How Internal Medicine Physicians Impact Medical Education

I.M. the cornerstone of comprehensive health care

Discover the unique leadership roles, career pathways and impact of internal medicine physicians.

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Internal medicine physicians are uniquely trained to shape the future of health care by teaching, mentoring, building curriculum, and influencing policy for the next generation of physicians.

Internal medicine physicians are uniquely trained to understand the complexities of the adult human body and have the knowledge and experience to impact health care in broad and varied settings. They serve in many leadership positions within medical education and help shape the future of the profession by teaching medical students, directing internal medicine residency training programs, and serving in other influential roles in medical education.

Many ACP members are helping to train the next generation of physicians. They’re enhancing students’ understanding of patient care, providing the structure and leadership necessary to design courses focused on the important topics and skills medical students need to lead health care innovation forward, identifying opportunities to make health care more equitable for all and to improve conditions for physicians and patients alike. They are also providing guidance to ensure students learn to communicate effectively, listen empathetically, and feel prepared to lead unified health care teams.

As teachers, mentors, and administrators, internal medicine physicians are working one-on-one with the next generation of physicians, creating curriculums, mentoring faculty members, and molding physicians to improve patient outcomes and change health care systems for the better. These relationships with students help impact and guide clear connections to outcomes including patient care, policy, leadership, patient advocacy, and research.

The following are examples of ACP members who are helping to lead and shape the future of medical education in a wide range of settings.

Transforming the health care industry through teaching

Gilbert-Roy Kamoga, MD, FACP, CPE is the Internal Medicine Residency Program Director at White River Health in Batesville, AR, where he oversees residents in addition to his clinical practice. Although he loves all aspects of his job, he especially enjoys his leadership role in medical education and training. “I believe helping impart the values of patient-first medicine to the next generation of physicians will transform the health care industry.”

Reminding students to stay true to their personal goals

For Sowmya Nagaraj, MD, FACP, FHM, her own path to internal medicine included a detour. After one year of training in anesthesiology, Sowmya decided to switch to internal medicine which she considers one of the best decisions of her life. Her own career journey is why Sowmya enjoys working with students and encourages them to reflect on what they want out of their careers and make a list of what matters most. 

She warns students of what she calls the “impersonating bias,” something that she attributes to initially choosing a specialty that did not align with her values because she wanted to emulate her mentor. As a result, she encourages her students to consider the current and future impacts they would like to make within health care, to provide them the same satisfaction that she has found with internal medicine. In addition to her passion for physician wellness, Sowmya is also passionate about research and is working on introducing a research curriculum to the residency program at East Carolina University.

Creating a curriculum to shape the next generation of physicians

Christopher Sankey, MD, FACP, SFHM leads medical education forward every day as the Director of the Hospital Medicine Program at Yale School of Medicine. For the last five years, Christopher also served as the Associate Director of the Traditional Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Yale New Haven Hospital. Through his involvement at Yale, Christopher is shaping the future of medical education through curriculum development, quality improvements, and mentoring and developing medical students and residents, as well as the faculty members who teach them.