• FMIG Role Helped Student Leader Affirm Specialty Choice

    May 9, 2024, David Mitchell — North Carolina’s nearly two dozen family medicine residency programs should be well acquainted with Colleen Yang because the third-year medical student has already been to the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students twice.

    Yang will be back in Kansas City, Mo., for the annual event Aug. 1-3 as the Region 5 (Southeastern U.S.) coordinator of the AAFP’s Family Medicine Interest Group Network.

    “I’m excited to go to National Conference in this role,” Yang said. “It’s been great. I really like the AAFP staff and working with the team.”

    Regional coordinators communicate with FMIG leaders at each school in their respective region, sharing AAFP student resources. They also share information about FMIG activities at schools in their region with other coordinators and AAFP staff each month in virtual meetings. The student leaders also develop and execute FMIG programming for National Conference, including the FMIG Summit.

    Yang first attended National Conference on an AAFP Foundation scholarship in 2022 after her first year at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. The Durham native spent much of her time meeting with North Carolina programs in the Expo Hall because she hopes to train at an in-state residency. Last year she attended National Conference as her state chapter’s student delegate to the National Congress of Student Members.

    “I won’t be as busy with Congress this time,” she said. “I enjoy the workshops, so that’s what I’m going to focus on this time.”

    Yang’s grandfather was a doctor in the family’s rural village in China, but that connection isn’t what drew her to medicine. She spent her first two years of high school at Durham’s City of Medicine Academy, a magnet school with an emphasis on health and life sciences.

    “I found out I really liked health science classes,” she said. “We wore scrubs to school. It felt like you were going into a health care environment. I liked it and chose premed in college on the basis of that.”

    As an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina, Yang volunteered at a local hospital, worked as a certified nurse assistant in a nursing home and hospital and later as a medical scribe in an emergency room.

    “I could see the physicians working 12-hour night shifts and being burned out from acute care,” she said. “That’s not for me.”

    Yang instead picked Campbell because of the school’s emphasis on primary care.

    “Family medicine was something I could see myself doing because it involved kids and adults,” she said. “I want to reach as many people as I can instead of having a narrow niche. I want to be on the front lines where I can help a lot of people and be able to point people in the right direction when I can’t.”

    Yang, who also has served as a student member of the NCAFP Foundation’s Board of Trustees, joined the family medicine interest group at Campbell and was its president during her second year.

    “I got involved in what events and speakers we would bring in and started investing more time and energy into it and thinking more about family medicine,” she said. “I networked with family physicians and found that the FMIG activities really fit me and my personality. The people in family medicine are nice, friendly and laid back. I liked the continuous aspect of care as well as the preventive aspect. You can help patients on a broad level.”

    Yang will graduate next summer and hopes to match at an in-state residency program. She already has an away rotation scheduled with one of the North Carolina programs for the fall. First, she’ll be back in the National Conference Expo Hall this summer to try and find her match.

    “I’ve already talked to a lot of the North Carolina programs, some of them a couple of times,” she said with a laugh. “I hope they don’t get tired of talking to me. I’ve already asked them questions, but this time it will be more focused.”