Taking Steps Forward: 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 62 years, its members felt it was time to take an internal review of the values, principles and objectives of the federation.

The story of IFMSA’s Vision Building began in the term 2011-12, when IFMSA’s leadership began exploring key questions about the direction that IFMSA should be striving for and as well how should IFMSA strive to achieve.  A small working group led by Roopa Dhatt, IFMSA VPE 2012/13 on Mission and Vision sparked momentum for the Federation to officially commit to this process.  (Past Blog– Moving Ahead IFMSA, What our members are saying?)

IFMSA members Vision Building

Through guidance, creativity and great dedication,  Claudel P-Desrosiers (IFMSA-Québec) led the IFMSA Task Force on Vision and Mission. They had a great challenge–to deliever a a new mission and vision for IFMSA by August Meeting 2013, while ensuring that all voices were included in its creation. “The journey wasn’t easy. The process had 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.” -Claudel P-Desrosiers (IFMSA-Québec)

Mission and Vision Survey 2012/13

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.

August 5th was 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”.

We are very excited about our mission and vision, as the process of strengthening IFMSA has just been realized, the new few months and years will be very exciting for the Federation!

A special thanks to the the Task Force and those that contribute to the process.

Claudel P-Desrosiers (IFMSA-Québec), joint author of this post
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).


The leading Health Organization in the World is reforming!

You guessed it right! WHO it self is undergoing a major process of reform. This organization is the  only institution capable of providing a balanced platform for global discussion on the future of our health, while taking into account diverse interests and priorities. So what has changed so sudden that it is a need for such a reform?

The answer to the question is quite complex, but yet breaks down one simple fact, we live in a complex and rapid changing world. The growth of big philanthropical entities and global economical crisis is putting WHOs supreme position into a unprecedented challenge. What started as a simple financial issue turned into a full fledged change, touching almost all working areas of WHO.

The three main purposes for the this process is as following:

  • Refocusing core business to address the 21st century health challenges facing countries;
  • Reforming the financing and management of WHO to address health challenges more effectively;
  • Transforming governance to strengthen global health.

The process of reform is Member State-driven, and Director General (DG) Dr. Margret Chan, does not save the ammunition to explain this fact, stating “You are the bosses!”. From the 129th Executive Board (EB) Meeting, it has been published a number of concept papers by the WHO secretariat explaining the reform process in details, thereby it has been an extensive consultation process with the member states which leads us up to the EB Special Session (EBSS) which is taking place right now.

Fundamental questions about WHO’s priorities, its changing role in global health governance, and internal governance and managerial reforms is going to be discussed amongst the EB members (http://www.who.int/governance/eb/eb_members/en/index.html). The decisions made during this special event will lay the foundation for the future of this agency. Its needed for WHO to be more effective and accountable to address the increasingly complex challenges of the health of populations in the 21st century.

Stay tuned, we will update from Geneva as the action unveils!

The IFMSA team to EBSS

Usman, Alex and Lukas