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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

The Alliance in Internal Medicine (AIM) at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas has been excited to be involved in promoting internal medicine to our students over the past year. Since its inception, AIM has been devoted to helping students realize the breadth and potential of a career in internal medicine. Several of the more popular faculty from the internal medicine department have been engaged in helping us achieve this mission. In the past, this has been done through clinical skills practice sessions, show-and-tell meetings in the form of division showcases, and lectures that expand on classroom topics for first and second year students.

In 2007-2008 we focused on specialty specific discussions. Faculty members from cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology and primary care presented interactive discussions that focused on their careers, steps to success in their specialties, and advances in technology associated with what they do. These provided a non-curricular look at the actual life of the practice of medicine during the appropriately matched organ system courses in the second year medical student curriculum. For example, the nephrology seminar discussed relevant career details for aspiring nephrologists and included a review of some of the complex acid-base problems a week before the renal course exam.

AIM has also been involved with the Texas Academy of Internal Medicine during the past year. The TAIM meeting was held in Galveston, and UTMB students helped host visiting students and faculty members at the conference. Our students also participated in local and state case presentation competitions. In fact, one of our senior students won the state award for her presentation of a case seen on the wards at the John Sealy Hospital. We also worked with TAIM to encourage our students to participate in the Texas General Internal Medicine Preceptorship Program that pays students a stipend to work in the clinic of a general internal medicine physician for the summer. We also sponsored our own preceptorship program that helped students get credit for spending summer elective time with mentors in subspecialties around the country.

AIM has been heavily involved in a number of community service events. In previous years, we have sponsored a booth at the Galveston County Health Fair to help educate community members about the risks of smoking and the benefits of diet and exercise. This year, we encouraged members to be involved in our local student run clinic, St. Vincent’s House, to provide access to health care for community members who would otherwise be unable to afford it. We also got involved with a student proposal to review our university’s policy on access to cancer care. Our students were warmly welcomed by the administration as part of a group that held brainstorming and discussion sessions about the importance of maintaining our mission to be “here for the health of Texas.” Our president was one of two students present at the meeting where the group’s proposal was presented to the oversight committee. Through this activity, AIM was excited to be a part of encouraging students to increase their focus on patient advocacy.

In sum, UTMB AIM is involved in working to help medical students at all levels understand and appreciate internal medicine. We provide interactions with energetic faculty, opportunities to practice the art of internal medicine, and encouragement to get involved in the broader social context of caring for patients.

Patrick Aguilar
President, Texas Academy of Internal Medicine
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Class of 2010
E-mail: praguila@utmb.edu

Back to July 2008 Issue of IMpact

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