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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of Minnesota

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I would like to share some of the things that have worked well for our internal medicine interest group (IMIG) at the University of Minnesota. If other IMIG leaders would like to organize similar activities at their schools, feel free to e-mail me and we'd be happy to provide further information.

One of our staple activities is the “M&Ms with Peanuts” series, in which first- and second-year students are encouraged to attend the Department of Medicine's weekly morbidity and mortality conference. After the presentation and discussion, students hang around and discuss the cases with the chief residents for about 15 minutes. No preparation is required for either the students or the chiefs, making it easy to plan and run. The cases are usually very complicated, so the key is to let the students know that it is expected that they will not understand everything. Then the students are requested to ask questions and not feel as if they are asking "dumb" questions, so that the group can learn some basics of medicine. This is a great activity for learning the vocabulary of medicine and to get to see how the material from the first two years of medical school is applied on a daily basis on the wards.

The second activity that we’ve run over the past two years is a journal club series. Our sessions are designed for students to learn some evidence-based medicine methodology while also getting to know some practicing doctors in an informal setting. To do this, we've held one or two sessions per month on Saturday mornings at a faculty member's home, with bagels, juice, and coffee provided by the IMIG. We’ve used our journal club sessions as a way to interact with faculty members from other hospitals that we might not otherwise have had a chance to work with. Rather than seeking out noted researchers to lead these sessions, we’ve instead focused on finding good teachers who are enthusiastic about working with students. The relaxed environment allows our discussions to go beyond the scientific aspects of the articles, to some of the important but rarely addressed topics in medicine, such as how practicing physicians implement research findings, how they discuss difficult topics with patients, why they chose their field, and how to balance family and career.

The other major type of activity we’ve run is a lunchtime lecture series on internal medicine topics. Two workshops that have been popular are a panel on subspecialty careers and "The Match Demystified." We try to hold the subspecialty panel workshop in the fall and use it as a chance to educate students about the variety of careers available through internal medicine training. For "The Match Demystified," we ask senior medical students who have just matched to internal medicine residency programs to explain the basics of the Match, what it was like applying and interviewing, what they thought was important to consider about various programs, and how best to arrange clerkships. We also plan to hold a workshop on "Rotations Demystified" for second-year students, to help relieve the anxiety about scheduling and beginning rotations.

Andrew Calvin, MPH
Past President, Internal Medicine Interest Group
University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, 2007
Student Representative, Minnesota ACP Chapter Executive Council
E-mail: acalvin@med.umn.edu

Back to September 2005 Issue of IMpact

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