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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine’s Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) has been very active for the past 6 years. This year, along with the usual panels and presentations, we decided that we would like to provide some service to the community. This, in turn, allowed us to offer first and second year students experiences that did not solely involve standardized patients or the infamous medical mannequin, Harvey. From these activities, we have three tips that we hope other IMIGs might find valuable.

Tip #1: Partner With Other Organizations
By partnering with UND’s Chapters of the American Medical Association, American Medical Student Association, and our community hospital, we were able to provide free glucose, vision, and blood pressure screenings, along with cholesterol screenings to the community. In providing the screenings, we helped first and second year students gain confidence in patient interactions while we provided a valuable service to the community. By partnering with the two other student organizations, we were able to present this opportunity to students with a variety of interests. Therefore, this partnership allowed members of other student groups to gain a better understanding of our IMIG, which allowed us to gain a few new members.

Tip #2: Find a Passionate Faculty Advisor and Hold on to Her or Him.
At UND, third and fourth year students are spread throughout the state for their clinical experiences to enable greater one-on-one faculty-student interactions. Due to this fact, our IMIG is composed solely of first and second year students, with second year students serving as officers. This yearly turnover of officers provides a challenge to maintaining continuity in our IMIG. In combating this issue, we have been lucky to have LaVaun McCann, MD, FACP, our tireless faculty advisor, at our side. With her invaluable help and the help of twenty-one other local internists, we were able to set up a mentoring program for first and second year students. Through this program, first and second year students spend as many afternoons as they would like observing internists and sharpening their physical exam techniques. Students have been able to shadow general internists, hospitalists, and a variety of specialists. This program has allowed our IMIG to provide students with early exposure to internal medicine, while preparing us for the thousands of questions we will get pointed our way during third and fourth year. Also, by taking into consideration which specialties our members are most enthusiastic about, we can develop more effective and applicable panels and presentations for our class.

Tip #3: Match Your Topic to What is Currently Being Taught
The events with greatest attendance were presentations that put an interactive spin on information previously presented in class. By offering gastroenterology shadowing during the portion of the curriculum dedicated to gastrointestinal physiology and pathology or offering an interactive ECG refresher while cardiac physiology and pathology are being presented in class, we have been able achieve high attendance, while showcasing the breadth of internal medicine.

In summary, we started off the year with a panel of four internists explaining the answer to the question we most often face: “What is Internal Medicine?” This was followed up by a presentation entitled “Basic ECG Interpretation” presented by cardiologist Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, which was attended by nearly 100% of the first and second year students. In the future, we are planning a presentation by an oncologist/hematologist, coinciding with our cancer therapeutics lectures. Finally, we are ending the year with a panel of residents and fourth year students to offer advice for our future years and elections to help ensure our continued success.

Miran Blanchard
President, Internal Medicine Interest Group
University of North Dakota School of Medicine,
Class of 2010
E-mail: mblanchard@medicine.nodak.edu

Back to April 2008 Issue of IMpact

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