Redefining IFMSA Mission and Vision

Redefining IFMSA Mission and Vision

This entry was written a while ago, when reflecting on the whole Mission & Vision process. Leading this Task Force was probably one of the hardest thing I have done so far, in term of leadership, patience and collaboration. We had a hard time from the start back in August 2012 when the plenary voted in favor of opening this task force. The group was dissolved completely in March and reformed in April with a whole bunch of new members. However, today I’m extremely proud of what we have accomplished. We beat the odds. We gave the Federation a well-deserved renewed mission. We wrote down the first IFMSA vision since the last decade. And I’m especially proud that IFMSA-Quebec got to propose the motion in one plenary of IFMSA August Meeting 2013 held in  Santiago, Chile.

It is with great pleasure that I’m writing those lines from Montreal. I just flew back home after an historic August General Assembly in Santiago, Chile. A meeting in which all minds were united towards the improvement and strengthening of our beloved Federation. A meeting in which we learnt about telemedicine and e-technology. A meeting in which we worked in increasing our positive impact on global health. Above all, a meeting in which the Federation took a major step forward in adopting a vision and mission.

One may ask: why is that so important for IFMSA? The answer is quite simple. A clear vision gives us the strength to move forward, a mission pushes us to thrive in the international community.

Over the past years, IFMSA has expended its priorities to include societal issues, such as climate change, universal health care, noncommunicable diseases, social determinants of health and many more to address those current issues that challenge achieving quality, accessible health for all. As our federation has been continuously evolving and growing since more than 61 years, its members felt it was time to take an internal review of the values, principles and objectives of the federation.

In the past months, I had the chance to lead a team, which was dedicated to give IFMSA a new mission and vision by August Meeting 2013. The journey wasn’t easy. The process has started in 2007 but no conclusion was reached until recently. It’s not simple to give a Federation something that truly represents the spirit, values and ideals of its 1.3 million members coming from 110 different countries. But with your help, your valuable input and your trust, we were able to make it a success. And I would like to sincerely thank you for that. We are extremely proud that this mission and vision reflect the voices of medical students worldwide, your voice.

A world in which all medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally.

IFMSA unites medical students worldwide to lead initiatives that impact positively the communities we serve. IFMSA represents the opinions and ideas of future health professionals in the field of global health, and works in collaboration with external partners. IFMSA builds capacity through training, project and exchange opportunities, while embracing cultural diversity so as to shape a sustainable and healthy future.

As we work to make this Federation reflect who we are and what we want to achieve, this newly adopted mission and vision statement provide us with a foundation to expand our impact and to shape the healthy world as we envision it. I will remember August 5th as a memorable night in which the plenary has seized the opportunity to make IFMSA history and to do as the head of PAHO, Dr Carissa Etienne, told us to do just a few days before: “it cannot be business as usual”.

Claudel P-Desrosiers (IFMSA-Québec)
Coordinator of the 2012-2013 Task Force on IFMSA Mission & Vision

Members of the Task Force: James Lawler (AMSA-Australia), Elizabeth Wiley (AMSA-USA), Khalid Almak (medsin-Sudan), Kimberly Williams (CFMS-Canada), Jason van Genderen (IFMSA-NL), Jelte Kelchtermans (BeMSA-belgium),  Thomas Adongo (MSAKE-Kenya), and Roopa Dhatt (IFMSA President).

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