Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of Texas - Houston
The new 2011-2012 officers for AIMS (Association of Internal Medicine Students) at UT-Houston in the Texas Medical Center have collectively implemented the goal for our IMIG to be more active and hands-on than previous years, as well as to better involve our 3rd- and 4th-year members. To tackle this undertaking, we rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
We began by planning two lunch lectures in September to highlight the popular IM subspecialty choices cardiology and gastroenterology. Later in the month, we organized a dinner with residents and leaders from the Texas A&M Internal Medicine Residency Program, one of the larger and more popular IM programs in the state, for our 3rd- and 4th-year members. This event provided not only a great networking opportunity for our students preparing to apply for residency, but also a chance to discuss opportunities and program features specific to internal medicine training at Texas A&M.
We recently asked our faculty advisor, Mark Farnie, MD what skill his students were most deficient in coming into their Internal Medicine clerkship 3rd year. He replied, without hesitation, that third year clerks lacked phlebotomy skills, AIMS responded by organizing a blood draw skills session. After a short tutorial to kick off the session, the 2nd-year AIMS members began drawing blood from each other. The event was a success, and all participants came away with increased confidence and a few small hematomas.
Lastly, our officers selected the two most qualified 1st-year members for our "MS1 Committee," designed to better represent our first-year members, offer fresh ideas, and gain the necessary experience to lead AIMS as next year's officers. This eager committee is already at work enhancing our IMIG website and organizing a database of Internal Medicine physicians who are willing to mentor students interested in their subspecialties, and provide extensive shadowing opportunities. We feel that this database will be a valuable bridge between our members and IM faculty.
Our busy September has carried over into events planned for October and beyond. AIMS requires service in the community from its members, and our first sponsored event this year will be sorting medical supplies with Project C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment). Project C.U.R.E. goes out into underserved and international communities, assesses needs, and provides relief to these communities in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies each week.
October also marks the beginning of AIMS's new collaboration with the Baylor College of Medicine IMIG by holding a monthly journal club at the home of a sponsoring faculty member. In our first meeting we will discuss the landmark COURAGE and JUPITER trials with one of its authors, Dr. James T. Willerson, Professor, and Edward Randall III, Chair in Internal Medicine at UT and President of Texas Heart Institute. We are excited about this new opportunity for our members and grateful to Baylor for initiating our first collaborative event.
Looking ahead, AIMS will continue our tradition of promoting primary care by hosting a lunch meeting with the ACP Texas Chapter-sponsored General Internal Medicine Statewide Preceptorship Program (GIMSPP). GIMSPP matches students interested in internal medicine with physicians willing to work with them for four weeks of the summer between first and second year. This popular program provides students with valuable exposure to primary care, practice taking H&Ps, and interacting with real patients for the first time.
In the spring we will host a banquet at which our 4th-year students who have matched into various Internal Medicine residency programs can meet with our less-seasoned members. This banquet is also a great opportunity to recognize our 4th-year students for their long commitment to internal medicine. We believe that realizing these goals and providing these experiences for the next generation of internists and primary care physicians captures the spirit of internal medicine more fully. We feel our IMIG's activities effectively promote the spirit of scholarship, service, and community.
Clint Thurber, Class of 2014
UT Houston AIMS President