On being a delegate for IFMSA-QC at the RM in Uruguay

On being a delegate for IFMSA-QC at the RM in Uruguay

August 25, 2015: My first day of orientation at McGill.  I walked over to the last booth of what was part of a series of tables that represented various services and student clubs McGill had to offer to its medical students.  The young man in front of the table was wearing a t-shirt with the print – IFMSA – over it.  I proceeded to ask, what is IFMSA?  This student, who turned out to be Bing Yu, enthusiastically answered my question and recounted his experiences.  His stories captured my attention.  Then he told me about the upcoming Regional Meeting in Uruguay.  Immediately, my inner voice whispered: I want to attend it.  At the end of the conversation, I was determined to apply for it.

October 12, 2015: While checking my e-mail, I stumbled upon the monthly IFMSA newsletter in my junk mailbox.  I automatically clicked on the link.  Browsing through the content, something caught my eyes.  The deadline for applying to the IFMSA RM in Uruguay was due on October 14, 2015 – in two days!  Right away, I began to fill out the application.

October 19, 2015: I have the habit of checking my e-mails before going to bed, for most of the time.  I just want to be sure that I don’t miss any important messages.  Well, today, I received an e-mail from David Galiano, president of IFMSA-QC.  The letter’s message was an invitation to be part of the delegation party for IFMSA-QC at the Regional Meeting (RM) in Uruguay.   I felt my heart go into a series of escape beats for a long 60 seconds.  Then it resumed back to sinus rhythm J  What I had desired on my first day of orientation became true.   You know the feeling of wanting something so much?  And then finally getting it?  And that sense of peace that comes along with it?  That is what I felt.  That evening, I fell asleep with that sense of peace within me.

The conversation with Bing Yu set the stage to the present point, without which I would not have been aware of such an opportunity.  Yet my interest in public health began long before I learned about IFMSA.  How?

Long story short, I learned at a young age the value of health.  The lesson came from seeing my father suffer when he was sick and from living through the consequences after his death.  Over time, I also learned to care for health care systems.  After all, I did end up growing up in three countries: Dominican Republic, the United States and Canada.  In each country, I experienced a distinct health care system.  In each country, I recognized that people thought about health and approached health services through different lenses.  And I became intrigued by this.

So this is my story.  This is how I became passionate about health and public health, locally and internationally.  I have a desire to learn more about these topics and am compelled to pursue opportunities that will feed my hunger.  I am honored to have the chance to become a delegate for IFMSA-QC at this Regional Meeting in Uruguay.

I have a few goals for the RM, as I interact with other medical students in the Americas and attend workshops/presentations.  Simply put, I hope to:

  • Clearly present the basic concepts of Universal Health Coverage, according to the resolution of PAHO, to the participants in one of the SCOPH workshops, while stimulating vibrant discussions (yes, I was asked to make a presentation!)
  • Share my personal, academic and professional experiences in the Canadian medical system
  • Exchange thoughts on health challenges at home and abroad
  • Inspire and be inspired to take initiatives to improve the health of our respective community upon our return home
  • Build friendships to support each other in our future initiatives and projects
  • Meet at least one delegate from each representing country and learn one new fact about each country
  • Take you with me to this RM through my updates on this blog (so make sure you read my entries)
  • Give you a glimpse of Uruguay, as I explore the streets during my free/social time
  • Last but not least, get my feet onto the dance floor to the beat of some salsa and bachata

Now you have a sense of who your delegate, Lucy Teresa Shum, is.  This is merely an introduction.  I invite you to follow me in the days to come as I travel to Uruguay, and as I listen to all the presenters and meet all the students.  You will get to know me better; most importantly, I hope you will feel as if you were right next to me throughout this RM.