January 30, 2009

Sick of the club facade.

I just received an invitation to the first "Pulmonology Medicine Interest Group" meeting ever! (for my school.)  The signature was questionably left blank as was the agenda.

Frankly, I am getting quite tired of the "Interest Group facade."  I was pretty involved in the Interest groups as an MS-1 -- there certainly seemed to be a lot of them.  Here's the list I compiled from last year:
  • American Medical Student Association
  • Business of Medicine
  • Cardiology Interest Group
  • Christian Medical and Dental Association
  • Emergency Medicine Interest Group
  • Family Medicine Interest Group
  • Geriatrics Interest Group
  • Global Health Interest Group 
  • Indigenous Medical Student Group
  • Infectious Disease Interest Group
  • Internal Medicine Interest Group 
  • LGBT group
  • Medical Student Mentorship Program
  • OB/GYN Interest Group 
  • Pediatrics Interest Group
  • Philippino Student Medical Association
  • Psychiatry Interest Group
  • Student Interest Group in Neurology
  • Surgery Interest Group 
That's an impressive number of active clubs.  I emphasize ACTIVE based on emails only since I obviously don't go to all of them.  There's been a number of flops.  I recall the development of an Asian-Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) that sort of disappeared (ironic, considering that the majority of our students fall into this category.)  I attempted to start up an Ethics Club in my first year, but only two other students showed up.  It was then that I realized -- medical students are busy, especially third years.  We've got such a small class size... you're lucky if you can get 5 or 6 people to show up for an interest group meeting.

Now theres the Opthalmology Interest Group and the Rural Health Interest Group to add to the list of club spams.  I signed up to be a part of the RHIG because I am interested in the idea even though my stay in Maui means I won't be able to actually go to any meetings.  I haven't heard of any future meetings though.

Certainly, there are some that are more successful, like the Surgery Interest Group (I showed up to a meeting for some food) and the Emergency Medicine Group (again, food is a big bonus.)  Really, food+drinks (depending on alcoholic content) + sociability (rubbing elbows/nose against something else with doctors in your desired profession) is the only motivation to draw people out of their homes and study carrels to an Interest Group meeting.  It's an academic thing that doesn't give you credit.  Unless you're a club officer, I suppose.  And that's the crux of the whole thing... why I'm calling BS on the whole idea.

There was a time at my med school when there was just one interest group -- family medicine.  Other interest groups came and went, but they stuck around and continue to host Tar Wars as a community service activity.  They were by far the most popular club.

My rant is certainly based on this bias that Subspecialty interest groups contribute little to the interest in these specialties unless they can persist beyond their originators and for more nobler reasons than resume padding.

I can't speak for other students, but I certainly think "wow, another club? really?" when I get emails about the "first meeting" of _____(insert sub-specialty here) interest group.  How many of these people are really going to pursue a career in opthalmology, cardiology or pulmonology?  I feel like they are diluting the Primary Care clubs like Internal Medicine (who can easily host talks on Neurology, Optho, Cards and Pulm), Family Medicine (of which I am a part, though I've gone to ZERO meetings this year), Pediatrics, Psych, etc. UGH.

Sorry.  I had to get that out of my system.

No comments:

Post a Comment