How to Form an Emergency Medicine Interest Group in Twelve Easy Steps
From EMRA’s Medical Student Council
Organize a group of interested students (and hopefully a faculty advisor) in order to create an Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) Formation Committee. If you have not yet identified a faculty advisor (or a faculty advisory board), do so now.
Select a chairperson for the EMIG Formation Committee in order to keep everyone organized.
Assign Tasks: Review the steps in this document with the group you have formed. At this time, the chairperson should assign the tasks outlined in below to the members of the Formation Committee.
Identify the mechanism employed at your school to officially recognize an interest group. A letter to the Dean is normally the best first step to accomplish this. The letter can be sent to the Dean of Students or other appropriate party requesting the formation of an official interest group for students interested in the specialty of emergency medicine. To give you an idea of what this letter should say, please see the sample letter. All of the formation committee members should sign this document. Draft letter to send to your school's Dean of Students
Select a regular meeting date and time. Since the Dean of Students often maintains a master list of meeting times for each club, consult your Dean before selecting a date and time.
Thoroughly advertise your first meeting to all interested students. At the meeting, describe the work that the formation committee has completed, assign any new tasks and call for elections to be held.
At the first meeting, elect officers and dissolve the Formation Committee. Among your elected officials, you should include an EMRA liaison. This individual is essential to maintain contact between your EMIG and EMRA. The EMRA liaison should contact his/her EMRA/MSC regional representative as soon as possible.
Send a letter to your ACEP state chapter president to inform him or her about the formation of your EMIG and to request support. A list of the state chapter presidents and contact information is available here.
Draft letter to send to your state's ACEP Chapter
Locate external sources of funding for your EMIG. Some possibilities are:
The EMRA Local Action Grant Program. This award of $1000 each Spring and Fall is designed to promote community outreach within emergency medicine.
The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Emergency Medicine Grant for Medical Student Interest Groups. Two $500 awards are available each year. Learn more about it at www.saem.org.
Corporate sponsorship for a lecture series. Frequently, businesses like pharmaceutical companies and banks will finance a “brown bag” lecture series. Contact such businesses cautiously, keeping in mind that they will expect to have an opportunity to advertise their wares. Establish guidelines for the amount of advertisement that you wish to allow.
Your school, state ACEP chapter or individual physicians may be willing to give you some funding as well.
Organize EMIG Activities.
Here are some suggestions:
Brown Bag Lunch Lectures: For your first meeting, it is advisable to provide a free meal and an exciting speaker in order to draw a crowd. In addition, flashy subjects like penetrating trauma are associated with increased attendance.
Emergency Department Tag-Alongs: Contact the Emergency Department Director at your affiliated teaching hospitals and at local community hospitals in order to locate a variety of interested preceptors.
Third Rider Programs: Call local ambulance and helicopter services to inquire about third rider programs. Most companies have such programs in place and are eager to help you learn about the services that they offer.
Skills Labs: Splinting, casting and wound care labs can often be easily and cheaply arranged by contacting the companies that supply splints, casting supplies and suture material. A brief list of such companies includes:
Orthoglass (800) 552-1157
Ethicon (877) 384-4266
(Note: EMRA is not endorsing these companies)
Also, your surgery department may have some left over supplies to donate.
Obtain a list of graduates from your school who practice emergency medicine from the alumni affairs department. Send them a survey to gather advice about how to succeed in pursuing a career in emergency medicine at YOUR school. Also, survey them about residency programs and research electives that they are familiar with.
Set up a homepage online. Your university may be able to host your webpage and provide invaluable assistance here. You might be able to incorporate a blog, discussion forum, or even a photo gallery to show off your new EMIG.
Stay in touch with your regional EMRA Medical Student Council representative for assistance with any projects, questions, information, advice, or to request materials from the EMRA headquarters (like membership applications, copies of EM Resident Magazine to hand out, or member benefit info).