Showcasing success with PM&R student interest group

Margeaux Berroth, M.D. Class of 2020

L to R: M.D. students Gabriel Wilds, Emma Rickles, Margeaux Berroth

I was joined by two of my classmates, Emma Rickles and Gabriel Wilds, both members of the M.D. Class of 2019, in presenting our poster at the national AAPM&R Annual Meeting during dedicated times on October 25-28 in Orlando, Florida, to more than 2,000 attendees. (See poster and abstract below.)

Our project was well received by many prominent PM&R (physical medicine and rehabilitation) physicians, such as the incoming Editor-in-Chief of PM&R Journal and OHSU alumna Dr. Janna Friedly, as well as national healthcare leaders such as the Chief Medical Officer of Encompass Health, Dr. Lisa Charbonneau. Dr. Erik Ensrud and Dr. Hans Carlson of OHSU Orthopedics & Rehabilitation Department and SIG faculty leads were also in attendance at the conference came by to show their support as well!

Our time at this national conference lead to new collaborative partnerships for our PM&R student interest group going forward. Medical students at the University of New England and OHSU, coupled with PM&R residents at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC are now spearheading a national social media campaign to create a centralized platform exclusive to students and residents to share their learning experiences, innovations, and opportunities with others in this community. It is a particularly important endeavor to engage the many DO and MD schools and students in areas where PM&R residency programs are absent, as is the case in Oregon at present.

Additionally, senior residents from Stanford, UW and UC Davis are excited to partner with our OHSU student interest group to video conference with 1st through 3rd year OHSU medical students who are curious about PM&R or express interest in matching into this specialty for residency. This is an exciting opportunity for residents to gain additional leadership experience beyond the scope of their respective programs, and for our students to get individualized mentorship.

Bold Strides: A Student-Led Campaign to Enhance Awareness of Physiatry Leading to a 12-Fold Growth in Student Interest Group Membership

Oregon is the largest state without a PM&R residency program, and therefore medical students frequently are not exposed to the specialty. A need for early exposure emerged and in the fall of 2014, the student-led OHSU PM&R Student Interest Group (SIG) was created.

As of the summer of 2017, total membership count was 3.

At that time, the new leadership focused on cultivating interest among students in the field of PM&R, with the intention of growing enrollment and developing sustaining members of the club. Student members were recruited at the school-wide MD interest group fair in August of 2017 with the aim of tripling the number of student members and hosting one event per term for members with a goal attendance of 60% of the event capacity. Subsequent events were open to the broader medical school community during the preclinical phase of the curriculum to increasing recruitment and retention.

  • 35 medical students signed up for the PM&R SIG at the student interest group fair.
  • Four members-only events with capped attendance filled to 100 percent capacity.
  • Three additional school-wide events were held, one attracting 86 students.
  • Interventions to increase student awareness of PM&R were met with higher levels of student membership and subsequent engagement than expected.
  • Given the rapid growth of the SIG in the last year among preclinical students, coupled with the lack of an in-state residency program, there is a very real need for the OHSU PM&R SIG to continue to provide exposure and support for preclinical and clinical level medical students interested in a career in physiatry.

Moving Forward: As the state population continues to rapidly expand and the patient population ages, the demand for practicing physiatrists in Oregon will only increase. The PM&R SIG aims to continue supporting medical student interest in PM&R while spreading awareness about the role physiatrists play in the medical community.

Poster presented at national AAPM&R Annual Meeting, October 2018

Want to write for StudentSpeak? Current OHSU students can email for more information.