The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, IFMSA, is an independent, non-political federation representing over 100 national associations of medical students, of which Medsin is the UK National Member Organisation.

about ifmsa

The IFMSA was founded in 1951 as a result of the post-war wave of friendship among international students. It is affiliated to the United Nations, and since 1969 has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as the official forum for international medical students.

All activities in the IFMSA are co-ordinated by medical students in the country where they are studying. The exchange programme has been the core activity of the IFMSA from the beginning. However, other areas of activity have expanded rapidly in recent years to include projects in the fields of public health, medical education, reproductive health and human rights, peace and refugees. In addition, the IFMSA is a forum where medical students exchange information about topics of common interest, formulate a medical students’ opinion and present it to the international community.

Medsin-UK is the UK member organisation and we engage with the IFMSA and as such get to represent all UK medical students internationally. We do this through attendance at the twice yearly General Assemblies. We seek to influence the IFMSA to utilise it’s voice as powerful force for global health.

ifmsa structure

The IFMSA is organised around 6 standing committees:

SCOME: The Standing Committee on Medical Education. This committee work on issues of Medical Education, the BMA Student Chairs and the Medsin-UK  Global Health Education Director are often involved in the work of this committee.

SCORP: The Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace.  The Medsin-UK activity Crossing Borders often engages in the work of this committee, as well as a variety of other interested Medsin members.

SCOPH: Standing Committee on Public Health. This is probably the committee where Medsin-UK are most active. Many Medsin-UK activites such as Healthy Planet, UAEM and Pharmaware work with SCOPH.

SCORA: The Standing Committee on Reproductive Health and AIDS, most of our engagement with this come through Sexpression, however we also have ongoing work on maternal and child health.

SCOPE/SCORE: Organise the largest student exchange programs in the world Medsin offers bilateral professional exchanges at a number of universities and are working on establishing research exchanges. For more information on Medsin Exchanges see or email  To join the community of people conducting exchanges around the world, join the mailing lists for SCOPE and SCORE.

how can i get involved?

There are several ways you can get involved in the IFMSA and if you want to meet like minded students from around the world there are some fantastic opportunities available:

  1. Join the various list servers, most operate through google or yahoo groups search for either the standing committee you are interested in or the general/European lists, see above for links. (Be warned you will receive a lot of emails!)
  2. Apply to attend a General Assembly. We put calls out in our newsletter for our delegation, you do not need any specific experience and there are always a couple of spaces for new people. When applying the key thing to think about is what you are bring to a delegation and what you can offer Medsin on your return home.
  3. Join a Small Working Group, we call out for these in the newsletter and you will have the chance to work on policy statement on a particular issue for example maternal health or social determinants
  4. Apply to attend an international conference, previously the IFMSA has attending the World Health Assembly, the Climate talks and many other high level summits. We call out for applicants for these through our newsletter.
  5. Join Think Global the IFMSA’s flag ship global health project. Email
  6. Organise a local event with another IFMSA organisation, previous examples include the global health weekend organised by medsin-KCL email for more info.
  7. Set up Professional/Research exchanges at your university, or participate in exchanges, for help with this email or visit this link
  8. Apply for the IFMSA internship at the WHO in the department of Climate Change and Health, check the newsletter regularly for this calls for interns go out twice a year. There are also other IFMSA related internships which will also appear in the newsletter.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Liban, the Director for International Affairs on