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Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio

The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) Internal Medicine Student Interest Group (IMSIG) is one of the most well known student organizations on campus and boasts the highest membership rate of all the specialty interest groups within the medical school. The attendees at the monthly lunch meetings are mostly first and second year students. We have added variety to the meetings this year, ranging from subspecialty panels to a meeting on the business of medicine with an office manager, a doctor, and a lawyer. IMSIG aims to provide a wide range of perspectives for medical students, especially for those unsure of what awaits their future.

Our main project this year has been in conjunction with a new organization on campus, the Preventative Medicine Interest Group, as well as the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics. This year-long community service project consists of monthly diabetes screenings at a local grocery store or Wal-Mart, directed toward the heavily Hispanic population of San Antonio. Utilizing a mini-grant from the Morehouse School of Medicine, we have funded the entire project. At each 2-3 hour screening, we screen about 100 people, young and old, healthy and diabetic. The first and second year medical students were trained on how to screen and counsel patients with diabetes by a registered dietitian.

One month after the screening, we call each patient who had a blood sugar reading within the pre-diabetes or diabetes range. We ask them questions based on the Stages of Change model, to determine if they have made any progress toward lowering their high reading. Have they visited a physician? Have they changed their diet? Have they started to exercise? Have they discussed diabetes and its risks with friends and family? After the phone interview, we send them information packets containing local clinic and prescription information as well as ACPís Living with Diabetes guide. If the patient does not have access to a glucometer, we send them a free glucometer as well. We will present our findings at the 2nd Annual Community Service Learning Conference at UTHSCSA this month.

Feedback from the patients as well as the students demonstrates how effective this project has become. Many patients are grateful to receive care and attention from the students, especially since many of them do not receive the same attention from their primary care provider, if they even have one. On the other hand, the students are in awe of the value of continuity of care. We do not have the opportunity to follow up with the patients we see on our ward service at school. For next year, we have been in contact with a regional manager of Wal-Martís pharmacy. We are working to establish a partnership to screen exclusively at Wal-Marts around San Antonio while they provide us with supplies and publicity.

Our final big event this year will be a dinner at the home David Hillis, MD, FACP, the Chairman of the Department of Medicine, which will be open to all student members of ACP. The dinner will enable students to interact with Dr. Hillis, in addition to several internal medicine faculty members, including Dr. Kristy Kosub, ACP Member, our faculty advisor. It will be a great event to end a very productive year from UTHSCSA IMSIG.

Ha Lam
Student Leader, Internal Medicine Student Interest Group
University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, Class of 2011
Email: lamhn@uthscsa.edu

Back to April 2009 Issue of IMpact

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