Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of California, Irvine
In the early 1900s, Sir William Osler proclaimed that "the very first step towards success in any occupation is to become interested in it." A century later, medical students at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), are taking this step by participating in the Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG). The IMIG at UCI was established in 1999 and revitalized in 2009 with the purpose of fostering professional growth and career development of students interested in internal medicine. For the past two years, the diverse leadership team has doubled in size, and more than 33% of medical students at UCI are now ACP student members. The IMIG at UCI has grown extensively and refined programs that empower students to become successful internists.
The Executive Board structure allows for the best implementation and sustainability of programs. The Co-Presidents, one second-year and one third-year student, direct the group's internal and external affairs. Selected second-year students serve as Vice President of Outreach, Co-Vice Presidents of Education, and Co-Vice Presidents of the Mentor Program. After serving as a Co-President or Vice President, third- and fourth-year students are Board Members and Senior Advisors, respectively. The faculty advisor and UCI Internal Medicine Residency Program Director, Dr. Lloyd Rucker, is an integral part of the Executive Board and the success of IMIG.
Several UCI IMIG programs teach members about the many primary care and subspecialty pathways in internal medicine. For instance, monthly Subspecialty Spotlights and annual participation in National Primary Care Week offer candid physician-led forums. Students learn about fellowship and a "day in the life" of the physician, oftentimes with video examples of diagnostic data, such as an echocardiogram or colonoscopy.
Members of IMIG are also paired with a physician as part of the Mentor "Match" Program. Physicians from UCI Medical Center, clinics, and the Veterans Affairs Long Beach Medical Center mentor students whose interests range from single-visit exposure to monthly visits. The IMIG at UCI also established the I'M Interested newsletter and distributed four editions to all medical students in order to supplement and promote IMIG events.
The IMIG at UCI expands student knowledge through programs that integrate medical students, internal medicine residents, chief residents, and faculty. Monthly case presentations with Dr. Rucker allow students to fine-tune their diagnostic skills. Case topics correlate with the basic science curriculum. Thus, these interactive sessions give students a break from flashcards and textbooks and show them how to approach cases through the eyes of an internist.
Other events use the new simulation center at the School of Medicine. A "Sim Lab" event had students rotate in groups of three to four to assess and manage hospitalized patients with the help of residents. A station dedicated to questions and answers about internal medicine with Dr. Matthew Butteri, the Internal Medicine Clerkship Director, was an insightful "rest stop" between the challenging simulation stations. A large procedure workshop with the residents; chiefs; and faculty, including Dr. Elizabeth Turner, UCI Medical Intensive Care Unit Director, allowed students to practice ultrasound-guided central line placement, thoracentesis, lumbar puncture, and intubation.
The vision of UCI IMIG goes beyond local hospitals and current students. Future goals include establishing an annual research scholarship, expanding the Mentor Program, and strengthening outreach with the local ACP Chapter. Students at UCI have attended local and national meetings and successfully participated in ACP competitions. Because an IMIG board member serves on the local Governor's Council, there is ample opportunity for further collaboration.
With continuation of programs and implementation of future plans, UCI IMIG will keep inspiring medical students to take the step and pursue a career in internal medicine. Special thanks to past and current chief residents, faculty mentors, and those who have played an integral role in the establishment and revitalization of UCI IMIG.
Erum Iqbal, Class of 2013, Co-President
Brian Luu, Class of 2014, Co-President
Heather Sand, Class of 2012, Senior Advisor