— MEDICAL SCHOOL —
MD-PhD student at the University of Mississippi
— GRADUATING CLASS —
The pathway to a dual-degree career by any route is long and daunting. For students in dual-degree programs, professional memberships can sometimes become difficult to prioritize.
I became a student member of the American College of Physicians (ACP) in my first year. At the time, I was not aware of how valuable ACP could be to me, particularly as an MD–PhD student. After I started my PhD training, I worried that my medical knowledge would diminish. I've spoken with many #DoubleDocs colleagues who have experienced this fear at some point during their research training. Nevertheless, I found solace in ACP's resources, which are free for all members—including students.
As physician–scientist hopefuls, we crave evidence: scientific evidence, evidence-based medicine, and facts. ACP members have access to all ACP publications, ranging from peer-reviewed literature (Annals of Internal Medicine) to the more informal ACP IMpact, which you are reading now! A feature that I find extremely useful is ACP's JournalWise, which alerts you to new articles on topics you choose from over 120 relevant journals. In the ACP Internist Weekly e-mail alone, members get access to a weekly summary of relevant current events in medicine, links to updates in practice guidelines, and new research findings. A particular favorite feature of mine is the weekly “Test Yourself” question directly from ACP's MKSAP content. This is meaningful to me because it represents an opportunity to access a quality question bank with a negligible time commitment during this phase of training when my medical knowledge is not an everyday focus.
Another valuable opportunity for ACP members that is useful for research-minded learners is the chance to attend local and national meetings. Many chapters use medical schools to host their meetings, which adds a convenience that many other scientific meetings do not afford. For example, I was able to attend morning sessions of our local ACP chapter meeting, walk to my laboratory and start an experiment, and then return for another talk in the afternoon. This is an excellent way to stay dually immersed without detracting from the task at hand.
Aside from gleaning up-to-date knowledge from the sessions, there is also the opportunity to present research of your own. Local and national ACP meetings provide the chance to enter an abstract competition at the medical student level in clinical or basic science categories, which provides an additional chance to hone presentation skills and inform others about your research. This is a win–win, because many attending and resident physicians and traditional medical students aren't aware of the research that is conducted in basic science laboratories. These encounters can translate into collaborative efforts that help bridge the gap between groups on campuses.
As medical student members of ACP, we have access to a wealth of resources. I have truly found a great home here, and I love taking advantage of the resources they offer to students in all stages of training.