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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: Medical College of Wisconsin

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has been fortunate to have an ACP student chapter since 1994. Kurt Pfeifer, MD, FACP serves as our chapter’s faculty advisor and ensures continuity in leadership in a chapter that changes student officers from outgoing to incoming second-year students every academic year. Dr. Pfeifer joined the MCW faculty in 2002 and is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals. We receive some funding from MCW via our student assembly, and the rest from the Wisconsin ACP Chapter, to which all student members pay a four-year membership fee of $15. My new set of officers and I look forward to continuing the successful activities that have offered first- and second-year medical students the opportunity to learn more about the field of internal medicine and develop contacts in the MCW community.

We’ve already had an introductory lunch talk with MCW faculty; next, we will sponsor a clinical skills workshop where internal medicine residents demonstrate and let first- and second-year students practice some fundamental clinical skills. In addition to listening to chest sounds and performing auscultation, students ask residents about their residencies and medical journeys. Later in the spring, we will cater a meal in our cafeteria (meals always attract hungry students!) and invite subspecialists and medical students to our most popular event, the subspecialty networking reception. Students will have the chance to informally talk to subspecialists and develop connections that may lead to shadowing opportunities and contacts for career advice. I used this opportunity last year to meet a cardiologist and find shadow rounds in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. Many students wait until the reception to develop relationships with faculty members, but we also offer the opportunity for students to request a faculty mentor at any time during the school year. Young students can gain an early appreciation for internal medicine in action with our Saturday Rounds program, which lets first- and second-year students tag along on rounds and observe the roles of upper-level medical students, nurses, residents, and attending physicians in an academic hospital. For our last activity, Dr. Pfeifer returns with his chief resident and engages an audience of first- and second-year students in differential diagnoses of a few recent cases. First-year students principally observe while the second-year students play a more interactive role as they sharpen their skills before taking the boards and moving on to the wards.

Toward the end of the spring semester, we work with the Wisconsin ACP Chapter to give interested first-year students the opportunity to apply for paid ($300) one-week summer externships in internal medicine fields ranging from primary care to intensive care. Former participants report that these experiences helped them ease into their clinical years and better understand the roles and responsibilities of junior and senior medical students.

I am excited to announce our chapter’s new community service partnership with Community Partners in Health (CPH) and our American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter. Last year, a group of MCW students authored a short presentation on hypertension (reviewed by physicians) and delivered it at a church meeting on Milwaukee’s north side. Church and community members discussed their knowledge of hypertension and their personal experiences with the disease. Our student volunteers listened, answered questions as best as they could, and offered free blood pressure screening. Students reported that the meeting was a success for both participants, who claimed to have learned more about hypertension than they did at their doctor visits, and for students, who gained perspective on patient compliance and how low-income families view disease and the health care system. This year, our volunteers have strengthened connections with community leaders and discussed appropriate health topics they would like us to cover. We are currently authoring new presentations on these health topics and recruiting physicians to attend our presentations. We hope that a strong AMSA-ACP partnership will make this a lasting and meaningful program for both MCW students as well as Milwaukee community members.

My officers?Kellen Gregori, Amy Pearson, Solange Eloundou, and Timothy Trichler, all graduates of the class of 2011?and I are thankful for the help from Dr. Pfeifer and the work of previous generations that has made our student chapter a perennial success. Last year we recruited approximately 80 students from a class of 204, and this year we already have 50 new members from the first-year class.

John S. Symanski
ACP Student Chapter President
Medical College of Wisconsin, 2011
Email: jsymansk@mcw.edu

Back to November 2008 Issue of IMpact

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