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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of California, San Francisco


The Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine has received remarkable support from all facets of our community. Our students, faculty, administration and the American College of Physicians (ACP), both at the chapter and national level, have ensured our continued momentum and growth in advocating for issues concerning internal medicine, a particularly poignant mandate at a public institution such as UCSF. In transitioning leadership from our predecessors, Gina Choi ’08 and Genie Kim ’08, student leaders in the class of 2009 sought an open leadership structure whereby programmatic logistics were circulated equitably to ensure individual ownership in our IMIG. As a result, twelve students organized an agenda of innovative programs to address our goals of networking, education, and service.

ACP catalyzed the year by funding an evening event, co-sponsored by the Geriatrics Interest Group (GIG), to meet with faculty over dinner. Dr. Cindy Lai, one of our faculty advisors, graciously hosted the dinner at her home and assisted in recruitment of various internists and subspecialists to ensure a low 3:1 student to faculty ratio. Partnering with GIG further ensured a diverse assemblage of faculty and representation of fields while also lessening the financial burden of a catered event. Forty-five students and faculty participated in the dinner, which proved to be a unique and successful opportunity to dialogue with faculty and meet potential mentors in a casual setting.

UCSF’s IMIG also hosted a year-long series of five noon conferences to explore subspecialty opportunities in internal medicine. The fully integrated, organ and case-based curriculum at UCSF directed scheduling of topics, whereby presentations reflected the current course material of the first and second-year students. The events were thus aligned with the existing structure of the curriculum, which synergized our ability to pique student interest and maintain strong attendance as a natural extension of our coursework. Our Faculty advisor, Dr. Karen Hauer, regarded the events as important venues to “hear about the clinical practice, training, career options and lifestyles in different internal medicine practices.” One to three faculty members participated at a time, often presenting a case to stimulate discussion or to segue into discussions of personal career paths and practical issues of training and lifestyle. These subjects are rarely approached in the formal curriculum. Through these noon activities, we effectively engaged students’ interest within the greater context of adult medicine.

A shadowing program allowed first and second-year students to join a medicine team for morning rounds and noon conference. This program gave them the opportunity to observe internists and a preview of the third and fourth-year clinical experiences. To appeal to an even wider audience, Adam Schickedanz ‘09 and Judy Kim ‘09 coordinated a pair of unique and well-received physical exam workshops as part of National Primary Care Week. Each workshop, consisting of roughly a dozen stations, was run by second-year medical students who posed as “standardized” patients. This unique peer setting created a safe and comfortable environment for students to receive constructive feedback on their physical exam performance from their more-experienced colleagues. Mr. Schickedanz and Ms. Kim recall that the sessions “fostered one of the basic pillars of the art of medicine” where professional conduct, effective and efficient technique, and the ability to communicate findings in both medical and lay terms were key points critiqued during the sessions. Moreover, faculty and fourth-year medical students were available to clarify concepts and offer advice. The workshops were strategically offered just prior to the first-year physical exam practical evaluations, providing a timely opportunity for students to refine their skills.

Dr. Calvin Chou, Co-director of the Foundations of Patient Care (FPC) course, commented that, “The student-organized workshop accomplished numerous goals that a traditional course cannot. Second-year students, with their recent experience of learning the complete physical exam, are much more able to assuage first-year students’ anxieties. Feedback between the two ‘near-peer’ groups facilitates communication and lessens the power differential that first-year students can feel when working with faculty observers. Student organizers focused tremendous energy and enthusiasm into their leadership, and the rousing success of the program showed this.” These subjective accomplishments were apparent from the number of participants: over 80% of the first-year medical students and 45% of the second-year students volunteered for the workshops. Given this tremendous success, Mr. Schickedanz and Ms. Kim are working with the administration to possibly integrate the workshops as an adjunct to the FPC curriculum.

Our increased visibility on campus has allowed the UCSF IMIG to begin a dialogue with our region’s ACP Governor, Dr. Molly Cooke, regarding additional funding and greater coordination of our mutual interests. In the coming months, we hope to establish a formal relationship with the ACP California Chapter as well as contact the other California IMIGs for chapter-level idea and resource sharing. The coordinators of the UCSF IMIG would like to thank Drs. Hauer and Lai and Lisa Carella in the Office of Student Programs for their responsiveness and dedication to student enrichment. We would also like to thank the UCSF Department of Medicine and ACP for their generous funding.

Having recently transitioned leadership to the class of 2010, the IMIG at UCSF is well positioned to continue developing activities and programs to further the field of internal medicine while evolving to reflect and impact the ever-changing dynamics of our students and curriculum.

Brook Calton, Melissa Fitch, Judy Kim, Kenta Nakamura and Adam Schickedanz
IMIG Student Coordinators, Class of 2009
UCSF School of Medicine

Back to March 2007 Issue of IMpact

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