Why exchange programs are essential for the medical students of the 21st century

ifmsa-globe-2016

(IFMSA, 2016)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Amro Aglan. The writer is a final year medical student from Egypt.  Mr Aglan is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).

Can going on an exchange program prepare medical students for tomorrow’s health challenges? Is it really worth it to explore health systems in  different cultural and social settings? Is it necessary to learn more about Global Health challenges while studying medicine?

There is no doubt that society in general is becoming increasingly globalized, and this is seen through increased international travel, as well as increasing globalization of multiple sectors ranging from food supply to commerce. Together with the prevalence of multinational epidemics such as the 2009 Influenza epidemic, and more recently the MERS, Ebola, and Zika virus outbreaks show an increased importance of global health knowledge and need to tie together economy, culture, politics, human rights, and law, using the lens of how they impact health.

Accordingly, there has been a large movement from the 20th century when medical education was reviewed as the delivery of medical and scientific knowledge to students, towards a much more comprehensive global model in the 21st century. It is now evident that medical students’ ability to become competent and compassionate physicians is rooted in how they understand the causes of illness, and how this affects the needs of their patients.

Nowadays, Medical students are increasingly aware of the relevance of global health education and there is a strong interest in global health career pathways, with a recent American study showing that close to 70% of medical students were very interested in serving in a global medical environment later in their career. [1] However, despite the demand and interest in the topic, there is a lack of consistency on an international level, and a lack of consensus on what constitutes adequate global health education for medical students. According to a recent cross-sectional study conducted in three IFMSA international general assemblies, only 14% of medical students thought they had received sufficient teaching on global health. [2]

Noting the importance of global health related skillsets to future medical professionals and the severity and extensive impact of these global health issues, the next question that follows is: What are the possible opportunities to learn about global health? Actually there are different opportunities including summer schools, online courses, research opportunities, and last but not least, overseas clinical training such as electives, observerships or other exchange programs.

Going on an exchange program in a different country can be a unique global health experience as it allows you to observe environmental factors that can affect the health of the community: safe water and clean air, healthy workplaces, safe houses, communities and roads, transportation options, employment and working conditions.
It gives you the opportunity to observe the health care systems in the country: do people in the country have access to health care services? How are health care services distributed to them? This can be done through visiting different hospitals and health institutions and comparing public and private healthcare quality. In addition, interviewing health professionals to get their opinions regarding health inequities and to see their level of involvement in the health community in addressing this challenge can also be very useful.

You can join different public health conferences and activities in order to get involved in the major public health challenges of the community. In addition, visiting different schools can help you understand how education levels are affecting the health of a population.

In conclusion, going on an exchange program abroad can be one of the best opportunities to learn about global health while studying medicine. It helps you compare health systems in different countries and get inspired to take action, It helps you get equipped with necessary skills and proper knowledge needed for future health challenges, it helps you think outside the box, adapt easily to a new environment and prepare yourself for new situations.

References:
(1)    Liebe S, Elliott A and M Bien. “Student Interest and Knowledge Concerning Global Health Electives: A USD Sanford School of Medicine Study.” Scholarship Pathways Program Research. University of South Dakota, 2011.

(2) Anya Göpfert, Hussein Mohamedbhai, Josko Mise, Anne Driessen, Ambreen Shakil, Ann Fitzmaurice and Wendy Graham. “DO MEDICAL STUDENTS WANT TO LEARN ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH?”

About the author

Amro Aglan is a final year medical student from Egypt, He has been involved in International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) Exchange programs during the last 4 years and last year he was appointed as International General Assistant for IFMSA Professional Exchanges. He is currently the president of IFMSA-Egypt and intern at WHO Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social determinants.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Berlin Calling: DCX Expo on track to grow, in association with The European Sting

Why private capital is the key to unlocking carbon capture at scale

How AI can accelerate the search for treatments for emerging and intractable diseases

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cows, coffee and sustainable farming

A ‘system value’ approach can accelerate the energy transition. Here’s how

On International Day, UN stands in solidarity with some 20 detained staff

CO2 emissions on the rise for first time in four years, UN agency warns

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions stall growth in Latin America and Caribbean region, UN says

India’s economy is an ‘elephant that is starting to run’, according to the IMF

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

A Sting Exclusive: Paris Climate Change Summit, a defining moment for humanity, by Ulf Björnholm Head of UNEP Brussels

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

What’s happening to Greenland will affect the whole world – and our leaders need to understand why

A Glimpse into the Future of the Health with Mobile Technology

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

Electric fleets can fuel decarbonisation efforts. Here’s how

We need natural solutions to fight ocean and climate risk

10 ways central banks are experimenting with blockchain

The challenges of the universalization of the health system in Brazil. What can we change?

Around 23 million boys have married before reaching 15; ‘we can end this violation’ says UNICEF chief

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis

Commission proposes to purchase up to 300 million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine

Eurozone cannot endure any longer youth marginalisation

3 reasons why embracing the circular economy can be powerful for middle income countries

We don’t know how autonomous vehicles will depreciate – and that’s a problem

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

The COVID-19 recovery can be the vaccine for climate change

EU ready to relinquish its internal tax havens

Security Council urges ‘maximum restraint’ around Gulf region as Iran and United States trade diplomatic blows in New York

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

Rural women a ‘powerful force’ for global climate action: UN Secretary-General

Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle shows concrete results for EU citizens

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of DSME by HHIH

Colourism: How skin-tone bias affects racial equality at work

Kors and Nyong’o: Food, fashion and film join forces at UN, for the world’s hungry

EU adopts €55 million support package for Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon to mitigate coronavirus pandemic

Does Greece really weigh what is asking for today in Russia?

Why moral leadership matters now more than ever

UN recognises role of sport in achieving sustainable development

Draghi’s 2018 compromise: enough money printing to revive inflation and check euro ascent

Prevention is key to ‘breaking the cycle of HIV transmission’, UN chief tells General Assembly

UN chief welcomes agreement by rival leaders in South Sudan, as a step towards ‘inclusive and implementable’ peace

Germany and OSCE support an east-west dialogue in Ukraine without exclusions

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

Chart of the day: These are the cities where the World Cup threatens productivity the most

This woman solved one of the biggest problems facing green energy

In Gaza, UN envoy urges Israel, Palestinian factions to step back from brink of a war that ‘everybody will lose’

Trash bin at the top of the world: can we prevent Arctic plastic pollution?

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

European Commission increases support for the EU’s beekeeping sector

Lithuania should find its own way in the EU

How man and machine can work together in the age of AI

Waste-free consumption: 3 reasons why cities will lead

Generation Z will outnumber Millennials by 2019

Fleeing Venezuela: MEPs to probe humanitarian conditions in Colombia and Brazil

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s