Family Medicine Interest Group

The Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) provides students with:  opportunities to learn about the breadth of family medicine, resources to develop their career interests, and avenues to engage the Penn State College of Medicine and broader community through service and advocacy.  We value our long-standing relationships with the Department of Family and Community Medicine, the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, and connect students with the vast resources available through those groups.

As a club, we sponsor several community service projects which include our annual Dash For Diabetes, Tar Wars, and the Advanced Directives program we are currently initiating.

We also sponsor a variety of networking and educational programs throughout the year. These programs include our monthly Residency Dinners and Differential Diagnosis Lunch Lectures as well as our annual Primary Care Day.

Residency Dinners

The Residency Dinners grant our students the opportunity to talk with physicians and residents for various Pennsylvania Family Medicine Residency Programs over a relaxing dinner at one of the many local restaurants. Additionally, the residency program has a short presentation for the students, usually in the form of a lecture or game, on topics related to family medicine. Topics that have been presented in the past include Medical Jeopardy, Immunizations, Bio-Terrorism, Opportunities in Family Medicine, and others. Finally, these dinners serve to provide the students with insight into residency in general as well as the specifics of the presenting program.

Differential Diagnosis

The Differential Diagnoses are a series of lunch lectures sponsored and presented by our affiliated Family Medicine Residency Program, the Good Samaritan Residency Program of Lebanon, PA. Residents from the program come to campus and provide a 45 min interactive case presentation related to recent coursework of either the first or second year class. These lectures almost always prove to be a good review of upcoming exam material.

Membership Benefits

  • FREE membership to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
  • FREE subscription to American Family Physician, official magazine of AAFP
  • FREE membership to the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP)
  • Interaction with other medical students, faculty, and physicians
  • Learn about family medicine residency programs

Tar Wars is a nationally recognized educational program designed to educate elementary students about being tobacco-free, provide the students with the tools necessary to make well-educated positive decisions regarding their health, and to encourage the students to take a personal responsibility for their well-being.

Tar Wars began in Denver, Colorado during a Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Colorado meeting in 1988 and in its first year it reached 7,000 Denver children. Since then, the American Academy of Family Physicians has been instrumental in the implementation of the program nationwide, and acquired full ownership and operation of Tar Wars in 2000.

At Penn State College of Medicine, our program is operated by three student coordinators, Michelle Teresh, Kate Kasicky, and Andrew Derksen-Schrock. We visit various local elementary schools to discuss the effects of cigarette smoking with fourth and fifth grade students. We are very proud of our Tar Wars Program as it reaches more students annually than any other Tar Wars Program in Pennsylvania.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Liz Nguyen, My-Le Nguyen, or John Wiersch.

For more information about AAFP, please click Tar Wars.

Imagine something terrible happened to you (say a car accident, or drowning), and you suffered a devastating anoxic brain injury. You become unable to communicate, could not have meaningful interactions with others, and had no capacity to feel pain or pleasure. After remaining in this condition for several months, your physicians diagnose you as being in a persistent vegetative state, with no chance of recovery. Even so, with supportive medical care, you could live for 20-30 years in this condition. Under this circumstance, what would you want for yourself? Would you want all medical treatment stopped? Would you prefer that all treatments be continued indefinitely? Or, would you prefer some intermediate?

Many people have a rough idea of some of the treatments they would want and would not want, but those ideas are never communicated with the people who matter the most: family, friends, and primary care physician. This lack of communication can result from fear of the topic, lack of knowledge about the issues, lack of time, or some other issue. Also, although most people know something about living wills, there is much misunderstanding about just what advance directives are and how they work.

In an effort to better educate the community about options available for end of life care, our Family Practice Interest Group has been working with the Humanities Department her at the Hershey Medical Center/Penn State College of Medicine to revive the Advance Directive project. This project serves to promote public understanding of the ethical, personal, and social aspects regarding advance directives, and to promote personal reflection about values and concerns covered in advance directives. It is our hope that this presentation will encourage people to discuss their desires with their family, friends, and/or physicians.

Through this project, medical students and other members of the Medical Center community provide a short 45 minutes seminar to interested local groups (churches, organizations, other such groups). The presenters are trained to give the presentation as well as answer basic questions regarding end of life care planning. Please keep an eye out for new dates that you can participate in! Contact our Advanced Directives chairs for more information: Hessam Afshari, Melissa Coleman, or Lindsay Lipinski  for more information.