Joseph Cheaib, Med III
A medical student’s education starts in medical school, where one is taught the basic building blocks of medicine. Thereafter, it is all the domains of his/her life, whether academic, philanthropic, or social that contribute to the kind of doctor that student will become. In light of that, The Lebanese Medical Students’ International Committee, LeMSIC, is a major platform for medical students around Lebanon, enabling them to develop their academic knowledge as well as all other complementary aspects of social competence and self-improvement. Medical students are given the chance to perceive medicine from a different and wider perspective in order to make a positive impact on their community through multiple social projects, including, but not limited to, World AIDS Day, mental health awareness, and diabetes screening campaigns. Moreover, LeMSIC provides its members an opportunity to travel abroad and experience new cultures in its one-month exchange program. As such, it becomes not only a leeway from the tiresome studying and exams but also a forum through which medical students can nationally and internationally network and collaborate with others sharing their passion for social responsibility and civic duty.
As part of its tradition, LeMSIC kicked off the new term of 2015/2016 with its annual National General Assembly (NGA). However, this year’s NGA was like no other! With an unprecedented record attendance of 250 medical students, the Organizing Committee was extremely successful in capturing the interest of new members all around Lebanon. Newly introduced in this NGA was an adaptation of the concept of speed dating. The attendees were equally divided into six groups, and they rotated around six LeMSIC committees’ stands. Each standing committee had to impress as many students as possible to join their team in less than 20 minutes. According to Margueritta El Asmar, the National Officer on Medical Education, “The speed dating concept allowed students to learn about the different standing committees and their projects, and decide accordingly on what sessions to attend. Students knew exactly where they wanted to be and thus were able to make positive contributions to the sessions.”
Another reason for this NGA’s exceptional success was its main theme: the refugee crisis in Lebanon. As medical students who are concerned with the surrounding social wellbeing and the multi-faceted approach to medicine, the NGA surely struck on a topic that is of vast importance to us. Dr. Rabih El Chammay, a representative of the Ministry of Public Health, was a guest speaker, and he delivered a sensational talk about the underestimated mental health aspect
of the crisis. He focused on how the war deeply affects the psychology of the victims and reconstructs their perceived social reality. He also shed light on the National Mental Health Program that, in collaboration with the Lebanese Red Cross, aims to create a self-sufficient social environment for the refugees. He emphasized the importance of educating the refugees and initiating interactive programs that could positively affect their general psychosocial status. “The lecture was great,” said Youssef Ghosn, a new member in LeMSIC, “however, it lacked the incorporation of appropriate plans or recommendations that could guide us as medical students to lay the foundation of a possible solution.” Christian Abou Nader, LeMSIC president, said, “We are currently working at full throttle to become an official NGO by the start of 2016.” As an NGO, LeMSIC, and with the efforts exerted, would certainly acquire a bigger role in society and hopefully accelerate the resolution of this refugee crisis.
If two months of hard preparations have yielded two memorable and fruitful days, there is no doubt that a year of work would be exponentially more rewarding. Stay tuned for what LeMSIC has to bring this year.