Medical Student Interest Groups

Overview

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry, is a medical specialty that emphasizes the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of people disabled by disease, disorder or injury.

National demand for rehabilitation services has been increasing steadily over the years, and the number of PM&R residency spots has followed suit. Unfortunately, medical students often have little exposure to the specialty early in their careers with an estimated 12% of medical school having a required PM&R rotation. Establishing a PM&R interest group in the school will help increase students’ awareness of the specialty and educate future physicians on its role in providing quality of life to patients.

This page was created to assist you in establishing or maintaining a medical school interest group for PM&R. Regardless of whether you have a well-established PM&R department at your medical school, it is possible to have an engaging and innovative PM&R interest group. With this guide, your PM&R interest group can help medical students better understand the specialty and successfully match into residency.

 

Initial Start-Up

Every medical school has its own policies and procedures for initiating an interest group. Consult your Dean of Student Affairs to see how to get started. Try sending a school-wide email or setting up an initial meeting to gauge the level of interest among students. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Faculty Advisor: Your medical school may require a faculty advisor to oversee the interest group. Even if not required, having one can be extremely valuable, especially when setting up group activities and meetings. Additional advisors can also be sought and consulted via email if you need further assistance. Contact your PM&R department to find a faculty volunteer. If no one is available or if your school does not have a PM&R department, it is still possible to recruit a faculty member - many other departments (e.g. Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, etc.) may have a physiatrist on their faculty or have an affiliation with a community physiatrist. If not, these departments may be able to identify a faculty physician who is involved with rehabilitation and willing to act as an advisor.
  • Funding: Food and supplies are the primary expenses for a student-run interest group. Talk to the Dean of Student Affairs to determine if there is money available for medical student groups and the procedure for requesting these funds. Fundraising can help cover additional costs. Soliciting your PM&R department is also a possibility. Depending on your school’s policies, funding from “outside” sources, such as private companies, may be possible. Grants of up to $1,000 are available from the AAP to support hosting a PM&R Medical Student Fair at your institution. A fair is a great way to introduce other medical students to the specialty and get them engaged in your interest group. A grant application, sample budget and planning guide are available here.

Planning Your Meetings

Time & Place: The best way to build your audience is to schedule meetings at school and during regular class hours. Obtain a copy of all class schedules from the Registrar and pick a date when there are no important exams within 2-3 days. Another way to maximize attendance is to have the meeting right after a mandatory class. If you plan to serve food, finding an open slot during lunchtime would be ideal. Any other time or place will decrease the attendance rate and you may lose out on students whose interest may be piqued by listening to a lecture or taking part in an event.

Officer Elections: Officer elections are usually held during the first months of the academic year. Positions traditionally up for grabs are President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The President is usually a fourth-year medical student who has more knowledge about the specialty, more faculty and resident connections through clerkships, and is applying for a residency position. Keep in mind that third-year students are usually too busy with clerkship obligations to take on significant responsibility. A first-year or second-year student may make for a good Vice President because he/she would be intimately in touch with basic science classes. Consider a position-sharing plan (i.e., Co-Presidents and Co-Vice Presidents) so students can cover for each other.

Frequency: Board members should meet exclusively and discuss matters at a minimum of three times per year. The first would be an introductory meeting, where members make an outline of activities for the year and distribute responsibilities. The second meeting is an opportunity for members to evaluate their progress and make adjustments for the future. Newly elected officers should meet with the Board in the Spring to ensure smooth transition into the following year. Frequent communication among board members is encouraged. The interest group itself should aim to host three events during the academic year (a combination of meetings, lectures and activities). Depending on the leadership and participants’ interest level, you may set up more events during the year.

Food: Events with free food often draw plenty of medical students. You should reserve funds for this purpose when planning meetings and activities. Consult with the Student Affairs Office on receiving extramural sponsorship of meals from pharmaceutical and medical instrument companies. If this is allowed, find representatives using company websites and visiting local franchise operations.

Advertisement: Explore all avenues to advertise your meetings (flyers, emails, write on blackboards, share on your university's social media, make class announcements, etc.). Medical students are busy and often forget the date. Send reminders the day before and the day of the meeting. Write the interest group’s name or post a banner during the event so everybody knows who their PM&R contacts are.

Website: Board members should meet exclusively and discuss matters at a minimum of three times per year. The first would be an introductory meeting, where members make an outline of activities for the year and distribute responsibilities. The second meeting is an opportunity for members to evaluate their progress and make adjustments for the future. Newly elected officers should meet with the Board in the Spring to ensure smooth transition into the following year. Frequent communication among board members is encouraged. The interest group itself should aim to host three events during the academic year (a combination of meetings, lectures and activities). Depending on the leadership and participants’ interest level, you may set up more events during the year.

Proposed Activities

During Class Hours

Orientation Week Booth Representing PM&R Interest Group

Informational Sessions
  • Consider Formats: attendings vs. residents vs. patients/ presentation vs. panel
  • Topics of Interest: Introduction to PM&R, getting into a PM&R residency, life of a physiatrist, disability awareness
  • Subspecialty Topics: Neuro/ cardio/ pulmonary rehab, SCI and TBI, musculoskeletal, spine, sports medicine, pediatric rehab, occupational medicine, prosthetics and orthotics, electrodiagnostics
Workshops
  • Physical examination
  • Ultrasound workshop
  • Peripheral joint injections using joint models
  • Prosthetics and orthotics demonstrations

Outside of Class Hours

Shadow Program

Summer Clerkships
  • AAP Medical Student Summer Clinical Experience (MSSCE)
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine/Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Summer Extern Experience
Research Involvement
  • AAP Rehabilitation Research Experience for Medical Students (RREMS)
Volunteering Opportunities
  • Summer camps (i.e. MDA)
  • Local rehabilitation centers
  • Sporting event coverage

PM&R Journal Club

Attend PM&R Resident Didactics

PM&R Student Clinic

Disability Awareness Movie Nights
  • Murderball (for SCI)
  • HBO's COMA (for TBI)
  • Terra Incognita (for stem cell research)
Attend National Conferences
  • The AAP's Annual Meeting: At Physiatry ‘19, you will meet and interact with peers and leaders in physiatry from around the country. The AAP's mission is heavily focused on fostering mentorship and long-lasting relationships in an intimate setting. We offer heavily reduced rates for medical students!
  • AAPM&R's Annual Assembly: Experience the largest gathering of physiatrists to learn about the latest innovations in practice, science and leadership to advance our vision for the specialty.
  • ACRM's Annual Conference: Attend the largest conference for interdisciplinary rehabilitation research, offering evidence-based education and training for every member of the rehabilitation team.

Organizing PM&R Fairs

Introduce students at your medical school and surrounding schools to PM&R by holding a PM&R Fair. A hands-on look into the specialty is a great way to increase interest in your interest group, as well. The AAP can help you by providing a grant of up to $1,000 to assist with costs. We also have a sample planning guide for your event and resources from other groups who have previously hosted fairs.


Learn More

Interest Groups Across the Country

Register your group to join this growing list of PM&R Medical Student Interest Groups! If you're a physiatrist and would like to provide your expertise to guide students in choosing a career in PM&R, find the group nearest you. If you're a student and would like to connect to the interest group at your institution, this is your resource.

Alabama
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Interest Group Contact: Soojin Kim
Faculty Advisor: Danielle Powell, MD
1717 6th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Email
Arkansas
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Interest Group Contact: Tulsi Patel
501 Jack Stephens Drive
Little Rock, AR 72205
Email
Arizona
Creighton University Phoenix Regional Campus
Interest Group Contact: Megan Andrews
Faculty Advisor: Christina Kwasnica, MD
350 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Email
California
UC Irvine
Interest Group Contact: Mia Xin Shan
1001 Health Sciences Road
Irvine, CA 92617
Email

Western University of Health Sciences
Interest Group Contact: Ava Ziara
309 E 2nd Street
Pomona, CA 91766
Email

Touro University California
Interest Group Contact: Tae Gun Jin
1310 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
Email

Stanford University
Interest Group Contact: Torsten Rotto
Faculty Advisor: Anne Kuwabara, MD
450 Broadway Street
Pavilion C, 4th Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
Email
District of Columbia
Howard University College of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Eytan Koch
520 W Street, NW
Washington, DC 20059
Email

Georgetown University School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Cynthia Pham
3900 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Email
Illinois
Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Ragav Sharma
555 31st Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Email
Indiana
Indiana University School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Nick Race
Faculty Advisor: Whitney Pratt, MD, PhD
355 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Email
Kentucky
University of Louisville
Interest Group Contact: Jacob Shpilberg
220 Abraham Flexner Way
Louisville, KY 40202
Email
Louisiana
University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School
Interest Group Contact: Sarah Smith
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
Email
Maryland
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Jalaluddin Baten
Faculty Advisor: Henry York, MD
655 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Email
Michigan
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Baibing Chen
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309
Email
Nebraska
Creighton University School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Zach Meyer
7500 Mercy Road
Omaha, NE 68124
Email
New Jersey
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Interest Group Contact: Ariana Gover-Chamlou
Faculty Advisor: Jaclyn Joki, MD
675 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Email
New York
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/ Northwell
Interest Group Contact: Tom Lin
Faculty Advisor: Adam Stein, MD
500 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
Email

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TOUROCOM) - Harlem Campus
Interest Group Contact: Lili Wang
Faculty Advisor: Michelle Stern, MD
230 W 125th Street
New York, NY 10027
Email
Ohio
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Paige Morrison
3230 Eden Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45267
Email

Northeast Ohio Medical University
Interest Group Contact: Anjali Dubbaka
Faculty Advisor: Chris Vinyard, PhD
4209 St. Rt. 44, PO Box 95
Rootstown, Ohio 44272
Email
Oregon
Oregon Health and Science University
Interest Group Contact: Gabriel Wilds
Faculty Advisor: Hans Carlson, MD
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road
Portland, OR 97239
Email
Pennsylvania
Penn State College of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Aubree Fairfull
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
Email

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Chris Hensler
Faculty Advisor: Brad Dicianno, MD
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Email
Rhode Island
Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
Interest Group Contact: Bryan Le
222 Richmond Street
Providence, RI 02903
Email
Tennessee
Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Richard Kim
Faculty Advisor: Michael Wieting, DO
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
Email
Texas
Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interest Group Contact: James Meiling
3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Email

McGovern Medical School at UT Health Science Center at Houston
Interest Group Contact: Justin Schappell
6431 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030
Email
Virginia
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Interest Group Contact: Won Seok Shin
PO Box 1980
Norfolk, VA 23501
Email

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: April Hyon
Faculty Advisor: Regan Royer, MD, MPH
1215 Lee Street
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Email

Liberty University College Of Osteopathic Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Angel Stevenson
306 Liberty View Lane
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Email
Washington
Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences
Interest Group Contact: Jonathan Mai
200 University Parkway
Yakima, WA 98901
Email
International
St. George's University
Interest Group Contact: Dallin Lindahl
University Centre Grenada
West Indies, Grenada
Email

St. James School of Medicine
Interest Group Contact: Samantha Salomon
Albert Lake Drive, The Quarter, A-1 2640
Anguilla
Email