This has been a truly busy year for MMSA and before we close up this chapter and move onto the next, the Board of Directors would like to update you all with the most relevant projects and achievements of each office and standing committee.
The Executive Board
Omar Chircop, Jake Scicluna, Jake Alex Gauci, Courtney Jaggers, Glenn Briffa
As you all may know, the EB has multiple roles pertaining to each individual office as well as other roles which are more directly related to the leadership of the organisation and internal matters. Throughout the past couple of months, the EB under the leadership of our President Omar Chircop, have been making great strides of progress upon two very pertinent issues: Resolving past financial issues that the association has been facing as well as Advocacy upon the issue of Barts Medical School. We are proud of the work that our Treasurer has been carrying out with respect to streamlining the association with VAT regulations and VO status. As clearly observable, a lot of time and effort is being invested in making sure that our rights to a high quality medical education will not be jeopardised now and in the future. The EB has worked tirelessly with KSU through the MMSA-KSU Barts Taskforce to voice out our concerns and suggestions. We are doing our utmost to push forward the compilation of a legally binding document that is to be based upon the “Document of Requests and Safeguards” which was drafted and approved during an EGM during the last scholastic year.
During these past months we have also organised an office clean-up which got the Students’ house MMSA office back in order and for the first time ever, thanks to the work of our VPi Jake Scicluna, all material and equipment stored there is recorded through a dynamic inventory system. This EB has also managed to get hold of a new office in the biomedical building thanks to the help of Prof. Richard Muscat who gratefully offered Room 111 to MMSA as a working office available to all Board members and assistants to carry out their work.
Besides these achievements, each EB member has been working very hard upon projects relating directly to their office with TRD living up to everyone’s expectations thanks to the efforts of the TRD OC, Freshers’ Week giving a warm welcome to our new members thanks to our VPe Jake Alex Gauci as well as Science in the City, being a huge success for yet another year.
On the 19th of December the MMSA Coordinators Gathering was organised by the MMSA President Omar Chircop, where all the coordinators were updated regarding the work we have done so far and plans we have for the future. The coordinators also had time to give us feedback and comments regarding our work, all of which were highly appreciated and in fact discussed in detail during a day-long BD Symposium on the 22nd December where the 18-member board had the opportunity to give updates and discuss the feedback and other matters.
The work doesn’t end with 2019, and we hope that you are all as excited as us for 2020 with big projects in the pipeline such as Health fest, under the guidance of our VPi Jake Scicluna, and the MMSA 2020 AGM and election preparations underway. Finally, all our work and efforts for this term, will be celebrated during the MMSA appreciation night ’19-’20.
This year, the standing committee on Medical Education is made up of 15 passionate students! With great pleasure, it has been quite an intense term! Our work commenced in Summer with 3 innovative workshops by the PMP Team targeting more than 60 students each - First Aid by the Beach, Phlebotomy and Blood Donation and Suturing and Anaesthesia.
Organising Freshers’ Week was also a hectic task where we tried our very best to engage over 140 students in the day-to-day timetable of a medical student who is involved in student activism, that is MMSA. The newly established Academics team had no time to spare as Directional Videos were recorded, the SCOME notes database got reviewed, integrated module documents and dissection guides got compiled, all MD survival guides were complete, mnemonics got chosen and the Buddy System was set up for all MD1s and MD2s!
Our Curriculum Orientation coordinator made sure that all students are on board by organising the MD 3 orientation talk, MD 2 physiology project talk, MD 4 and beyond talk and the MD 5 SJCT Exam Talk! In a promise to improve medical education for all, our Inclusion Coordinator made it a point to communicate more with the international community in order to cater for every student’s needs. This month, SCOME is proud to hold under its belt 3 IFMSA enrolled activities and 2 Degree Plus certified programmes! SCOME also organises a sponsored Maltese Medical Sign Language course for our students and by the end of the year 45 students will have benefitted from this opportunity due to an additional course following request.
Currently, work is on the roll in order to publish the SCOME Minima Medica Journal once again during our upcoming research conference on the 20th of February. Surely more PMP Workshops are on the way; namely a 'Referrals workshop', an 'ECG Workshop' and a 'Suturing and Plastics Workshop'. As SCOME enthusiasts, SCOME Weekend should also be pinned on our calendars for the 3rd, 4th and 5th of April.
Thank you for being here with us - as we promise to be here with you.
What a term for SCORA! Two brand new initiatives were launched this year - the LGBTIQ+ Lockdown had a great turn out, and the lovely sum of 70euros was raised for the Allied Rainbow Communities. The Abortion Debate also showed a large turn out with over 70 students attending - a great milestone for both SCORA and MMSA! As for the World AIDS Day Campaign, despite the national circumstances, all 3 events were highly attended, with the social media campaign reaching over 3,000 people!
So what's next? Keep your eyes peeled for the last SCORA Campaign of the year, the MAMA Campaign coming to you in Term 2!
During summer SCOPET gave sessions in skolasajf on Teddy Bear Hospital, Fitness & Nutrition and Basic First Aid in a total of 8 schools. During the first semester of this academic year we organised Teddy Bear Hospital sessions in 1 school and in Dar Merha Bik during Christmas time. We set up a mat to deliver Teddy Bear Hospital-style activities with young children at 3 major public health events, Esplora Summer Event, Science in the City and World Diabetes Day. We also visited 2 primary schools, 2 scout groups and 1 football nursery to deliver Superheroes Inside My Body, A Day in Valletta with Dr. Cuddles (a new session!), Fitness & Nutrition and Basic First Aid sessions.
We had one of our major annual events on World Children’s Day held at Mosta Primary A School in which we gave Teddy Bear Hospital and PeerEd sessions to a total of 650 children. Prior to World Children’s Day we held a workshop with all of the participants in order to prepare them for World Children’s Day. This year we also offered 5 active MMSA members the opportunity to shadow Dr Klown volunteers in the paediatric wards during the week of World Children’s Day.
This year, in collaboration with SCOPH and Doctors for Road Safety, we launched a new project aimed at delivering PeerEd sessions to children on the basic principles of road safety and road rules and regulations. We gave Doctors for Road Safety sessions at a total of 3 primary schools. With regards to capacity building, we organised a workshop in the beginning of the year aimed at giving medical students, mainly first years, the basic skills and abilities to effectively give PeerEd sessions to children and adolescents.
On a similar note, in December we organised a 3-day seminar centred around public speaking skills in which we targeted 15 active MMSA members, who pending them delivering a capacity building session in either SCOME Weekend or TRD will become TNT-certified by IFMSA and also Degree Plus-certified.
During the first semester, the SCORP team focused on 4 main campaigns targeting both medical students and the general public.
Through our mental health campaign which mainly involved peer education sessions, around 440 students were reached. The majority targeted were Form 4 students, and the rest were Form 2, 3 and 5 students. Furthermore, a new Peer Ed session focusing on mental health and sports stress for student-athletes was created. Till now we targeted Aquatic Sports Association swimmers, and we plan on giving this session to basketball, football players and other student-athletes next semester.
As part of the Helping Hands campaign which focuses on local volunteering opportunities, 10 MMSA members have been taking part in a Mental Health Befriending Scheme. This is a volunteering program which involves spending 1 to 2 hours every 1/2 weeks with a person of the same sex using mental health services. Furthermore, in collaboration with SCOPH, 25 MMSA members had the opportunity to make Christmas decorations with patients from 4 different wards at Mount Carmel Hospital.
A new initiative for this year was the Defending Your Rights campaign which focused on raising awareness on human rights related matters including Domestic Violence, Gender Equality, Human Trafficking and Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, at our DYR Quad Event a sum of money was collected through a fundraising activity to donate to Dar tal-Providenza and over 80 items including books, toys and warm clothes were collected to be donated to refugee children.
For our last campaign on refugee health 950 immigrants were targeted through our 2 volunteering events in the summer months, handing out ice-cream to each individual. Furthermore, we managed to put a smile on the faces of 200 refugee children this Christmas, after handing out the items collected from the DYR Quad Event in the form of presents.
Through these new initiatives, SCORP managed to target more University students and through our social media posts on our main Facebook page, the general public was even more engaged in our campaigns!
What a term for SCOPH already! From our Beat The Burn workshop way back on the 1st of July all the way to Christmas Decoration Making at Mount Carmel Hospital on the 18th of December, it’s been a hectic but undoubtedly truly satisfying six months.
Our Beat The Burn campaign educated 113 children about sun-safety, while through our Mental Health Matters! Watch Your Head Workshop, 50 medical students learnt about different mental health disorders and how to manage their mental health. On the 17th of November, in Valletta, over 400 people got their blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI checked during our event for World Diabetes Day, in addition to those reached through our nine SCOPH Goes Local events.
Now, once 1st semester exams are over, we are all geared up to close off the term in the same satisfying manner with more Boost Your Own Body sessions, Health Check events, Blood Donation events and of course, our Climate Change & Health campaign during Health Fest, so stay tuned!
During the past few months, the Leisure team has successfully held a number of events. These include ‘High Tide - the Annual Boat Party’; ‘Fresher’s Rave’ as part of Faculty of Sound, two themed TRD parties along with the most recent one being ‘il-Kazinata tal-Milied.’ Keep an eye out for the MMSA Leisure page to be updated with new events!
P.S: Our biggest event of the year, Il Ballo, will be on the 14th of March, so make sure to save the date!
Summer 2019 has been a great one for the Exchanges-In office! During this summer we hosted 107 students from over 25 different countries. We upgraded our social programme which had up to 5 events per week which included all sorts of activities from beach days to boat parties to hiking. We also tried to incorporate an eco-friendly aspect into the exchange by reducing plastic during our events.
Following the success of last summer, works are underway to create an even better experience for next summer 2020! The research programme has been revamped with more interesting projects available for our students and we've also introduce a Global Action Project dealing with endemic problems for the first time ever. More ideas are brewing so stay tuned for more updates!
The exchanges-out office deals with two main tasks: points and exchanges allocation. We give out points to show our gratitude for the amount of work that our coordinators put into organising events as well as to keep our offices and standing committees fully functional. To avoid any gaps and disagreements when giving points, we update the points protocol (our guide to giving out points) annually to make the points allocation process as fair as possible.
An exchange is a 4-week placement in a foreign hospital or research facility in a country which we made agreements with. Every year, exchanges officers from around the world meet up in a general assembly to make such agreements by discussing and signing contracts. These contracts detail the month during which we can send students, as well as the number of students we can send/receive. After we finalise these agreements, my team can issue the list of countries available for the MMSA student body.
Afterwards, we issue a call for applications for these countries and allocate these exchanges depending on the number of points you have in your MMSA account. After the issuing of the allocation results, my team hosts a pre-departure training to guide people through the application process on the IFMSA database, as well as how to get certain documents needed for their applications. Since the agreements that we sign in general assemblies are only valid for a year, we collect feedback annually to see whether we should keep, remove or add new countries for the next exchanges season.
My team, and myself, have been hard at work answering the hundreds of emails, that we receive on a weekly basis, from students around the globe. These aspiring elective students would need to go through our thorough checklist before being allowed to attend an elective at Mater Dei Hospital.
With the help of Emily, my accommodation officer, we have been searching for new apartments around Msida to fit the incoming elective students and make them feel as comfortable and welcome as possible.
We have also been working hard with the Treasurer’s Office in finding potential subsidizing Grant opportunities for local students. We recognise the big financial burden such an experience can put on a student, and finding a Grant to aid us would be extremely beneficial.
The PR Office this year has worked tirelessly to improve in all aspects. One of the major improvements this year was our website which has been upgraded to include all features provided by the organisation. This includes a notes database available for members, and signing up for our events through the respective event page. All of this term's events can be found both on the future/past events pages and on the respective officer's page.
The PR Office also organised the PR Workshop at the beginning of the year where attendees understood how the office works, what we do and what guidelines we use. All attendees were able to create a poster at the end of the workshop using the aforementioned guidelines, and the team who created the best poster won a goodie bag!
This year the office also managed to develop more public relations than ever! Our major events have been advertised on various TV and radio programs; articles written by our members have been published on Times of Malta; and thanks to our new collaboration with The Third Eye, monthly articles written by our members are published on their Facebook page and website!
David Agius, Amy Ebejer, Martha Spiteri
An essential part of our job is the processing of applications, their anonymisation, and ensuring a fair and just application process to give an equal chance to all applicants. Apart from the applications for assistant and coordinator roles within the different MMSA offices, recently we were coordinating and currently are finalising applications for the External Representation Grant (ERG) for the IFMSA General Assembly In Rwanda, the EMSA Spring Assembly in Serbia, and EuRegMe in Lithuania.
We have been present in all EB and BD meetings, overseeing all decisions and actions taken, in order to safeguard the bylaws and ensure a smooth running of the association. We believe that communication is key in such a big organisation, and thus we took the initiative of keeping constantly in touch with every member of the BD, and with you, the members, via social media platforms. We have also created a portal on the MMSA website from where you can send us a complaint or express something that is bothering you as a member of MMSA - so please, do not hesitate to contact us in any way you prefer. Any message to SupCo will be treated with great confidentiality, and we promise we would act in the best interest of the student, always within the limitations imposed by MMSA’s Statues and Bylaws.
Currently, we are working on the latter document, reviewing it and making the necessary amendments that will eventually be voted for during the MMSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020. On a final note, we highly encourage you to attend the AGM in order to get informed and more importantly get the chance to vote on the document, which ultimately governs and will continue governing MMSA.