NEOMED’s Vascular Surgery Interest Group (VSIG) aids College of Medicine students in furthering their knowledge and interest in areas related to vascular surgery through lectures, panel discussions, workshops and seminars. Co-presidents and second-year medicine students Jay Natarajan and Sanjay Jinka share more about the student organization and how it will stay active, even if it means virtually, this year.
Tell us about VSIG.
JN and SJ: VSIG aims to bring awareness to the field of vascular surgery, which deals with arterial, venous and lymphatic disorders through medical and surgical techniques.
VSIG gives students exposure to a field they might not have heard of otherwise. It connects students with practicing physicians – something that is especially important at a time when COVID-19 makes it difficult to meet and network with physicians.
We work closely with our advisor, Joseph McShannic, M.D., and his colleagues at Summa Health, to connect students with faculty members who practice vascular surgery. We are also registered with the Society for Vascular Surgery, which allows us to interact with program directors on a national level.
Who can become involved with VSIG?
JN and SJ: We encourage students at all levels of education to join. For preclinical students, we hope to provide early exposure to vascular surgery — a subspecialty that many students often don’t hear about during the first years of medical school. For clinical students, we hope VSIG can help facilitate connections between physician advisors and students — something that can be very helpful in establishing research projects and networking.
Why else do you encourage students to join VSIG?
JN and SJ: Vascular surgery is a surgical subspecialty that does not get a lot of exposure among first- and second-year students. As a result, students with a potential interest in this specialty may not learn about this field, understand what it takes to get involved and develop a more competitive CV, until later on in their medical school career. This is also a surgical field that has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years, with a new, five-year integrated residency and plenty of employment opportunities for those coming out of medical school.
How will VSIG stay active, even if it means virtually, this year?
JN and SJ: VSIG is privileged to work with Dr. McShannic, who plans to make accommodations with the new Zoom format in order to still give the NEOMED students exposure to the field and the wide variety of treatments that this area utilizes in practice. Also, we hope to hold a surgery simulator event to provide students with more hands-on insight into the technological advancements in a field that is known to be very technologically-forward in clinical practice.