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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Although the Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is one of the youngest clubs on campus, it is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing groups. In our short three-year history we have discovered that many of our first year students do not fully understand what internal medicine is and what this exciting field has to offer. Therefore, we have made it our primary goal to both educate and excite our student body about internal medicine.

Our club is sponsored by John M. Kauffman, Jr., DO, FACP, and under his guidance the club leadership includes Jonathan H. Smeltzer (President); Vignesh Rajan (Vice President); Amit Patel (Vice President of Activities); Kristen Lynch (Vice President of Information); Shay Ahmad (Secretary); and Mehdi Pourmorteza (Treasurer). Membership of the IMIG at VCOM is primarily comprised of first and second year medical students because the third and fourth year students are off campus on rotations all over the Appalachian region. Our club also includes a unique office in order to better serve its members. Once a club president promotes to third year and a new club president is elected, the past president may become the IMIG Third Year Liaison. That office is currently held by past club President Thamiris Palacios. The third and fourth year liaisons make themselves available to the club members to answer questions regarding rotations, board exams, the match and residency. Our club liaisons provide a unique and fresh perspective to educating our members.

Our club sponsors several events each year, but our biggest and most popular event is called “Speed Dating Docs.” For this event, we invite physicians who either practice internal medicine or one of its many subspecialties to join club members in a casual environment and help students learn more about each of their specialties. The students divide into groups of 5-8 and sit down with one of the doctors. After a brief introduction to the field by the physician, the students are free to ask the doctor any questions about their career that they would like. Typical questions include likes and dislikes, a typical day, schedule, lifestyle, and why they chose their specific specialty. This format has proven to be a great way for students to ask questions that they would really like answered, but may have been too nervous to ask in a traditional setting. After a few minutes with one of the doctors, the group of students rotates to another doctor and starts the process again, like speed dating. In the past two years we have had participation from physicians representing fields of internal medicine, hospital medicine, cardiology, nephrology, pulmonology, endocrine, geriatrics, sleep medicine, allergy/immunology, and palliative care, as well as internal medicine residents. This event is one of the most anticipated events at VCOM for students and doctors alike.

With a school-wide commitment to “care for those in most need,” VCOM has become known throughout the Appalachian region as the “Missions Medical School.” VCOM has school-sponsored clinics in El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic and sends groups of faculty and students to these sites, as well as many others, several times each year. In looking to the future, the IMIG started fund-raising in March with the goal of sponsoring one of these mission trips within the next year, and hopes to commit to cosponsoring an international trip to a third world clinic annually.

We would like to thank ACP for their generous sponsorship which makes events like “Speed Dating Docs” possible. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Kauffman for his amazing support and for constantly working around the students’ schedules to be there for of our meetings and events. As we get ready to pass the torch to the next set of club leaders, I know that the club is in great hands.

If you have any questions about the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine's Internal Medicine Interest Group, please contact Jonathan H. Smeltzer at jsmeltzer@vcom.vt.edu.

Back to September 2010 Issue of IMpact

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