NEOMED’s Student Organization of the Year award recognizes one outstanding student organization for its continued contribution to the University, service to the community, educational program offerings and demonstration of effective leadership within the department. Meet the recently crowned student organization of the year: the American Academy of Family Physicians—Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG). Nice work, FMIG!
Co-presidents Miah Brawley, M2, and Laura Yeater, M2, call the FMIG “the group that has the most fun on campus.” Read on to learn more about it, through their eyes.
What is the FMIG?
MB: The Family Medicine Interest Group is a student-run group with a goal of expanding the family medicine workforce by exposing students to meaningful experiences and building camaraderie between students throughout all four years of medical school.
Achieving this goal would not be possible without our excellent advisors in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Stacey Gardner-Buckshaw, Ph.D.; Michael Appleman, M.A.Ed.; John Boltri, M.D.; David Sperling, M.D.; Janice Spalding, M.D. (’87); and Dinah Fedyna, M.D. It is amazing having advisors who respect our autonomy and ability to lead while still offering great advice and continual support.
Tell us about your meetings and events.
MB: Instead of regularly meeting, we choose to provide frequent events for our members. For our work with the Primary Care Leadership Collaborative (PCLC), we meet once monthly via Zoom with a resident in Georgia who serves as our coach
LY: This year, we had events like Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) conversations with residency program chairs, fireside chats at our advisors’ homes, residency-preparation events, a women’s health workshop, a sports medicine workshop and more.
What type of work does the FMIG do outside of NEOMED?
LY: For example, on a volunteer day at Highland Middle School we teach the students about anatomy with cadaveric specimens, educate on blood pressure assessment, and talk with the students about their career aspirations. We hope to expand this activity to two schools next year.
Is the FMIG involved in any type of advocacy?
LY: The FMIG is involved in the Primary Care Leadership Collaborative, a partnership among the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Primary Care Progress, Family Medicine for America’s Health, and family medicine interest groups across the nation. Only 12 schools were selected to be a part of this endeavor, and because our membership in the PCLC, members from our group were able to attend a special training at the national AAFP conference in Kansas City.
Our Primary Care Leadership Collaborative team has also been involved in helping to shape NEOMED’s new curriculum and helping improve primary care experiences throughout medical school and in our community.
Why should incoming and current students join the FMIG?
MB: Besides the fact that we are the group that has the most fun on campus? I think ALL students should join so they can get exposure and experience with primary care. Even if you plan to be a neurosurgeon or a gastroenterologist, you will work with primary care physicians, so it helps to understand and respect their role in medicine.
Our events and physicians share knowledge that can be applied to many different career paths, like our suturing workshop and our budgeting event, “Can I Afford Primary Care?”
"Can I Afford Primary Care?" is our attempt to debunk the rumor that primary care physicians do not make enough money to pay off loans and lead a comfortable lifestyle. Dr. Boltri shows students a template budget and gives advice on how to handle finances through his own experiences. Learning about these technical aspects is helpful l for any student, since we will all have to budget and pay back loans.
The FMIG provides a warm and friendly community. I have met some of my favorite study mates and some of my best mentors through it. The level of involvement by both students, faculty, and community physicians is truly what makes FMIG a unique experience.
LY: I would have never imagined the impact that FMIG would have on my life. It has changed me from a run-of-the-mill medical student who didn’t have much differentiating her from the pack to an award-winning, experienced presenter with many leadership and networking skills. FMIG helped me to find my place on campus and I am not sure if I would have had the same level of academic and personal success without it.
If you're struggling to find your place at NEOMED, aren't sure what kind of doctor you want to be or feel like you don’t matter—the Family Medicine Interest Group is for you. You can find a home there and the kind of support that is needed to make you shine. The teamwork, camaraderie and support in the Department of Family and Community Medicine is unbelievable, and I always know that when I show up to an FMIG event that I will be greeted with a smile.