American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Surgical Interest Group

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 your university.

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