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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: Brown University

At Alpert Medical School, internal medicine has always been one of the most popular specialties. Every year, more than 25% of the graduating class matches in internal medicine, making it the largest specialty group at Brown University. In addition to dedicated and caring faculty members who serve as mentors during the third and fourth clinical years, this success is also attributed to an early exposure to internal medicine during the preclinical years. Our Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) has played an important role in this process.

Introduction to the Brown Internal Medicine Clerkship
Brown University’s internal medicine clerkship lasts 12 weeks and spans four different affiliated hospitals. Based on a student’s preference, clerkship locations are selected by a system. As this clerkship is one of the longest, there is a certain amount of anxiety when it comes to choosing the “best” hospital location. However, many students’ preferences are based on upperclassmen hearsay. To dispel any rumors, we invited the clerkship directors from all sites to speak with the students about the similarities and differences of each hospital. Students were able to gain a better understanding of the grading system and were assured that though each hospital has its own unique flavor, the educational objectives are the same. In the future, we hope to include fourth year medical students on the panel so that they can further elaborate on the day-to-day logistics of the internal medicine clerkship.

General Internal Medicine
While many students are interested in various internal medicine subspecialties, the Brown IMIG has also strived to provide more information about general internal medicine in response to the national call for medical schools to train more general practitioners. We invited Paul Pirraglia, MD, an ACP Member and President of the New England Region of the Society of General Internal Medicine, to speak about his interests in clinical practice and research. He extended an offer to all medical students to submit abstracts and poster presentations to the Regional Society of General Internal Medicine Meeting, held at Brown in April 2010. At Brown, the IMIG has strong representation in both subspecialty and well as primary care internal medicine, with recent graduates matching into both tracks successfully.

Subspecialty Q&A Session
Last fall, the Brown IMIG newly hosted a speaker series focusing on cardiology, nephrology, and pulmonary medicine in response to students’ desires to learn more about internal medicine subspecialties. The series was timed to coincide with each of the respective lecture blocks and the same professors and clinicians who gave the lectures were welcomed back to a separate event to give insight into “a day in the life of” in their specialties. Key topics addressed included lifestyle, initial motivations to enter the field, as well as helpful tips for students who are contemplating pursuing careers in internal medicine subspecialties. The new events were a huge success, as both students and clinicians expressed that they immensely enjoyed the talks and hoped for more of these events. This year, Brown IMIG will extend this series to include more internal medicine subspecialties.

Conclusion
With leadership from each of the four classes, Brown’s IMIG is able to target events at students in the preclinical as well as the clinical years. This also helps facilitate a smooth transition as the leaders progress in their medical training. The IMIG co-leaders are also actively involved in ACP, serving on the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Chapter. Finally, we are provided with strong faculty support from Mark Fagan, MD, FACP, and Dominick Tammaro, MD, FACP, directors of our residency and medical education programs, respectively. Their leadership and guidance helps the Brown IMIG become an effective channel for cultivating future internal medicine specialists.

If you have any questions about the Alpert Medical School of Brown University’s Internal Medicine Interest Group, please contact Jennifer Gao at Jennifer_gao@brown.edu.

Back to August 2010 Issue of IMpact

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