Starting a Family Medicine Interest Group
Mission Statements, Goals, and Leadership Structures
Before You Begin
The AAFP doesn’t have specific requirements that must be met in order for your FMIG to be an “official” group. However, because your school might require certain paperwork, it is suggested that you contact the department at your school that is responsible for student clubs to make sure that your group is registered (and "official") with your school. This could be the student government association, the dean’s office, student services, or others.
Across the country, FMIGs vary greatly in their size, leadership structure, mission statements, programming and community service activities.
Consider these questions as you start your FMIG:
- Who are the leaders and what kind of leadership structure works for our group?
- What kind of programming will we do for students?
- What are the goals of our group?
- How will we attract students to the group?
- Who will be the faculty advisor(s) for our group?
Establishing Your FMIG
Each FMIG has the responsibility of setting goals and writing a mission statement. Some examples of goals may be to participate in a community service every month or to increase involvement from M3 and M4 students. It is important that your FMIG set both short- and long-term goals. Below are some examples of FMIG mission statements and goals.
Examples of Mission Statements:
“The Family Medicine Interest Group strives to aid in professional development, cultivate interest in Family Medicine, provide an outlet for serving our community, and promote social activities for our members.”
“The mission of the Family Medicine Interest Group is to foster interest and learning in students about the area of Family Medicine, with the intention of recruiting aspiring physicians to become Family Medicine Physicians.”
Examples of FMIG Goals:
- Education – increase awareness and educate medical students about family medicine. Assist in residency searches and understanding the match.
- Professional development – Provide opportunities for mentorship, networking, and leadership development for medical students and family medicine residents.
- Outreach – conduct community service projects on behalf of patients in the city and the surrounding areas.
- Advocacy – Shape health care policy through interactions with government, the public, and physician organizations at local, state and national levels.
- Pipeline to Family Medicine – Organize a sequence of programs that will identify and cultivate future family physicians from middle school to residency.
- Increase interest in Family Medicine by exposing students to wide variety of opportunities that are available in Family Medicine, such as increasing different workshops at the Procedures Fair.
- Increase community outreach by raising money for a local nonprofit health related organization and increasing the number of volunteers at the free health clinic.
- Provide support to Humanities activities on campus.
- Improve patient education program at Saturday Free Clinic.
In addition to setting an FMIG’s goals, an FMIG leader may want to define individual goals.
Recruiting students to hold leadership positions in your FMIG is an important step to building a strong foundation for your group. The most effective way to recruit leaders is to sell the position by highlighting some of the benefits of the position. These include:
- Personal opportunity to explore the family medicine specialty
- Meeting family medicine doctors
- Forming a relationship with the dean/department of family medicine
- Free dinners and fun activities
- Building a resume/curriculum vitae
- Becoming involved in a national family medicine professional organization
The best strategy for continuing a strong FMIG is to have outgoing officers recruit volunteers to run for their positions in the upcoming year. Another way to guarantee candidates is to publicize the election several weeks in advance to give members the chance to consider running for office and do some research about what is involved.
Keep in mind that finding new leadership doesn't end with elections. That's just the start. Use the rest of the year to find volunteers to coordinate special events. For example, interested third- and fourth-year students can plan events for Part II of the Boards, residency dinners, interviewing workshops, etc. Upperclassmen, due to their busy clerkship schedules, may only want to be in charge of one event. Try to accommodate all interested students' schedules and needs—it's the best way to capitalize on good leadership and expand your programming.
The leadership structure of an FMIG should reflect the unique strengths and needs of that individual group. Although the number of leaders and the responsibilities of each position can be decided by the FMIG, it is suggested that each group have at least a president and a treasurer.
Examples of leadership structures at several FMIGs of varying sizes:
|SCHOOL A||SCHOOL B||SCHOOL C||SCHOOL D|
|SCHOOL A: President||SCHOOL B: President||SCHOOL C: President||SCHOOL D : President|
|SCHOOL A: Vice President||SCHOOL B: Vice President||SCHOOL C: Vice President||SCHOOL D : Vice President|
|SCHOOL A: Community Service Coordinator||SCHOOL B: Treasurer||SCHOOL C: Recruitment||SCHOOL D : Secretary|
|SCHOOL A: Social Events Coordinator||SCHOOL B: Community Service Chair||SCHOOL C: Communications||SCHOOL D : Treasurer|
|SCHOOL A: Public Affairs Coordinator||SCHOOL B: Professional Development Chair||SCHOOL C: Secretary||SCHOOL D : M1 Representative|
|SCHOOL A: Clinical Skills Coordinator||SCHOOL B: Public Relations Chair||SCHOOL C: Tar Wars||SCHOOL D :|
|SCHOOL A: Residency Fair Coordinators||SCHOOL B: Membership Chair||SCHOOL C: M1 Representatives||SCHOOL D :|
|SCHOOL A: Class Representatives (from all four classes)||SCHOOL B: Social Chair||SCHOOL C: M3/M4 Representatives||SCHOOL D :|
|SCHOOL A: Resident Advisors||SCHOOL B: M1 Representatives (3)||SCHOOL C:||SCHOOL D :|
|SCHOOL A: Faculty Advisors||SCHOOL B:||SCHOOL C:||SCHOOL D :|