Launch of the new Student’s Handbook for Professional Exchanges in Primary Care

During the past months, the International Federation of Medical Student’s Associations (IFMSA) and WONCA’s Family Medicine 360º (FM360º) program have been collaborating in order to review the learning outcomes and create a checklist for the IFMSA Student’s Handbook for Professional Exchanges in Primary Care.

IFMSA is sending every year more than 13.000 medical students in a professional or research exchange, in more than 90 countries, making it one of the world’s oldest and biggest exchange program. The main purpose of the program is "to promote cultural understanding and co-operation amongst medical students and all health professionals, through the facilitation of international student exchanges. SCOPE aims to give all students the opportunity to learn about global health, and attains this partly by having its exchanges accredited by medical faculties across the world”.

Placing the exchange academic quality on the top of its priorities, IFMSA has developed a handbook to guide the students during their exchange. This handbook contains specific recommendations for the students, as well as for the sending and the hosting tutors. It also contains a general checklist with the list of tasks to be completed by the students during their exchange in order to get the certificate.

Based on WONCA Working Party on Education’s Checklist for Medical Student Experiences in Family Medicine and the experience of the FM360º program, both parties built and discussed a checklist that would reflect the learning opportunities that are unique to Primary Care. As such, the activity checklist includes the general medical competences (such as the ability for taking history, physical examination and interpretation of medical exams), as well as organizational and ethical skills, such as differences in diagnostic procedures and treatments related to incidence and prevalence in primary care, as compared to secondary and tertiary care; interventions in primary, up to quaternary prevention; the understanding the health care system and the position and impact of Primary Care as well as the collaboration with other professionals, both in healthcare and other institutions.

We hope that the new Handbook will motivate more medical students to choose Primary Care as their medical specialty and that it will also facilitate intercultural knowledge exchange.
The new Handbook can be found on IFMSA’s webpage or alternatively here.

About Family Medicine 360º (FM360º)

Family Medicine 360º is WONCA’s global exchange program for those in Family Medicine training and in the first five years of Family Medicine practice. Established in 2013, it has been growing in popularity ever since, but it is still lacking the collaboration of potential hosts.
To learn more about the program, please visit this site.


The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which all medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, IFMSA today represents a network of 1.3 million medical students through its 127 national member organizations in 119 countries. More information can be found here.

Story submitted by Ana Nunes Barata MD and add Omar Cherkaoui (IFMSA SCOPE Director)
FM360 global coordinator
[email protected]