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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

International community makes important progress on the tax challenges of digitalisation

Copyright: European Union , 2017; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Frank Molter

EU hits deadlock on the future of glyphosate a month before deadline

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

3+1 issues to haunt tomorrow’s EU Summit

UN lauds special chemistry of the periodic table, kicking off 150th anniversary celebrations

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Counting unemployment in the EU: The real rate comes to anything between 16.1% and 20.6%

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

Mali not fulfilling its ‘sovereign role’ in protecting its people: UN human rights expert

Syria: ‘Violence, displacement’ and cold kill 11 infants ‘in the past two days’

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Did young people just kill television?

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, first UN global study shows

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

Iceland won’t talk with Brussels about EU accession

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

UN chief ‘commends’ leadership of Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as name dispute draws to final close

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Guatemala: UN anti-corruption body will continue working, as Constitutional Court blocks Government expulsion

Can the US deal a blow to EU and Russia together over Ukraine?

How do we build an ethical framework for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Greenpeace’s saints and sinners in the tech world

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

MEPs commend Ukraine‘s reform efforts and denounce Russian aggression

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

Why this is the year we must take action on mental health

Celebrating the Customs Union: the world’s largest trading bloc turns 50

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Parliamentary bid to democratize Myanmar constitution a ‘positive development’ says UN rights expert

UN chief encourages victims of terrorism to ‘raise up their voices’

‘Deteriorating’ human rights in Belarus amounts to ‘wholescale oppression’: UN expert

Businesses succeed internationally

As human genome editing moves from the lab to the clinic, the ethical debate is no longer hypothetical

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

Force used against protestors in Gaza ‘wholly disproportionate’ says UN human rights chief

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to hit the construction industry. Here’s how it can thrive

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

Azerbaijan chooses Greek corridor for its natural gas flow to EU

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

More Stings?

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