After determining your FMIG’s goals, your group may want to brainstorm about possible programming ideas that help achieve these goals. For some FMIGs, these range from community service projects to clinical skills workshops. FMIG programming usually falls into one of these categories:
FMIGs may also provide special programming for third- and fourth-year students.
Some programming ideas are below. For more information about programming, check out the Program of Excellence (PoE) winning profiles.
- Lunch and learns: Whether your FMIG chooses to have a discussion or a presentation, lunch and learns are a great way to attract new members and to keep your current members involved. A couple of ideas include:
- Invite local family physicians to talk about their experiences
- Ask several family medicine residents from different backgrounds to discuss the diversity of residencies that are available
- Dinner presentations
- Strolling Through the Match presentation: The AAFP can provide your FMIG with Strolling Through the Match books and a customizable PowerPoint presentation. Order free books through the AAFP catalog. Some FMIGs choose to make this a series of presentations.
These workshops give students an opportunity to learn and practice procedural skills. Your FMIG may want to recruit some residents to help with the demonstrations and to act as patients, if needed. There are several different types of workshops, these are listed below.
- Family medicine procedures workshop -- Blood pressure; ear, nose and throat exam; heart sounds, x-rays; casting; and suturing
- Topical procedures workshop -- Maternity care: pelvic exam, birth control counseling, prenatal blood pressure
- Public health -- Immunizations, HIV/AIDS counseling, blood pressure
Some FMIGs have made a commitment to performing one community service project a month, others only commit to one service project per year. These types of projects don’t always have to require a major time commitment from all FMIG members. Community service projects can range from volunteering at a clinic to sending holiday cards to elderly residents of a nursing home or collecting canned food for a local food pantry. Community service projects are also a great collaborative activity with other organizations on your campus that have similar mission statements such as AMSA, SNMA, LMSA or others. Some examples of service projects include:
- Tar Wars
- AIM (Americans in Motion- supported by the AAFP)
- Community health fair
- Student-run free health clinic
- School-based wellness/health education program
Some things to keep in mind when planning a community service project:
- Identifying a charity or recipient: This is often driven by student preferences and local needs of the college, hospital, or community. Sometimes collaboration with another group already operating a successful service project is the best choice.
- Defining goals: What is the ultimate goal of the project and can it be easily defined for promotion? Is this going to be a fundraiser or directed volunteer service? Will it be at one location or multiple? Is it community or hospital-based?
- Informing the larger community: Service projects often capture the interest of the public beyond the FMIG and perhaps beyond the college and hospital. This is often a good opportunity to inform news media of your event, both for the value of locating more volunteers or contributors and for the publicity value for your group and your school.
- Promoting service learning: With a little advance thought, the experience can be transitioned into service learning. This can be as easy as adding components of journaling about the experience and evaluating its effect.
The social aspect of an FMIG allows members to forge friendships with students who have similar interests.
- Match dinner -- Have 4th year medical students who matched into FM residency programs come to a dinner with younger students to celebrate the Match and discuss the Match process. Strolling Through the Match books can also be handed out.
- Bowling, movie night, sports events
- Faculty-sponsored dinners -- Many faculty members will support dinners at their homes for FMIG members
- Retreats -- Some FMIGs will plan off-site retreats for students and family medicine faculty members so that they are able to bond outside of the medical school
- Holiday party/luncheon
Educating Students About Family Medicine
- Invite the president of your AAFP constituent chapter to speak
- Encourage involvement in National Primary Care Day activities
- Have a family physician as keynote speaker
- Create fliers listing family medicine facts
- Develop mentoring and shadowing programs
- Advocate for required family medicine clerkships and rotations
- Hold activities in and take students to visit different practice settings
- Create an informational bulletin board
- Host talks on research in primary care and arrange for summer experiences
- Hold a forum/panel of family physicians from a variety of backgrounds and practices to acquaint students with the breadth of family medicine
- Hold mock interviews
- Have a residency fair
- Offer Strolling Through the Match (an AAFP program along with an excellent workbook)
- Stage a panel discussion with residents
- Schedule a debt management workshop
- Hold skills workshops (EKG, stress testing and colposcopy)
- Provide information on electives in family medicine
- Develop a mentoring program
- Set up practice management sessions
- Have workshops on death and dying/sharing difficult news
- Provide sessions on “How to Choose a Residency”
- Discuss managed care and health care reform
- Sponsor mock interviews for students
- Organize community service projects for fourth-years