Medical students Talking about Healthcare in North Korea (MedTHiNK) is an organization consisted of Korean university students with a keen interest in healthcare and human rights in North Korea. MedTHiNK strongly believes that studying about medical support for North Korea, healthcare targeting North Korean refugees, and inter-Korean medical cooperation would provide ways to practical considerations regarding the unification and human rights of people in North Korea.
Ever since MedTHiNK was first founded in 2012, it was the subordinate body of Korean medical students’ society (KMSA) until 2019. From 2020, MedTHiNK has become an independent organization to expand the field of activities more diversely. As MedTHiNK is the only student organization focused on North Korean ‘healthcare’ in Korea, our activities are mainly aimed to promote the interest of young generations in North Korean healthcare by providing opportunities of knowledge acquisition or exchange.
MedTHiNK hosts an annual seminar in summer and its main topic is about North Korean healthcare. Seminars have been hosted every year since the foundation of MedTHiNK, and 2020 seminar is our 6th seminar. This year, professor Sin-Gon Kim and Dr. Ji Eun Kim are the presenters and each of them will give a lecture on “health community of korean peninsula and challenge of young students”, and “Proposal for inter-Korean integrated healthcare and North Korean healthcare system”.
From the experiences of hosting several past seminars, MedTHiNK has set the future goal of the seminar: to enhance seminar format so that the participants could more actively exchange their own ideas rather than passively listening to the lectures. Therefore, seminars that will be held from 2020 are planned to guarantee the active discussion time between speakers and participants after the lectures.
MedTHiNKers select and study several books together to build a comprehensive knowledge of healthcare and human rights in North Korea. Each person participating in book studies is responsible to read and summarize 1~2 chapters, and book studies are hosted through either offline meetings or online skype calls. The most recent books we have studied are <Understanding of NK healthcare through NK medical journals>, and <Think out of the box: 12 misunderstood facts of North Korea> (book titles are translated from Korean).
MedTHiNK is also trying to facilitate the interactions among MedTHiNKers through hosting several offline meetings/gatherings so that students with a common interest in North Korean healthcare and unification could have synergistic effects from each other. Mainly, MT (membership training) is held in Seoul every year as a launching ceremony, and multiple offline gatherings in summer/winter breaks are held to offer various opportunities to MedTHiNKers in order to broaden their knowledge and insight of North Korean healthcare.