Role of an FMIG

Medical specialty interest groups are prevalent on medical school campuses across the country, providing forums for students interested in particular areas of medicine. Like other student clubs or activities, these interest groups are student-run with oversight by a faculty advisor. Through these groups, students cultivate their interests and leadership potential, get involved in community service and mentoring activities, and focus on their future as physicians.

Family Medicine Interest Groups (FMIGs) are an excellent resource for students interested in exploring family medicine in an informal, but educational (and fun!) setting. FMIGs provide programming and information that may not be offered in the medical school curriculum. Medical students can hear about the history of family medicine and its future and be exposed to a wide range of clinical skills and procedures important to family physicians.

A national FMIG network facilitates the communication and sharing of best practices between FMIGs across the country. FMIGs engage in many worthwhile activities, such as:

  • Collaborating with other interest groups to create programming and to promote events like Primary Care Week, “Cover the Uninsured” Week or and minorities in medicine.
  • Participating in community service opportunities, including health fairs and screenings, student-run health clinics, caring for the homeless and visiting children’s hospitals.
  • Conducting clinical skills workshops with neighboring medical schools and/or residents and physicians in the community.

FMIGs receive national recognition from the AAFP through the Program of Excellence (PoE) Award and other mechanisms at the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students.

Participation in an FMIG also affords the opportunity for leadership development through a variety of volunteer roles, including president, community service coordinator, and student membership coordinator. Many FMIG leaders go on to hold leadership positions at the state and national levels of the AAFP throughout their careers.

For more information on the value of being involved in the AAFP, visit the Make a Difference section.

Starting an FMIG

Starting an FMIG may seem like a daunting task but the AAFP, your AAFP State Chapter and your school have resources that can help you.

First, the AAFP doesn’t have specific requirements that must be met in order for your FMIG to be an “official” group. However, your school might require certain paperwork so 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.

Here are the basic things that you need to think about when 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?