The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) was founded in 1951 as an organization of medical students, for medical students and by medical students. For more than 60 years, the Federation has not only been a dynamic platform of opportunities for the future physicians but has also served as their voice at the international level. As an international organization, IFMSA is also known by its translations. Recognized translations of this name are “Fédération Internationale des Associations des Étudiants en Médecine”, “Federación Internacional de Asociaciones de Estudiantes de Medicina” and ” الدولي لجمعیات طلبة الطبالإتحاد“.
IFMSA is the world’s oldest and largest independent organization representing associations of medical students internationally. It currently maintains 133 National Member Organizations from more than 123 countries and areas with over one million students represented worldwide. IFMSA is recognized as a non-governmental organization within the United Nations system and the World Health Organization, and also works with the World Medical Association.
IFMSA experience shows students that they are not merely passive subjects in a rapidly globalizing world but rather valuable individuals with a potentially powerful role to play in global health. IFMSA hence offers medical students a taste of the real and pressing health issues worldwide, and help them learn that their idealistic goals can be achieved with readily attainable knowledge and commitment.
In IFMSA, the emphasis is placed on students returning to their local environments with new ideas and the skills to implement them. As the doctors of tomorrow and future leaders of health, we feel confident that our students will carry this spirit with them throughout their professional lives so that they positively impact the communities they serve.
IFMSA Programs are centralized streams of activities, which are organized by IFMSA National Member Organizations (NMOs) and IFMSA internationally. IFMSA Programs address problems within a specific field that we as medical students and global health advocates stand up for while connecting local, national and international activities and opportunities that contribute to the final outcome.
All IFMSA Programs connect the work of NMOs locally and nationally with the IFMSA vision and mission. NMOs decide which programs are to be adopted by IFMSA by voting on the Programs proposed by the Executive Board during the General Assembly. Programs are led by Program Coordinators and supervised by the IFMSA Standing Committee Directors and Executive Board to ensure their quality of implementation, consistency and sustainability of the programs. It is important to note that one of the major aspects of IFMSA Programs is to ensure a way to measure the impact of IFMSA and its NMOs on the societies we serve.
All NMOs and members of NMOs locally and nationally are encouraged to join an IFMSA Program by enrolling their activities, whether that be projects, campaigns, celebrations, workshops, events, trainings or theme-based publications. These activities are coordinated by Activity Coordinators locally, nationally or internationally with the help and support from Program Coordinator and the relevant Standing Committee Director. Internally, these activities do not need to be just projects, campaigns, events, etc. but different research and capacity building activities as well as organized advocacy efforts on local, national and international level.
IFMSA Programs encompass mutual efforts of the IFMSA Team of Officials, Program Coordinators and National Member Organizations (NMOs) in addressing different global health issues, including medical education through a wide range of activities related to capacity building, research and advocacy.
IFMSA Programs are strongly linked with the work of the IFMSA Standing Committees and other capacity building streams in IFMSA ensuring that Programs receive the needed support in terms of scientific background and basic studies. Having a centralized stream of work in each field allows the Federation to monitor and evaluate the impact of mutual efforts of all NMOs towards solving emerging global health issues.
IFMSA Programs also serve as a network between NMOs activities including them on a bigger picture corresponding to the role of IFMSA as a network of NMOs. With the IFMSA Impact Report, IFMSA showcases its position within the global society as a Federation by proving a needs assessment for other organizations working in a similar field, while increasing the organizational credibility.