to IFMSA membership, explained Alex, occurs through Standing Committee on Professional Exchange (SCOPE), the largest and arguably most innovative project within IFMSA. SCOPE brings together medical students from across the globe through international clerkships and exchanges with opportunities in research, clinical and clinical sub-specialties.  This arm of IFMSA is expanding, and now initiates more than 8000 student exchanges per year in 85 participating countries.  This professional exchange opportunity builds on the necessary organization skills, leadership qualities and teamwork approach so essential to present day medical practice.

IFMSA member countries are also invited to participate in collaborative symposiums which focus on many issues related to Global Health including: the implementation of international standards for medical education; prevention of nuclear war; overpopulation; pollution; and primary health care.  In fact, in March 2008, 50 KBTGSP students attended the Medsin Global Health Conference at Oxford University.  This was a wonderful opportunity to join nearly 500 UK-based medical students at a high profile event which featured world renowned global health experts.

IFMSA encourages its medical students to take an active part in preventing and making policies concerning public health.  This is a philosophy that mirrors that of St. George’s University, as its students are driven by a strong will and responsibility to improve health care both on a local level throughout Grenada and on a global scale.

It is Alex’s hope that IFMSA membership will serve to empower the St. George’s University student body as a whole, encouraging further collaborations within its individual schools and Graduate Studies Program.

Alex is planning to pursue a career in Adolescent Psychiatry and hopes to spend some time abroad assisting children in developing countries.  He began the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program in 2007, joined by his wife and fellow Canadian Kara Schnarr, who is also a student in the Program..

Founded in 1951, IFMSA was established as an independent, non-governmental and non-political federation of medical students’ associations throughout the world.