PM&R Medical Student Fairs

Interested in hosting a fair? The AAP can help!

Hosting a PM&R Medical Student Fair at your institution is a great way to introduce medical students to the specialty and provide them with a hands-on look into the world of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

What is a PM&R Fair? A PM&R fair is an event that showcases the various aspects of physiatry and rehabilitation medicine. Students are presented with a unique opportunity to learn about the specialty by meeting physiatrists and experiencing hands-on demonstrations, didactics and technological presentations.

This toolkit can help you get started with everything from a grant application to a sample budget and planning guide. If you have any questions, contact the AAP via email or call 410-654-1000.

Planning Timeline

You may find it helpful to follow this guideline in preparing for your fair. We have organized the timeline in terms of meetings and what you should focus on accomplishing.

Meeting 1

When: 8 weeks before the fair
Who: You and your PM&R student interest group
What: Meet with the PM&R interest group leaders at your medical school to discuss the idea of planning a PM&R fair.

Meeting 2

When: 7 weeks before the fair
Who: PM&R fair leaders including you, the PM&R student interest group executive board and physician advisor(s)
What: This Meeting’s objective is to determine the logistics for your event.

  • Choose a location. Ideas include your school, your local rehab hospital or rehab department of a community hospital.
  • Decide who to invite. Do you want to limit your list to your own medical school or multiple medical schools in the surrounding area? This may depend on the size of the venue and your budget.
  • Find a date and time. Consider the length of the event when choosing the start time. For example, you may wish to have students rotate through 5-6 20-minute stations. Make sure you have ample time to set-up prior to and clean up after. Further, discussing different dates with the dean of student affairs and/or your counselors may help your team decide the best date that will be conducive to the schedules of all the students. Pay special attention to the schedules of the first and second year medical students at your school because they will be the main prospects for your event. If you are going to invite multiple schools to your event, think about those schools schedules too. Helpful hint: If you are planning on having multiple schools come, bring on volunteers from the other schools to help promote and your plan your event.
  • Determine the budget. Funding can come from a variety of sources, such as: your student activities office, the PM&R department at your medical school, funds raised by the PM&R interest group, your local PM&R charter, national PM&R organizations, and private funding. The AAP also offers grants to student PM&R interest groups who are planning fairs.

Meeting 3

When: 6 weeks before the fair
Who: PM&R fair leaders
What: Determine the activities that you would like for your event. Your team must think about the number of volunteers for the event (more is better), types of volunteers you can obtain, and resources your school and/or hospital have to offer. A list of activities in different PM&R specialties are as follows:

  • Sports & Musculoskeletal Medicine: physical exam of the shoulder or knee; diagnostic ultrasound of the shoulder or knee; ultrasound-guided injections of the shoulder or knee; platelet rich plasma to speed up the healing process; splinting, bracing and casting; SMART technique
  • Neuroscience: treatment after spinal cord injuries; treatment after stroke and brain injuries; botulinum toxin injections; patient lecture; exercise to treat Parkinson's Disease
  • Electrodiagnostic Medicine: nerve conduction studies and EMG
  • General Rehabilitation: prosthetics and orthotics; wheelchair basics; the role of service dogs; acupuncture; osteopathic manipulation; looking at x-rays MRIs and CT scans
  • Spine & Interventional Pain: manual medicine for lower back pain; spinal injections under fluoroscopic-guidance; botulinum toxin for pain management; trigger point injections; joint injections; stem cell treatments for osteoarthritis; ultrasound guided nerve block
  • Pediatric Rehabilitation: exercise for pediatric pain; intrathecal baclofen pumps for spasticity

You will also need to determine how many event volunteers you need. Each station requires a collaborative team to ensure the event runs smoothly and meets your objectives. Once volunteer assignments are determined, begin recruiting the people who will fill those roles. Here's a sample volunteer checklist:

  • 1-2 medical students for each station
  • 1 resident for each station
  • 1 physician, mid-level provider (PA,NP, PT) or sales-rep for each station
  • 1-2 students from your school and each participating school for event promotion
  • Day-of volunteers to help out with checking in students, passing out food, decorating, and overall event organization. The number of volunteers needed for the fair will depend on the size of your event, number of stations you have, and how difficult it will be for attendees to navigate through your event without getting lost. Helpful Hint: To cut down on the number of volunteers needed, these volunteers could be the students and residents who are making the plans for the different stations.

Finally, now is the time to finalize your event logistics.

  • Decide how much food you need for your guests based on what is most appropriate for your guests and within budget. Don’t forget to be mindful of specific needs such as vegetarians and religious requirements.
  • Determine your pre-event speakers. This role is important in welcoming guests and providing an overview of the evening. Keep your guests interested! Don’t pick a lecturer who will put everyone to sleep.
  • Parking for event should be free if possible. It is important to discuss how to obtain parking plans. You should start by contacting the hospital security office.
  • Discuss decor. A small portion of the budget should be set aside for decorations. Welcoming tables with balloons and table clothes with your school’s colors will set the tone for a well-planned fair.
  • Make plans for cleaning up. Determine whether you'll do it yourselves or make special arrangements by speaking with an executive of custodial activities.

Meeting 4

When: 5 weeks before the fair
Who: PM&R fair leaders
What: Develop a contact checklist (including all volunteers, event location contacts, etc.) and promote your event with digital and hard copy advertisements that include an RSVP date and address.

Meeting 5

When: 4 weeks before the fair
Who: Everyone, including all volunteers
What: Meet with all your volunteers to discuss final event plans and expected duties of each station team.

  • Develop a station lesson and activity plan
  • Obtain all necessary equipment for each station. Generally, equipment is obtained through borrowing or receiving donations from your local hospital, school or sales representative. Some things can be made at home using simple household supplies (ex. gelatin molds for U/S guided injections).
  • Meet weekly with each team to discuss plans for their station until the day of the event. They should have a total of 4 official meetings. Contact station leaders each week to discuss updates of their station, including lists of completed tasks and necessary tasks to complete.

Meeting 6

When: 2 weeks before the fair
Who: PM&R fair leaders
What: Finalize the guest list and contact all guests to confirm via email. Contact all volunteers, vendors, and caterers to confirm plans. You will have 2 weeks now in case anyone cancels in order to find replacement. Be on top of your team.

Meeting 7

When: 1 week before the fair
Who: PM&R fair leaders and each station team individually
What: Meet with groups individually to see what they have planned and finalize plans for each individual station.

Have fun at your event!

Apply for a Grant

Beyond planning tools, the AAP provides grants of up to $750 to institutions looking to host a fair. In order to be eligible, the funds provided by the AAP must be matched equally with in-kind or direct funding for the fair. Submit an application along with a budget (here's a sample) for consideration.

If a grant is given, the AAP requests a report of the fair's success, photos of the activities and attendees, and email addresses of attendees no more than 2 weeks following the event. Use this template as a guide. Priority is given to institutions with no PM&R department, physicians and/or electives.


Articles of Interest

Gain even more ideas for your PM&R Fair from the latest research and successes from other institutions!