The European Medical Students' Association (EMSA) is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation for medical students; it offers opportunities to their members and provides a voice for medical students across Europe, representing their interests to other European institutions and organizations. EMSA was founded in Brussels in 1990. It integrates medical students in Europe through activities organized for and by medical students. EMSA’s network and platform encourages medical students from various countries in geographical Europe to actively engage in matters related to health care, medical education, medical ethics, medical science, and general societal well being, by acting as a conduit for increased interaction and sharing of knowledge between European medical students in these respective areas.
In 1990, the idea to create a European Medical Students' Association was discussed during a symposium for medical students from all European countries organized by students of the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium. A working group was created and in October 1990 the European Medical Students' Association was founded in Brussels.The first and official founding EMSA General Assembly was under the patronage of Baudouin I, the King of Belgium, and was financially supported by the European Community's ERASMUS programme. The statutes were officially established and published under Belgian law on 17 January 1991.
EMSA was founded in Brussels on 20.10.1990. It integrates medical students in Europe through activities organized for and by medical students and representing them in Brussels. In EMSA medical faculties are members, not the individual countries. Since the foundation of EMSA many medical faculties throughout Europe enrolled with EMSA. It currently unites over 90 medical faculties from 27 countries across Europe. EMSA seeks to improve the health and the quality of care of the citizens of Europe by acting as a conduit for increased interaction and sharing of knowledge between European medical students in the areas of medical education, ethics, science and European integration.
EMSA is an associated organisation of the CPME Standing Committee of European Doctors.
The structure of EMSA which allows maximum effectiveness and control involves the EMSA European Board (EEB) on the European level, the National Coordinators (NCs) on the National Level, and the Local Coordinators (LCs) on the Local Level. In the structure of EMSA, medical faculties are members, not the individual countries; these Medical Faculties are referred to as Faculty Member Organizations (FMOs). Since the foundation of EMSA, many medical faculties throughout Europe have enrolled with EMSA. It currently unites over 100 medical faculties from over 25 countries across Europe.
A. Medical science- The Medical Science Pillar aims at providing a platform where all European medical students who are interested in medical science can communicate with each other, learn from good examples, participate in various workshops, and get inspired by great European scientists. Projects are designed for everyone – beginners and prolific researchers.
B. Medical Education- Notable projects include: Week of medical education, Teddy Bear Hospital, Bologna Process Workshоp, and EMSA Summer Schools.
C. Public Health - The focus of the European Medical Students Associations’ activity in this department is mainly intended for students to focus their attention on issues that are close to youths. Introducing members to the issues of Global health such as access to health care, the societal burden of ill health, environmental public health i.e. the interplay of society and health, lifestyle medicine, Antibiotics resistance, Sex ed, and so on.
D. Medical ethics and Human Rights- This department is concerned with raising awareness to ethical problems and finding potential solutions by organising trainings, conferences, panels, workshops, and intercultural events. Notable events concerned with this pillar are: EWE- European Week of Ethics, MedEthNews, International Women's Day, Transplantation workshops and Movies and Medicine.
E. European Integration and Culture- Notable events/ projects include Best Buddy, Different Christmas, Erasmus Medicus, European Words, Twinning Project, Eurotalk, EuroMedMobility, Cultural injection days and the Festival of culture.
The main Governance of the European Medical Students' Association is the EMSA European Board (EEB). In the fall of each year, the EEB is elected during the Autumn Assembly. The EEB is made up of :
The Executive Board (EB):
President, Vice-president of Internal affairs, Vice-president of External affairs, Secretary General, Treasurer
Directors: (These directors preside over the five main pillars of EMSA) Medical Science Director, Medical Education Director, Ethics and Human Rights Director, Public health Director, European Integration Culture Director
Officers: Trainings and Events Officer, European Institutions-Liaison Officer, Fundraising Officer, Permanent Officer, Policy Making Officer, Public Relations Officer
Each year, EMSA delegates and enthusiasts meet at the:
Spring Assembly and the Autumn Assembly
The Spring Assembly and the Autumn Assembly form the General Assembly. In these two meetings, major decisions concerning the Association are made. Activities held include: Plenary sessions- involves voting and election of the EMSA European Board, discussion and adoption of Policy Papers, other key discussions, and guest speaker presentations; Twinning Project Market- where FMOs (Faculty member Organizations) advertise and present their twinning/exchange projects; Pillar Sessions - hosted in parallel by the five pillar directors and aimed at building on current EMSA projects; Workshops and Trainings- soft-skills trainings on topics such as leadership, team building, fundraising, conflict management and many others.
Training New Trainers” Event EMSA has also established its own soft skills trainings event - “Training New Trainers” (EMSA - TNT) - which is held once a year. The EMSA Training New Trainers event is a program that focuses on transferring basic knowledge about training-sessions, and teaching specific soft skills.
EMSA European Week of Ethics This EMSA event - European Week of Ethics (EMSA - EWE),was introduced in 2013. It is a 4–5 days event that focuses on medical ethics, and is a platform for medical students and experts interested in the field of medical ethics.
European Medical Students’ Council (EMS Council)
All over Europe, there are students’ associations that work actively at a local level defending the interest of their students without having a European body voicing the concerns and defending the rights of European Medical Students. In 2004, EMSA started the European Medical Students’ Council in London. One of EMSA’s most important aims with this project is to improve the cooperation and communication within the medical students in Europe. The EMS Council meets annually in a different European city.
Objectives of EMS Council
The EMS Council main objectives are: Represent the interests and opinions of the medical students in geographical Europe. Discuss and form joint policies on issues surrounding medical students. Defend the rights and interest of medical students across Europe.
Other events and programs include Summer Schools and conferences organized by EMSA and other EMSA partners and friends.