EMSA Autumn Assembly 2019| September 1-6, Parnitha 

During the first week of September, the members of HelMSIC had the chance to both organize and participate in the Autumn Assembly of the European Medical Students’ Association (EMSA). This event was – without a doubt – a really educative experience for HelMSIC entirely, both for organizing and supporting this event and for representing Greece’s medical students by its delegation, consisting of 19 members.

EMSA, is a non-profit, medical students’ organization in Europe, whose actions and programs, focus on 6 basic pillars:

  • Public Health 
  • Medical Education 
  • Medical Ethics and Human Rights 
  • Medical Science 
  • Health Policy and
  • European Integration and Culture.

As an organization, it carries out two General Assemblies annually, one in Spring and one in the Autumn, in which, more than 200 participants from all over Europe have the chance to communicate and interact with each other, as well as get educated. One of the most interesting parts of this Assembly is the “Symposium”, which is focused on a specific, contemporary subject, on which speeches and discussions take place. This time, the subject was “A Medical Curriculum Shaped by Medical Students” 

“During the Symposium, a lot of EMSA’s external colleagues, talked about the medical curriculum and how it could prepare students in a more adequate way in order to practice their profession and about which is the best and the most efficient way to study and be well prepared. The attendants of the event, thought about different problems of the medical curriculum and got informed about whether they can change their curriculum. The students were able to participate in the discussion and express their thoughts. It was, without a doubt, a really educative and inspiring event for both new and experienced members.” according to one of the participants. 

Another really important part of the Assemblies, is the one of “Plenaries” which is associated with fundamental, organizing decisions of EMSA, like; the election of the European Board of EMSA, the validation of changes in the Internal Rules (IRs) or in the Statutes etc.. A member of the delegation said; “As in HelMSIC’s plenaries, in the EMSA’s ones, every faculty member, take part in the voting process of serious decisions. The whole process was coordinated by a plenary team and two other commissions were checking the validation of everything that was happening. As it was my first General Assembly, plenaries gave me the chance to understand EMSA and the way that it’s organized more, as well as appreciate the value of a vote through which medical students are represented.”

The educating process of the participants, continues with plenty of trainings, workshops and sessions, based on appliances of Peer Education, methods that HelMSIC uses in its programs generally, too. “The part of Workshops & Trainings was one of the most fun and interactive ones. The participants were educated by other medical students well-trained on subjects that were up-to-date and relative with the general theme of the assembly.”

Talking about Pillar Sessions, a member of the delegation said; “One of the best and more educative parts of a General Assembly, is the one of the Pillar Sessions. During these, there are speeches, team projects and unusual games that promote the education of the participants, on the subject that each of the 6 pillars focuses on. There, we could express our opinion, collaborate with other medical students on projects and collect information on Climate Change, Vaccination and the Harmful Use of Alcohol, as these were the prioriτιes of the Public Health Pillar Sessions that I attended. I learned a lot of interesting information about how climate change affects our health, what the antivax movement is and how we can promote the importance of vaccination as well as what is the relationship of teenagers with alcohol. I got plenty of ideas and knowledge that I will bring back in HelMSIC”.

As part of its European character and the teambuilding attempts of EMSA, there are two events that happen, “Medical Education Fair” and “Project’s Fair & Twinning Market”. The participants of the second event said; “Twinning is an exchanging program for medical students, that includes both medical education and cultural learning. During the Twinning Market, every faculty member can conclude a cooperation-exchanging agreement with another faculty. At the same time, during the Project’s Fair, every country, presents some of the programs that they organize and they try to inspire other members. It was a unique experience, watching HelMSIC members from different pillars, collaborating to demonstrate a general picture of HelMSIC’s priorities and objectives. 

From the aspect of the medical curriculum, through the “Medical Education Fair”; “It was like a celebration of Medical Education during which, students from different European medical schools, were able to present their medical curriculum by using posters, infographics, audiovisual methods etc. The presentation of the medical curriculum included the studies at the university until the medical specialty and practising the profession. This event helped us learn more about our medical curriculum as we had to present it and at the same time, it gave us the chance to get informed for other educational systems. So, the profit was double!”

So, after those 6 days that were full of activities, education and inspiration, it’s time to set our next meeting for the next EMSA General Assembly, in April, in Novi Sad, Serbia.

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