Everyone knows that medical school and residency are stressful for young physicians. The AMA Alliance knows that the training years can be just as challenging for the physician's spouse. Our new blog offers resources to provide specific support for partners of physicians in training, as well as assistance in finding an Alliance in your area.

We know that support for the family of medicine is most comforting when it is provided by the family of medicine.

To learn more about the Young Member Connection please view our first blog entry here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iowa Alliance Wins Award for Work With Young Members

Membership Development Project Awards
Best Collaborative Project Entry

Project Summary
The overall goal of the project was to work collaboratively with the State Medical Society to produce programming designed to provide resources relating to variables encountered by Medical Students, Resident Physicians and their spouses while making medical career choices.

Description of Goals

The primary goal of the project was to connect the MS/RP and their spouses with the State Medical Society and Alliance while providing valuable information regarding practice and life decisions. The Alliance Board strongly feels that connection with this segment of medicine is the lifeblood of the future of Medical Societies and Alliances nationwide. Through this program, a bond is created that has multiple benefits for our young physicians and their spouses as well as organized medicine and its adjunct organizations.

Panel discussions were comprised of physicians in various practices, a Medical Society Executive and the Alliance President or President Elect. Medical Students and their spouses spent time listening to the panel describe facets of their medical practices and home life in that branch of medicine. The information was rounded out by input from the Medical Society and Alliance individual that gave an overview of the benefits of membership in these groups.

The web resources offered vignettes involving the benefits of medical practice in our state, types of practice settings and governance, employment agreements and contracts, how to review financial reports, legal aspects of joining and leaving a practice, what to expect in the interview process from the perspective of the physician and the spouse, and possible red flags during the interview process.

Impact of Project

The level of collaboration between the State Medical Society and State Alliance was very high for this project and critical to its success. Recognition of the abilities of Alliance members by Medical Society staff was a very welcome benefit. While this recognition is not new, the sense of partnership and mutual respect that came about was serendipitous indeed. Their ability to see the Alliance as a partner and a resource will perpetuate for many years.

The connection with our young physicians was the most obvious positive outcome of this project. The panel discussions were interactive and very personal. The presence of a Medical Society executive and Alliance officer on the panels provided medical students and their spouses with concrete interactions that put a face to both of our groups. Working with the RPS/MSS spouse groups for publicity and assistance with babysitting also provided opportunities for Alliance membership to connect with our young physician families. Our goal to connect with young members also resulted in a 50% increase in RPS/MSS/MS Alliance membership in the state, as well as the first ever collaborative medical student/resident spouse/medical society and alliance health project in a county with the largest student/resident population. The medical society also recorded an increase in RP and MS memberships this year statewide with increases of 2% and 42% respectively.

Another very positive outcome is the information that medical students and spouses took away from the panel discussions that were reflected in feedback provided after the second panel discussion. (Feedback was not requested after the first panel.) Providing an opportunity to ask questions of practicing physicians in a relaxed environment is a unique experience that many medical students and their spouses don’t encounter. The program was so popular that it was repeated at the recent state annual meeting at the request of the medical student section.

Providing a format for solid and trustworthy information via the web-based downloadable mp3 files for resident physicians and their spouses allows the Alliance and Medical Society to support and assist these young people in ways that creates immeasurable good will. Taking the time to educate our young physicians on matters that they will encounter as they transition to practicing physicians and medical families gives them a “leg up” on the many variables they need to consider.

The challenges of being in a physician family are most certainly recognized by other physician families and those that work to support and strengthen the practice of medicine. Through this collaborative effort, many of those challenges were addressed.

For information on how the AMA Alliance can assist you in working with young members, contact Julie Ziegler