Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of Colorado.
During the spring semester, second-year medical students are notorious for disappearing—and here in Colorado we are no different. So as the USMLE Step 1 (“the Boards”) approached, the class of 2009 leaders of the internal medicine interest group (IMIG) at the University of Colorado School of Medicine decided to pass on their venerable organization to a younger, less-distracted group: the class of 2010. Three of us decided to become co-presidents and run the show. Little did we know what was in store!
While brainstorming activities at monthly planning meetings, we decided to make our three main priorities providing shadowing opportunities, organizing regular lectures, and putting together “field trips” to clinical facilities. As our courses on the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal systems commenced, we could not have asked for better timing. Co-President Owen Bowers convinced the directors of the University Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab to allow 15 medical students to swarm around his facilities. Co-President Douglas Melzer talked an experienced cardiologist – who had a solo practice in rural Minnesota, then worked at an HMO in a big city, and now teaches at a university hospital – into sharing his experiences as a “workaday” cardiologist. With each medical school course we have had since then, our IMIG has been fortunate to find a great group of physicians to share their experiences and stories with us. Visits to the pulmonary function testing facilities at the specialty hospital down the road and trips to the dialysis unit are examples of other trips we have organized.
Twice a year we organize shadowing opportunities for the first- and second-year medical students. Forty or more students requested physicians to shadow, ranging from hospitalists and general internists to subspecialists at the regional referral centers. Once the students have requested a particular type of physician, we e-mail faculty members in those divisions, always being sure to copy our faculty advisor to add a little credibility to our e-mail requests. Even when we have a large number of requests for a particular subspecialty or type of clinic, it never seems to be a problem finding enough physicians to send our students off to.
Looking toward the coming year, we have set a few goals for ourselves. First, we want to continue to organize lectures and field trips related to what we are learning about in our courses. A panel on careers in internal medicine is coming up, and during National Primary Care Week in October, several general internists will speak about their career choice. Visits to endoscopy, thyroid, and diabetes clinics are on the horizon, as is another round of shadowing opportunities. In January we will put together a “career fair,” with representatives from different divisions within the department of medicine as well as representatives from residency programs. After that is finished, it will be time to pass the IMIG along to the class of 2011—the Boards will be approaching, and for some reason I think we might all be going M.I.A. for a bit.
Co-President, University of Colorado Internal Medicine Interest Group
University of Colorado, 2010
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