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LETTER: Engaging the Next Generation: Hospital Medicine Student Interest Groups



Aram Alexander Namavar, MS

Since the inception of hospital medicine, we are seeing unprecedented levels of reliance on hospitalists for educating and leading the next generation of physicians toward better care. A 2008 survey of internal medicine programs reported that learners gave hospitalists higher scores in the areas of attending rounds quality and the teaching of cost-effective care, in addition to providing an overall better learning experience as compared with non-hospitalist attendings.1

As successful educators, the development of mentorship programs has been shown to improve professional satisfaction and academic productivity in hospitalist communities.2, 3 Unfortunately, most of these programs failed to consider medical schools as valuable targets for outreach, education and support. By limiting vertical integration of training and mentorship, the hospitalist community is keeping itself from realizing its potential in building a pipeline for shaping the leaders of tomorrow’s healthcare sector.

A Hospital Medicine Student Interest Group (HM-SIG) is an organization composed of medical, nurse practitioner or physician assistant students interested in exploring future careers in hospital medicine. The goals of an HM-SIG are multidimensional: (1) introduce students to, or cultivate prior interest in, a career in hospital medicine, (2) provide opportunities for mentorship with faculty, (3) develop a community of future hospitalists, and (4) facilitate student involvement in institutional, local, regional and national hospital medicine projects on patient safety, high-value care and quality improvement.

Since starting the first medical school HM-SIG chapter in 2015, our efforts have led to significant changes in the way students are exposed not only to hospital medicine as a career, but to the tools and the mindset of hospitalists for improving care as well. In the fall of 2015, after brief discussions on the merits of and opportunities in hospital medicine, we selected a dedicated group of individuals and built our executive board. We collectively defined our goals and designed an 18-month plan to create student-led programming, coordinate mentorship opportunities with faculty and build a research pipeline for future medical students to have easier access to quality improvement work within the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. Within the first 6 months, we hosted a panel discussion with our hospitalist faculty, facilitated a quality improvement workshop to teach the lean methodology and rolled out a shadowing program that has given students deeper insight into the day in the life of a hospitalist. We’ve also developed a lecture series that has guided curriculum changes in quality improvement, and organized a student-led regional hospital medicine conference for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical students and internal medicine residents.

Without any representation from within the medical student community, student exposure to the hospitalist career is entirely dependent on the resources and availability of the affiliate hospital’s department of hospital medicine. With an investment in hospital medicine student interest groups at medical schools, SHM will equip students to become articulate advocates for the profession and SHM as a community.


  1. Goldenberg J, Glasheen JJ. Hospitalist educators: future of inpatient internal medicine training. Mt Sinai J Med 2008;75:430-5.

    2. Pane LA, Davis AB, Ottolini MC. Career satisfaction and the role of mentorship: a survey of pediatric hospitalists. Hosp Pediatr. 2012;2(3):141-8.

    3. Leary JC, Schainker EG, Leyenaar JK. The unwritten rules of mentorship: Facilitators of and barriers to effective mentorship in pediatric hospital medicine. Hospital Pediatrics. 2016;6(4):219-225; DOI: 10.1542/hpeds.2015-0108

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