News Report / Profile
Interview with Maria Guilhermina Pereira, President of the Students’ Association of FMUL 2013/2014
At the beginning of the 2013/2014 academic year, the institutional Newsletter invites you to meet Maria Guilhermina, the new President of the Students’ Association of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (AEFML). 1. What are the main challenges, projects and activities of the AEFML for 2013/2014?
The AEFML faces a very big challenge, which is to be the voice of 2400 students. There are 20 of us and we count on the collaboration of all.
We will defend the rights of medical students as FMUL students and as future doctors. We will criticize in a constructive way the various teaching and assessment methodologies, promote an increasingly larger tutor: student ratio, we will fight for better conditions in the access to the specialties, and will do much more.
This year, our main goal is to create more study space. A room reserved for FMUL students will be built in order to improve the student: table ratio. We will also continue with the major activities, such the Hospital for the Little Ones and the Medicine Olympiads, which everybody knows about.
But we will also innovate! We are developing a project called “Health and Company”, which brings Primary Health Care closer to the population, and gives some of our time to people experiencing difficulties, particularly in terms of mobility.
Another major project is the “Meeting Point”, whereby the elderly provide a space in their homes to a student during the academic year in exchange for company. In addition to these activities, we have also planned many others, which can be followed up through our website http://www.aefml.pt.
2. What will be, predictably, the biggest hurdles you will need to overcome?
We have a very busy year ahead. We set out to grow a lot and we will do everything accordingly. The biggest hurdle will be to coordinate and organize all the activities along with being a medical student. However, we will use it as a stimulus to work and, with determination, to do more for our colleagues.
3. How do you describe the involvement of FMUL students in the initiatives and activities conducted by AEFML?
FMUL students benefit from the several training opportunities the Association offers, including traineeships during the holidays, CEMEFs, scientific and clinical exchanges, and suture workshops, among others. But the activities are not just about medicine! Students enjoy being involved in screenings and volunteer projects, they are interested in the organization of activities, enroll in courses not related to medicine, such as language courses, massage courses, ballroom dancing and, above all, many participate in cultural and recreational activities, which, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why the bonding between classmates is much stronger here than in many other faculties in the country.
4. How do you describe AEFML’s relationship with FMUL and the Medical Academic Centre of Lisbon (CAML)?
There is an increasing closer relationship between the AEFML and FMUL. This is of utmost importance, since both share a common goal: to support and defend the students of this faculty. A separation would make no sense, and we are working together in order to act in synergy. One example is the increasing number of activities that we have carried out together.
The Institute of Molecular Medicine is also a key player in the CAML, for which reason the collaboration between the IMM and AEFML is fruitful for both parties. To this end, we promote both the Initiation to Scientific Research Traineeships and Research Day (formerly called Scientific Research Opportunity Seminar) and disclose their work to international students from all over the world through Scientific Exchange Traineeships. However, there is still room for improvement, particularly through the dissemination of more projects and encouraging colleagues to carry out research, for example, through the LabMeetings project.
As for Santa Maria Hospital, I believe that it is increasingly open to students and seeks to meet their needs. The AEFML is willing to work actively both with the Northern Lisbon Hospital Centre and with its associated entities through the promotion and implementation of screenings and through the call for volunteers among our students.
In short, the CAML offers a world of training opportunities and a wide range of learning materials, playing an indispensable role in our growth as future health professionals.
5. The University of Lisbon is now one of the largest in Europe, with the merger of the UL with the UTL. How do you see this merger, and what are the advantages of this structure in terms of added value for students?
FMUL students gain from research opportunities, they can be followed-up by multidisciplinary teams and be part of them, and benefit also from increased opportunities for internal and external mobility. In addition, students will be able to carry out training in new areas, such as postgraduate courses encompassing various fields of knowledge.
The University of Lisbon is reborn! And it has much to win from it. Along with the units of the former Technical University of Lisbon, we have the potential to go further and be among the best universities in Europe. We all win, the country grows and our university flies “from Lisbon to the World”.
6. What can students expect from AEFML’s new mandate that is different from previous ones?
From this new board, they can expect openness! Always! Anything they need, we will be there, close by, ready to help and to listen to criticism, and receptive to suggestions and different ideas. We welcome ideas both from students and from employees, whether they are academics or staff. We want to grow with everyone and on behalf of everyone. We will be a bond and a reflection of what they want us to be. For this reason, we count on you!