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Using Student Interest Groups to Train Medical Students to Lead

Purpose: Medical student interest groups (SIG) serve as students’ introduction to medical specialties. The student leaders of these groups are driven and demonstrate leadership ability early in their careers. Connecting these student leaders with young physicians can improve specialty matriculation, leadership among new residents, and foster mentorship in the organization.

Background: The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has leadership positions for residents, however, less for medical students, who are encouraged to participate in meetings rather than engage.  SIG leaders have not been a focus of recruitment for ACOG, however, these students are primed to become leaders in ACOG upon completion of medical school. 

Methods: Prior to the 2017 ACOG’s Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting, we contacted medical students registered for the meeting to identify any SIG leaders. A meeting was arranged for student leaders to meet with several national representatives. The group of 17 students was introduced to the structure and benefits of the organization and given training for optimizing SIG function and efficacy. Through our survey, all students appreciated the information about ACOG, ideas on how to improve their SIG, and resources available through ACOG, rating it as just the right of information or stated they would like to hear more.

Results: Sixty four percent were planning on establishing a generic SIG email to improve communication with ACOG while 23% already had one. When asked if they felt prepared to take the information back to their SIGs, all students answered positively. Only three of the 17 students had read a leadership book and all students said they would love to participate in a more formal leadership training. 

Discussions: Medical student leadership represents a natural group to become future ACOG leaders. Given the barrier of contacting the SIG leaders, we recommended establishing a generic email address for groups (eg OBGYNSIG@***). All students wanted leadership training and to be involved in ACOG. In conclusion, medical SIG leaders are an enthusiastic and untapped resource who will become our colleagues. Connecting with student leaders at organizational meetings secures future leadership and continued engagement after medical student graduation. 

Topics: Independent Study, GME, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Professionalism, Clerkship Coordinator, Clerkship Director, Faculty, Student, 2019, CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting,

General Information


Intended
Audience
Student,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Competencies
Addressed
Professionalism,Systems-Based Practice & Improvement,
Educational
Continuum
GME,
Educational
Focus
Independent Study,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Kate Arnold, MD, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center; Katherine McHugh, MD

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