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GEMx Staff Post: Working the Faculty of Medicine-University of Tunis El Manar at The Network: Towards Unity for Health Conference 2017

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Post by Carol Russo, GEMx Senior Coordinator and International Conference Organizing Committee Member for of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) Conference

“It is Amine, not Imen [Madame!]”

This patient student could no longer politely bear the indignity of my grievous and ever constant misspelling his name.  I had been chatting back and forth with him via WhatsApp to manage and direct his assigned fellow student volunteers for The Network: Towards Unity for Health/World Summit on Social Accountability Conference. Each year I volunteer to assist  the Conference organizers in planning and provide on-site support. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my on-site role is having the opportunity to interact and work with the students. This year the conference was held in Hammamet, Tunisia; and the host institution was the Faculty of Medicine-University of Tunis El Manar.

Nearly 50 students from University of Tunis El Manar Faculty of Medicine volunteered at the 2017 The Network: TUFH Conference. Pictured here is the group responsible for preparing the delegate bags on the eve of the Pre-Conference. The students specially designed these bags to include traditional Tunisian weaving on their reverse sides (complete with camel silhouettes!) and also thoughtfully included unique Tunisian souvenirs for the attendees.

Led by their dean, Dr. Ahmed Maherzi, these students served as translators, hosts, session assistants, registration and badging clerks, scientific poster hangers, airport greeters and cultural ambassadors for the roughly 500 delegates who attended. Throughout the 4 days of Pre-Conference and Main Conference events, their dedication, humor, spirit, cleverness, energy, cordiality and tenacity were constant and present to the delegates, fellow international medical and healthcare profession students, global health stakeholders and their guests. The students were integral to delivering an experience filled with all the valuable take-aways this conference traditionally offers. 

By the way, come to find out,  “Imen” is a common Tunisian girls’ name.

Amine, again, my apologies… I don’t know how we could have had such a successful conference without your assistance, your fellow students’ commitment … and your forgiving nature!

 

GEMx Sponsored Competition Reflection: Monesh Rao, International Quiz for Medical Undergraduates (IQMU) 2017

Filed under: GEMx Sponsored Events

Post by Moneshwar Rao, 3rd Year Medical Student at Kasturba Medical College – Manipal (India), and Head of the IQMU E-mail and Correspondence Committee 

Specialty of Interest – Emergency Medicine, Orthopaedics, Surgery.  Would love to be involved in Medecins Sans Frontieres

How did you get involved with the IQMU event?

I auditioned for the post of Head of Email and Correspondence Committee

What was your role during the event?

Corresponding over email and phone calls to get colleges to be interested in participation in the quiz, Correspondence with quiz masters, advisors, and GEMx representatives. Corresponding with teams and members

Can you speak about the exchange of knowledge, both medical and cultural, that took place during the event?

A quiz event is a great means of sharing of knowledge and incorporates friendly competition which is essential in building professional partnerships. Including cultural performances in an existing quiz event adds a mix of cultural knowledge about the rich heritage of the country and promoting lifelong interaction among all participants. We are proud to say that IQMU has achieved this at long last and we hope that we can build it far better in the coming years.

Did you learn anything about GEMx and global exchanges, or ECFMG after the opening presentation and presence at the event?

GEMx played a key role in explaining the importance of academic exchange programmes to all the students present and that GEMx provides great opportunities to interested students.

Do you have any more comments or things that you’d like to mention about IQMU and its aim to grow globally?

IQMU has just begun and our aim is to steadily build a platform for the exchange of culture and heritage between students of all countries. Unity in diversity among all medical students around the globe is what we hope to strengthen in the coming years.

For more information about the IQMU event, please visit http://www.theiqmu.com/ and follow their Facebook page.

GEMx Elective Reflections – Student Exchange from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia to University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Filed under: GEMx Student Reflections

Post by Navilah Hidayati, Medical Student at Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia) who completed a GEMx Elective in Elective in General Surgery at the University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates)

What have you gained from this exchange experience offered through GEMx?  What were the benefits?

I gained many unforgettable experiences, global connections, and lovely friends from this exchange experience. I met a lot of people in the hospital and learn about the international hospital dynamic there. I observed the medical students activity in the University and learn some good habits they have. I visited the beautiful tourism in Dubai and Sharjah. I tasted the traditional food, which has a very unique and strong flavor. I also had the chance to learn some Arabic language and enjoy their culture.

How did you prepare for your elective exchange? Were you prepared?

To be honest, I was not sure that I will be able to go for this exchange. I had some trouble with my post-acceptance documents. The problem became more complicated because I couldn’t contact the representative in the host university.

Fortunately, GEMx staffs also helped me to get in touch with her. About 2 weeks before my departure I received my acceptance letter. Ten days later, they sent me my visa. My parent bought my airplane ticket two days before the elective started and I was able to go to Sharjah to do my elective training. Only when I sat in the airplane that I thought,

“Ah, so I am going to do this..”

What did you learn from this experience both personally and professionally?  (consider your clinical experience, community experience, cultural experience, communications and interactions with faculty, staff, peers, and patient population)

Truthfully, I didn’t get many chances to improve my clinical skills in my host university. I had some trouble with the placement in the university hospital. I was glad that my supervisor, Ms. Eman and Prof. Nabil, take care of the problems quickly and I can start my elective training on the second week. I had one week in Pediatric, one week in Internal Medicine, and one week in Surgery. This actually different from what was written in my acceptance letter. I supposed to go to the General Surgery department for four weeks. I need to adapt every week in the different department. I also went to two different hospitals that have different regulations. Because of it, I barely had the chance to perform clinical skills on patients. But thankfully, the doctors were so active and always told me about the patient conditions. They also like to discussed some cases, which enhanced my clinical reasoning skills. The patients in the hospital was mostly Arabic, so sometimes I had trouble communication because I didn’t understand their language. When I faced this problem, my friends and the doctors helped me out. The staff in the hospital also very kind to me. Most of the nurses came from outside the UAE so they understand English. We sometimes had a chat on break time.

Apart from that, I had a beautiful experience with the University of Sharjah, the people living in the UAE, and their genuine Arabic culture.

How did you feel when you returned to your home school?

The first thing that came to my mind was I cannot believe it is already over. Everything ends so quickly. On my last day in Sharjah I had a very busy schedule. I need to take care of documents before leaving for my home town. Time flew so fast I didn’t realize it was already evening and I had to say good bye quickly to my dorm-mate.

The next day, I arrived in Indonesia. I had a short five days break before come back to my home school and do my clinical rotation. It felt so weird that time. It  seemed like my heart is left in my host school.

Can you share your story on this experience and how it has impacted you?  Were there any unexpected outcomes that you would like to share?

This experience is one of the most unexpected experiences I have ever had. I didn’t have the chance to see a lot of procedure that I think I will, but to tell the truth I gained so much more than that. I learn to deal with people (the patient, the hospital and university staff, my colleague). I learn to adapt with any given situation. I learn to understand every perspective. I learn to solve my problem independently. I learn to be brave, honest, patient, and wise. When I came back to Indonesia a lot of people said that it such a pity that the elective didn’t go as I expected it to be, but I don’t think so.

I am happy with my experience and it teaches me beyond the procedural thing. (more…)

GEMx Elective Reflections – Student Exchange from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (Mexico) to American University of Beirut (Lebanon)

Filed under: GEMx Student Reflections

Post by Latife Salame Khouri, Medical Student at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (Mexico) who completed a GEMx Elective in Family Medicine at American University of Beirut (Lebanon)

What have you gained from this exchange experience offered through GEMx?  What were the benefits?

The benefits are both academic and personal. I gained a broader view of how Medicine can be practiced. I gained responsibility and maturity for living alone for a month in a different country than mine. I gained contacts in Medicine and friends for life. GEMx gave me the opportunity to be part of one of the best Medicine Schools in the Middle East.

How did you prepare for your elective exchange?  Were you prepared?

I prepared through life for my elective exchange. I didn’t get through a special preparation for it. Before my elective I already knew the languages I needed to go to the country I chose. I went to a multicultural school so I was used to be immersed in a culture different than mine. Academically, I felt that I was well prepared to learn and work in my elective.

What did you learn from this experience both personally and professionally? 

GEMx is a great opportunity to know how Medicine is done in countries with different cultures. I am from Mexico and I did the exchange in Lebanon. I practiced Medicine in arabic and english which was a great intellectual exercise. I learned a different anthropological approach to diseases. I learned to live in a city different than mine. I also met a type of public health system and I was able to compare between Mexico’s and Lebanon’s system.

How did you feel when you returned to your home school?

I felt satisfied because I represented well my home school in another country. I realised that my home school gave me the tools to practice good Medicine all around the world. I felt happy because I met great people in AUB and I kept in touch with them. I was very proud of my home school for being part of this project.

How is this learning relevant to you now that you are back?  Can you give any examples?  Will you do anything differently now?

My elective was in the department of Family Medicine of AUB. Lebanon and Mexico are similar in the lack of a strong primary care system, but the department of Family Medicine of AUB actually does a great job in primary care. I learned from my elective exchange that good primary care is possible in the health system of my country and I hope to make a difference there.

(more…)

GEMx Elective Reflections – Student Exchange from Malankara Orthodox Syrian College (MOSC), India to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Filed under: GEMx Student Reflections

Post by Anjali Anna Thomas, Medical Student at Malankara Orthodox Syrian College (MOSC) (India) who completed a GEMx Elective in Internal Medicine at Ben-Gurion University (Israel)

What have you gained from this exchange experience offered through GEMx?  What were the benefits?

This experience has opened up a new perspective in medicine and medical education. It has helped me to understand the different kinds of health systems that are present in the world. International relations is another added benefit that I have gained through this opportunity. I was able to learn more about the life of people in a different country and gain an understanding on the various aspects like culture, language, religion, health systems and so on.

How did you prepare for your elective exchange?    Were you prepared?

I did not really do a lot of preparation for the elective. I got all the official paper works done and booked my tickets. But I think I could have learnt the language a little bit so that communication would have been much easier. The languages spoken in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic.

What did you learn from this experience both personally and professionally?  (consider your clinical experience, community experience, cultural experience, communications and interactions with faculty, staff, peers, and patient population)

Personally, I have learned that I can be open to different cultures and accept it. It has taught me to broaden my thoughts sphere. Professionally, I have learned a lot in clinical medicine, how to build a rapport with my patients, how to take samples and to do procedures. I have also learned that it is important to treat all your colleagues, be it any position they hold, in the right manner. Professional camaraderie can go a long way in building the right atmosphere at your workplace. The community at large has taught me that one should always be mindful of others around oneself.

How did you feel when you returned to your home school?

It was a fantastic experience. I felt that a lot of things that I had seen back at Israel could also be adopted at my home institution.

How is this learning relevant to you now that you are back? Can you give any examples?Will you do anything differently now?

The Infectious Medicine Department in Soroka Medical Center had a strong measures and protocols for the management of infectious diseases in the campus and I felt that such measures could be introduced in my home institution.

(more…)

GEMx Sponsored Competition: International Contest of Medical Knowledge (CICoM) 2017

Filed under: GEMx Sponsored Events, GEMx Student Reflections

Post by Joel Sebastian Arellano, Medical Student at National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico City), and CICoM Coordination General

The International Contest of Medical Knowledge is an initiative launched back in 2013 by students from the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, an event for undergraduate medical students all around the world, that through a healthy/fair competition and cultural activities they get to exchange experiences in practice and knowledge on the general medicine field.

It began after the University sent six of its students to a competition in Universidad del Rosario, Colombia; they were inspired on how the contest awoke their hunger for knowledge and were very impressed with the hospitality shown by the organizers. These six students decided they wanted to create an event that would not only allow the participants to boost medical education, but also establish bonds between entire cultures and individual contestants. After an entire year of planning, the organizing committee managed to crystalize their dream: the first CICoM taking place in November 2014, with the participation of 14 Mexican universities and 2 Colombian Universities. Encouraged by the achievements of that year, the students in charge of the event began outlining of CICoM 2015. They were able to contact GEMx and since that year onward,

 GEMx has proved to be invaluable support for the event, as sponsors and allowing CICoM to grow with their international network.

Since then, CICoM has become a valuable and innovative tool in medical education and has welcomed universities such as Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud (Colombia), Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Colombia), Universidad de Manizales (Colombia), Universidad del Rosario (Colombia), Universidad de Chile (Chile), University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates), University Medical Center Groningen (Holland), Kasturba Medial College (India), Universidad de Murcia (Spain), Obafemi Alowo University Ile-Ife (Nigeria).

This year, CICoM 2017 will take place at Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México on November 15th-17th, a perfect opportunity to broaden your medical knowledge, learn about Mexican culture, and meet the future leaders of medicine from all over the world.  Besides the competition, activities such as workshops on anatomy, histology, surgery, and medical scenario simulation will be imparted. Also a tradition in CICoM, a medical fair with different organizations and medical publishing houses will be carried out simultaneous to the contest.

Do not let the chance of participating in this event go by! Seize this opportunity to expand your horizons and create memories you will cherish forever! Register now by sending an email to inscripcionescicom@gmail.com . For more information log to http://www.cicomedic.com/ . You can also visit us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CICOM-1398951420369933/?fref=ts .

 

 

 

Elective experience in the Incredible India

Filed under: GEMx Student Reflections

Post by Faizah Ramle, Medical Student from Penang Medical College (Malaysia) who completed a GEMx Elective in Internal Medicine at Kasturba Medical College Manipal (India)

Dates of exchange – November 7, 2016 to December 7, 2016

I had the privilege to conduct my elective posting for 4 weeks in Manipal, Karnataka, India. As a country that has established one of the world’s earliest civilization, India has presented me with nothing short of what I had expected. Colorful, loud, and vibrant- the whole nation has an energy like no other.

I was honored to be guided by Professor Manjunatha Hande, the head of department of Internal Medicine in Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Manipal. Under his guidance, I had been able to join ward rounds, clinics and also bed side teachings with the final year medical  students of KMC.  I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to get to know local patients better, learn about medical conditions that I would have never seen back home in Malaysia, and indulge in the local learning environment in India.

Throughout my learning expedition in India, I was surrounded with a group of incredibly smart, confident and well-read students. They are cultivated to memorize and be hard-working from a very tender age. Being the second most populous country in the world, medicine is one of the most competitive and expensive field to get yourself into, and students there take it as no joke.

Being surrounded in a mentally challenging environment can be good. For one,  it pushes you to step up your game to live up to their standards. You too have to be as confident and out spoken as the local students are. However, at times this can also be rather draining. More often than not, I felt very inferior to my peers. Being  2000 miles away  from home doesn’t help either; you don’t exactly have your family and support system with you.

But I realized that this is how it meant to feel like when you stepped out of your comfort zone. In situations like this, you have no other choice but to stand on your own two feet. Personal growth happens when you are put in situations that gives you an opportunity to grow and mature. A higher benchmark prevents you from becoming complacent with what you have, hence drives you to be better. Once I accepted my weakness, I managed to learn a lot by asking questions and opening up more. This bunch of smart people shouldn’t make me feel small and disheartened, they act as a booster, and offered me an opportunity to learn.

Challenges do not confide themselves within the four walls of the hospital.

No matter where you are in the world, another existential problem would be the language barrier. Either it is because of the disparity in education level, or in this case-  you’re  in  a  country  with  a  completely  different  set  of  vocabulary  and accent. Although discussions and teachings are conducted in English, it wasn’t until the second week of the elective posting that I was able to comprehend what was being uttered and became comfortable to participate in the discussions.

In the hospital, everyone will remain professional and I was quite happy with the hospitality I received.  However, do understand that there will be miscommunications  and  frustrating  moments  in  dealing  with  admins.  There  is still no clear policy being made to manage and guide the international students, and you have to be quick on your feet to solve issues that arise. Expect problems to be on a national scale even. I was unlucky enough to experience the government abolishing certain Indian rupees overnight to overcome the “black money” issue in the country. Despite saying all this, dealing with these problems was what brought me to experience the true Indian culture.

All in all, India has opened my eyes to remind me how blessed I am to be able to study medicine in Ireland and Malaysia. Medicine is neither a race, nor a competition to see who the best is. I am fortunate to be surrounded in a supportive and healthy community, that fits to the way I embrace medicine. Here the systems enrich us to develop holistically, to understand, rather than to memorize and mug up for the sake of exams. My experience in India has taught me to value what I have back home, and be thankful with the blessings in this country.

A message from GEMx Regional Representative in Africa – Faith Nawagi

Filed under: From GEMx Staff, GEMx Regional Exchanges

Post by Faith Nawagi, GEMx Regional Representative 


It all began in 2014 when I attended The Network TUFH conference in Fortaleza Brazil. I met Ms. Anna Iacone who was really passionate about global exposure for medical students. Having been volunteering at my school back then at the international office  I thought this would be a great opportunity for our school but also bearing in mind that i had strong interest in internationalization in health professional training. My roles at the international  office back home were really too basic These involved helping with orienting exchange students and faculty by taking them around the hospital and adapting to the life around Uganda by showing them places that would enable them get their basic needs. In 2015 I was lucky to be one of the winners of the student Projects for Health which was sponsored by GEMx in Gauteng South Africa under the Network TUFH. While there, I met the entire GEMx team and we discussed more on possible roles and ways to enhance visibility in Africa for GEMx.

In 2016, GEMx launched the regional exchange program in Africa to enhance global exposure for students as they train to become future health practioners. In the same year I took up a role as the GEMx Africa representative where i played an imperative role to bring on board 24 African medical institutions to provide elective programs for medical and other health professional students. This was through working with the various networks that are existent in the region. These include, MEPI, COECSA, NEPI and EAHPHEA. With the various associations meetings were held with the board and GEMx representation for interested schools to sign up was through an Exhibition booth, abstract pre
sentation and modulation of conference sessions. Late in 2016 we worked on ensuring all schools submit the required documents.  The electives are to be up and running this year 2017. As the project is implemented various aspects of research and strengthening partnerships will also be looked at.  In addition I also serve as the Co-chair on the Student Ambassador Network for GEMx new brooding consortia of students for the various GEMx schools with great potential to enhance GEMx visibility yet at the same time promoting cross cultural linkages and global learning opportunities and interaction.

GEMx has offered the best platform for me to realize the kind of career path I always wanted through contributing to medical education in research, academia and building global partnerships. My greatest glimmer is the hope GEMx has provided to medical and other health professional students across the globe to gain global exposure through building global partnerships but also at the same time enhancing visibility of the outstanding community projects with significant impact implemented by students across the world.

Introducing the GEMx Blog!

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Hello, and welcome to the GEMx Blog!

This page will provide us with the ability to broadcast GEMx-related news, updates, and informational content, while also offering a platform to highlight YOUR experiences, feedback, and reflections related to GEMx and global exchanges!

Your contributed content may encourage more schools to consider joining the GEMx program which will provide their students with more opportunities to participate in an elective exchange!  In launching and growing our exchange network, we’ve been fortunate enough to get to know many faculty members and students at our partner institutions, and are happy to now be able to share the knowledge and expertise of these individuals publicly. The blog will include posts not only from faculty and students of GEMx partners, but will also feature posts authored by various leaders in medicine and health professions education that are relevant to educational exchanges.

We believe that sharing all of these perspectives on this page will add a deeper understanding of the benefits available to you through global exchanges and the GEMx program. We encourage you to add your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and questions in the comments section of our post!  When you leave comments, please remember that GEMx reserves the right to delete comments that are considered inappropriate.

We look forward to hearing your perspective! If you have any questions regarding the blog, or wish to submit content, please write to info@gemxelectives.org.

Thank you!

– The GEMx Team

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