Action on social determinants of health and health equity means putting social justice at the heart of social action. It is immensely encouraging to have medical students taking a strong lead and being advocates for a more just world. You are the future and a future in your hands is one that has the potential to improve lives for everybody.Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health
On our 60th year, we, the IFMSA, therefore recommend… [to] the Federation, as the global voice of medical students from around the world, [to] launch a federation-wide movement or campaign that will champion health equity and will mobilize members to combat the social determinants leading to ill health.IFMSA Policy Statement on Health Inequity and the Social Determinants of Health
The vision of the IFMSA Global Health Equity Initiative is simple – the achievement of, in the words of the Alma Ata Declaration, health for all – and in the words of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, closing the gap in a generation.
The mission of the IFMSA Global Health Equity Initiative is to mobilize our medical students and future physicians in championing “health for all” – in fulfillment of Rudolf Virchow’s concept of physicians being “the natural attorney of the poor.”
The IFMSA Global Health Equity Initiative (hereafter, the Initiative) will serve four purposes:
Institutional voice for global health equity within IFMSA – act as the IFMSA’s premier forum and external representative in the global health arena, especially with regards to global health equity and social determinants of health
Accessible clearinghouse of information, capacity-building tools, and technical guidance on global health equity for IFMSA members
Dynamic forum for exchange and dialogue on pressing issues concerning global health equity within members and between IFMSA and our external partners
Key platform for advocacy and campaign for global health equity within the Federation and to the larger global health arena
The Initiative is also the fulfillment of IFMSA’s Mission Statement as articulated in By-Law 1.4.1:
Our mission is to offer future physicians a comprehensive introduction to global health issues. Through our programming and opportunities, we develop culturally sensitive students of medicine, intent on influencing the transnational inequalities that shape the health of our planet.
Placing equity in the global health agenda. To place global health equity in the arena of public awareness and to refocus global health efforts in the context of action on social determinants of health.
Building a constituency base. To create a network of medical students and youth clamoring and championing for global health equity at local, national and global levels, while empowering them with tools and resources for advocacy and policy engagement.
Empowering and reorienting the health sector. To cultivate awareness and understanding of global health equity within the health sector, particularly medical students.
Translating advocacy into positive policy change. To influence global health policy and governance covering social, economic, cultural, environmental, and political determinants of health inequities.
Harmonizing and integrating other issues with global health equity. To add an “equity lens” in the work of various issue/cause-based groups in IFMSA, such as those working on climate change, sustainable development, non-communicable diseases, and medical education reform.
Education on global health equity. To lobby for incorporation of global health equity and social determinants in the training of medical students.
Involving other professions and disciplines in the fight for global health equity. To initiate a global network of young professionals committed to take leadership in action on social determinants of health and health inequity.
Placing IFMSA as a leader in global health equity. To ensure consistency and impact of IFMSA in key global events, discussions, and platforms especially those pertaining to global health equity.