Day 3 of IFMSA: Interview with Mariko Kondo

Today was the last day of the IFMSA conference, and Dean for Medical Education, Dr. David Muller addressed the students who braved the snow this morning, followed by a panel with Dr. Muller, Katie Robbins (PNHP, Healthcare NOW!), and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai students, Riju Banerjee, Josh Oppenheimer, and Susanna O’Kula. The IFMSA students have been a great audience, always asking relevant questions and paying attention throughout a packed schedule.

I had the chance to talk with Japanese delegate Mariko Kondo this evening about her experience this week.

Where in Japan are you from? Tokyo

What year in medical school are you? 4th year at Keio University

What kind of medicine are you interested in? Family Medicine

What has been the highlight of the pre-GA in New York? I’ve enjoyed being able to focus solely upon advocacy for 4 days.

What has been the highlight of visiting New York City? 

I grew up in Westchester County, New York, so for me the highlight is coming back “home” in a sense.

What was your favorite workshop and why?

Strategic planning with Dan Knights–it’s not the kind of workshop you could find in Japan.

Who was your favorite speaker and why?

Dr. Ann-Gel Palermo. Her motives were clear, and her actions were very inspiring to me. I could relate to how her cultural background was different from the one she grew up in, since I lived in NYC as a child and from Japan.

What has been your favorite thing you’ve eaten in NYC?

Dunkin’ Donuts French Crullers! We don’t have them in Japan.

Why did you want to attend this pre-GA?

This is my first GA, so I wanted to gain as much training as possible before we went to Washington, D.C.

What are a few things you’ve learned?

I’ve gotten to know delegates from many countries, so I’ve learned that healthcare systems are different in each country. Also, advocacy is not something that just lobbyists and professionals do; there are things medical students can advocate for, such as patient safety. it sounds different coming from medical students.

How will you apply the advocacy skills back in Japan?

The Japanese youth don’t have the same opportunity to learn advocacy skills, so now I can share what I learned with students in my IFMSA in Japan… I can “advocate for advocacy.”

Anything else you want to add?

I lived in NY for 13 years, but I had never been to Mount Sinai until now and it’s a really lovely place.

Thanks, Mariko, and thank you, IFMSA delegates. We at Icahn SOM at Mt. Sinai have so enjoyed having you with us this week!

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