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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College (MMC), founded in October 1876, was part of the mission of the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church to educate freed slaves and provide health care services for their communities. Presently, the College includes schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Graduate Studies and Research, and Allied Health Professions. Meharry’s Internal Medicine Residency Training Program in the Department of Internal Medicine has been accredited for over 60 years.

Internal medicine is considered to be one of the most exciting, rewarding specialties of medicine. It is the cornerstone of tertiary medical care and the major provider of primary care training. To introduce students to the appeal of internal medicine, Dr. John Thomas, Jr., FACP, FACC, conceptualized the idea of an internal medicine student club. The major goals of the club are to: • Highlight internal medicine as a major provider of primary care training;
• Enlighten students to the stimulating physical and mental challenges of internal medicine; and
• Enhance the recruitment efforts of our residency program among our students.

The MMC2 (Meharry Medicine Club of Meharry Medical College), composed of sophomore, junior and senior medical students, was launched September 3, 1997. The faculty advisors were Dr. John Thomas, cardiologist and the founding father, and Dr. Clinton Cummings, pulmonologist. A special feature of MMC2 is the free-flowing informal communications between senior faculty and student members.

MMC2 activities include holding monthly dinner meetings, which feature scientific presentations by faculty members; establishing a Journal Club designed to teach members to properly read, decipher, evaluate and present peer-reviewed journal articles; conducting community-based health fairs; providing triage emergency medical care to the community-based African Street Festival located on the Tennessee State University campus; and publishing articles written by the Club president in the Cardioscapes journal which is published semi-annually by the Brothers - Thomas Cardiovascular Learning Resources Center at Meharry (BTCLRC). MMC2 members are provided additional opportunities to train on the HARVEY cardiac patient simulator and utilize the BTCLRC for computer-aided instruction or study time. Members also receive additional training in indirect blood pressure measurement and special tutoring from attending physicians.

Dr. John Thomas expired in Nashville General Hospital during the MMC2 meeting held on December 1, 1999. At their January 2000 meeting, MMC2 members unanimously voted to adopt the name Thomas – Hardy Internal Medicine Society (THIMS) in commemoration of Drs. John Thomas and Robert E. Hardy, two devoted Meharrians committed to student advocacy and clinical research. Presently, Dr. James Potts, FACC, an ACP Member, serves as a faculty advisor and Johniene Thomas, MSPH, Educational Coordinator, serves as the group’s coordinator. Current THIMS officers are: President, Daniel Addison (MSIV); Vice President, Joshua Gilchrist (MSIV); President-elect, Nkiruka Emeagwali (MD/PhD candidate); Corresponding Secretary, Lakeshia Entzminger (MSII); and Recording Secretary, Dejeunou Tchamba (MSIV).

Two noteworthy accomplishments sponsored by THIMS this past academic year were:
• The Inaugural Internal Medicine Residency Training Program Symposium. Representatives from the internal medicine residency training programs at Meharry Medical College, Baptist Hospital-University of Tennessee, Cleveland Clinic, Creighton University, and Vanderbilt University participated as panelists at the Symposium. One-on-one interactions with the program directors and residents highlighted the Symposium. This will become an annual event.
• The outstanding response to the plea for dental hygiene items received from Windsor Child Care Facility, an orphanage in Saint Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Within 10 days of receiving the plea from the African American Cultural Alliance, more than 100 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes, numerous personal-sized hand sanitizers and bottles of mouthwash were collected for donation.

These are some of the highlights of the scope of activities of THIMS. We are looking forward to an exciting new academic year filled with events and activities to help students learn about the opportunities available in internal medicine.

D. Johniene Thomas, MSPH, Coordinator
Daniel Addison, MSIV, President
Thomas – Hardy Internal Medicine Society
Meharry Medical College
Email: jthomas@mmc.edu

Back to September 2008 Issue of IMpact

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