Nearly half (60/125) of all U.S. medical schools have a surgery
interest group (SIG) established. These groups are for all levels
of medical students, but first and second year medical students
are usually the most active participants (likely because of their
available time). Most of them meet on a monthly basis to have
speakers or workshops. They are also an avenue to expose early
medical students to surgeons, something that doesn't happen otherwise
in many schools.
If your school doesn't have a SIG, you should consider establishing
one. To do this all you really need is a group of interested
students and an interested faculty member or two. You can start
by meeting informally and then consider a more formal charter.
The formal charter includes establishing bylaws (one or two pages
is sufficient) and allows you to become an official group at
Consider having your group sanctioned by your university (main
campus). All universities have a student government association
that sanctions campus groups, and often there is a token amount
of money that comes with that sanction.
You may want to make it a "named" society, for instance, naming it after a famous surgeon at your institution.
Most surgical interest groups meet once a month, often at
noon, but sometimes in the evenings. You might consider meeting
in faculty homes. Pharmaceutical representatives can usually
be approached to provide refreshments.
Some topics to consider for discussion at these meetings include:
- Surgical specialties: what they are, specifics about application
process, etc. (choose a couple for each year)
- How to interview
- Information about different residency programs
- What to put in personal statement
- What to know for internship
- What electives to take in the fourth year
- Relationships/lifestyle issues
- Suturing workshops
- Philanthropic projects