FMIG Networking and Social Activity Ideas

The following programs and events were selected from FMIG Program of Excellence Award applications. Browse the list to get ideas and inspiration for your FMIG. Each entry shows the level of effort that went into the program/event, how many students participated, and a detailed description in the students' own words.


Apollo Society - Open Mic Sessions

FMIG: Uniformed Services University

What it took to organize: 2 students, 5 hours

Number of students who attended/participated: 50+

Details: The Apollo Society is an FMIG-sponsored organization dedicated to sharing and celebrating the artistic talents of the USU community. Whether one is an expert musician or writes short stories, the Apollo Society promotes community growth and camaraderie by encouraging all USU students, faculty, and staff members to share their artistic talents with the school during organized events. Examples of past performances include poetry readings, photography displays, a cappella performances, and musical instrument recitals. USU FMIG sponsors three to four open mic events each year, which are held during lunchtime for all interested students, staff, and faculty at the University-- about 100 people attend each event. The event has had an overwhelmingly positive response from the USU community and it continues to contribute to school spirit. The Apollo Society is a unique organization in that it harnesses the talents of our diverse community of individuals at USU and promotes wellness for both those who participate and those who attend the open mic performances by enabling various forms of artistic self-expression to be acknowledged by members of our community. It is one of the only events at the University that has active participation from multiple schools (School of Medicine, Graduate School of Nursing) as well as different groups at USU (faculty, staff and students)-- and this spring two accepted prospective students performed at an event in conjunction with their accepted-students’ day! The Apollo Society also sponsors a poetry contest as a prelude to the AOA poetry contest. Poetry can focus on a medical topic and thus offers an outlet for expression of work-related stress, dilemmas, and joy through a creative pursuit.

In addition, through the support of the AAFP, and the work of USU and FMIG Regional Coordinators, the Apollo Society idea and information has been shared with all FMIG members across the nation through the national website (housed by the AAFP) and disseminated through various telephone conference sessions. The USU FMIG will serve as the central conduit for this information, and help guide other schools in the formation and execution of their own Apollo Society. To date, 4 other schools have formed Apollo Society chapters.


Book Club/Writing Club

FMIG: Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine

What it took to organize: 4 students, 4 hours

Number of students who attended/participated: 10 students for Book Club, 5 students for Writing Club

Details: During the first two years of medical education, it is quite easy to get caught up in memorizing textbooks and forget the reason for coming to medical school in the first place. To combat the textbook doldrums, our FMIG group have a book club. Meeting as a group gave us a reason to set aside time to read something other than hard science. It also allowed us to explore in greater depth the career we have chosen by attending medical school, to begin to understand the challenges in medicine for which the answers don’t lie in a textbook. The books we decided to read were " Not All of us are Saints" by David Hilfiker and “The Country Doctor Revisited.” by Teresa Zink. Our faculty advisor, Dr. Zink, put together this collection of short stories from medical professionals who practiced in the rural US. Dr. Zink provided us each with a copy of the book and we discussed some of the challenges and benefits of working with underserved rural populations.

We chose these books not only because many of the stories were from Family Medicine doctors, but also because it allowed us to explore issues that arise in the practice of medicine. Each section had its own theme for which we would prepare thought provoking questions to initiate discussion. The topics ranged from working with patients whose beliefs about their ideal care differed from ours, to providing the best care possible in resource deficient areas, and the struggles of running a private practice or being contracted with a hospital. Any interested first or second year student could join. In total 10 students signed up and the usual meeting attendance was 6-10 students.

Dr. Zink developed a writing club for students who wanted to express themselves through writing. We meet on a monthly basis to discuss short pieces about medicine with various writing styles and topics. The writing group not only gives us a chance to work on our writing skills, but it also allows us to develop a healthy way of coping with some of the challenges we face as medical professionals. Currently, we have seven first and second year students as well as Dr. Zink and another professor who meet with us.


FMIG Fall BBQ and Planning Session

FMIG: University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine

What it took to organize: 3 students, 8 hours

Number of students who attended/participated: 25 students, 5 residents, 1 attending

Details: For the past several years, we have hosted a back to school leadership BBQ for medical students interested in FMIG involvement. Previously, we used the BBQ as a time for existing leadership to come together and plan events for the year. This year, we improved the program and invited residents and faculty as well as new medical students. In this way, we were able to increase interactions between residents and students at the start of the year.

The three FMIG co-chairs worked in coordination with the FMIG advisor to plan and facilitate the FMIG BBQ. The co-chairs coordinated food and activities for the evening and lead the leadership meeting. They also advertised the meeting to all medical school classes and members of the family medicine residency program.

At the beginning of the event, students and residents had the opportunity to interact with one another during the meal time. It was a great opportunity for older students to re-connect with other students after a summer of different experiences. In addition, it was a good opportunity to hear from several residents about the MU residency program, application process, and suggestions for medical school. We also had the opportunity to discuss life-family balance, academic vs community residencies, and practice models with the residents and attending.

After a time of socializing, we moved into the business aspect of the meeting. Both students and residents participated. We discussed events from previous years and ways to improve each to remain current and relevant to the medical students. We also discussed ways to improve interactions between students and family medicine residents and faculty. Event leaders recruited new medical students to help organize and facilitate events.


Membership Outreach, Socials and Professional Development

FMIG: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Student Family Medicine Association

What it took to organize: 2 students, 6 hours

Number of students who attended/participated: 18 (membership outreach), 11 (conference)

Details: The School of Medicine hosts a fair for student organizations, interest groups and community groups during the first week of orientation for first year medical students. Students are able to go around to tables to find clubs and groups that align with their interest. SFMA hosted a dynamic table with Italian ice, second year medical students and our faculty advisor. First year medical students were able to come to our table to learn about the different opportunities SFMA offers on campus, within the community and around the state. At our table students were able to talk to current students and sign up to become members of the national AAFP. We had approximately 75 first year medical students initially sign up to become members.

On Monday March 28th 2016 SFMA host its first social! We were able to use money we received from our state chapter to pay for appetizers at Capital Ale House, a local restaurant close to campus. We used data from the admissions office to gather a list of students that marked they were interested in Family Medicine on their application. Using this list we matched it against the list of students in SFMA. We reached out to students that were not for members of SMFA but marked that they were interested in Family Medicine on their application to medical school. We invited those students to our social, along with our current members. The social provided a casual atmosphere and food as a way to get students to talk to each other about why they were interested in Family Medicine. We provided students with brochures from the AAFP, information about upcoming events for SFMA and ways they could get involved both with SFMA and Family Medicine. We had 18 students attend and recruited 3 new members as a result of the social. This was SFMA’s first time recruiting students during the middle of the school year. We believed that the program was a success due to the volume of students that attended. In the future we will try to hold two socials, one in the fall and one in the spring.

SFMA is one of the largest student interest groups at our medical school. We have over 860 student members. We have a planning committee that is made up of 15 students. We open up our planning committee meetings to anyone who would like to attend, as a way to gather new ideas for our club.

SFMA members had the opportunity to attend the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians Wintergreen Conference. The conference was held in January of 2016. SFMA rented a house and sponsored 11 students to attend the conference. This was a great opportunity for first year medical students. Students attended maybe clinical lectures, many that were related to the marrow course that students had just completed. It provided an engaging environment for students to learn how to apply their newly acquired knowledge in a Family Practice setting. A couple of students attended a panel on resident research, where residents presented their research. It was an excellent way for students to appreciate the depth and variety of scope that encompassing Family Medicine research.

On Saturday night of the Wintergreen conference the students for VCU’s SFMA hosted a social with residents and VCU Family Medicine preceptors. There were 6 residents and 3 preceptors that joined the 11 SFMA members for dinner and socializing. The social provides a casual opportunity for students to learn about life as a resident. Students were able to ask residents questions related to the size of their residency program, why they choose that specific program and what future career plans they have. There was almost a one-to-one ratio of physician and residents to students, which allowed conversations to flow organically and last late into the evening.


Winter Physician, Resident and Medical Student Mixer

FMIG: Meharry Medical College

What it took to organize: 6 students, 5 hours

Number of students who attended/participated: 40

Details: Each year, our faculty advisor, Dr. Ruth Stewart, hosts Meharry family physicians, residents, and FMIG members at her residence for an evening of food and discussion regarding life as a family physician. In addition to Meharry physicians, this year, we also had the added unique perspective of a family physician practicing in a community setting serving residents of the East Nashville area. Through this mixer, we wanted to expose students to family physicians practicing in different settings, give students the opportunity to ask family physicians about the scope of their practice, and create an opportunity for students interested in family medicine to network with one another. The executive board worked closely with the faculty advisor to identify the best date and time for the event based on student schedules, and once identified, disseminated information regarding the event via electronic invitations.

The family physicians in attendance each discussed their backgrounds with regards to their medical education, how they chose family medicine, how their careers had shifted over the course of the years working as family physicians, and where they envisioned the trajectory of their career path. They also discussed the opportunities for students to engage in fellowships, such as those in Emergency Medicine, and Obstetrics, as well as funding opportunities related to programs such as the National Health Service Corps, and loan repayment options. The additional perspective of a family physician in private/community practice provided students exposure to learning about what to consider when going into private practice, and how the life of a community physician differs from that of a family physician working in an academic setting.

Overall, student participation increased from last year, and we also had in attendance a few students that we invited from Vanderbilt's FMIG, which we saw as important in bridging the gap between our FMIGs.