University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Medical Student Education

Student Interest Groups

Getting involved with interest groups is a great way for students to learn more about various careers in medicine. Students can connect with faculty, community physicians, residents, and senior medical students to learn more about career options, research and educational opportunities, shadowing opportunities, and even residency application tips.

American Medical Association (AMA) - Medical Student Section

The UVM Chapter of the Medical Student Section of the American Medical Associaion is an advocacy and service group affiliated with the American Medical Association (AMA).  The group provides students with the opportunities to attend regional and national AMA meetings as well as those of the Vermont Medical Association.  They also participate in a number of community service related activities such as the AMA’s “Doctor’s Back to School” programs and provide a resource to other medically interested individuals.  The AMA UVM Chapter strives to help UVM build a strong community and give students the ability to become more involved in medicine on the national level as well.

Primary Group Contact: Autumn Reilly
Faculty Advisor: David Fassler, M.D.

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American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

As a branch of the national AMSA organization, our goals as a SIG closely align with these principles: quality and affordable health care for all; global health equity; enriching medicine through diversity; and professional integrity, development, and student well-being.  Therefore, our activities often involve promoting health policy to achieve these goals on both a campus- and state-wide level.

Primary Group Contacts: Brett Powers
Faculty Advisor: Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H.

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American Medical Women's Association (AMWA)

Despite the extraordinary progress women have made in medicine over the last 150 years, there continues to be a pressing need for female role models and mentors, as well as increased study of women's health issues. Since 1915, the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) has been working to address these issues by serving as the voice of women's health for the advancement of women in medicine. Medical students can help preserve and advance the accomplishments already achieved by banding together to expand and strengthen organizational systems such as AMWA. In AMWA, students establish a network for women in medicine and provide professional and financial support for female students as they study, train, and begin their careers.

Primary Group Contact: UVM COM AMWA Leadership
Faculty Advisor: Sharon Mount, M.D., Mario Trabulsy, M.D., Anya Koutras, M.D., and Diane Jaworski, Ph.D.

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Anesthesiology Student Interest Group (ASIG)

The Anesthesiology Student Interest Group raises students' awareness about the field by presenting a range of events throughout the year. Previous events include faculty panels, informal resident Q&A, guest lectures, clinical skills practicum, and journal club. The group facilitates faculty shadowing opportunities and residency advising for interested students.

Primary Group Contacts: Billy Tran
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Abnet, M.D.

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Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Student Interest Group (ANDSIG)

The Autism Student Interest Group will be provide resources to encourage awareness about current issues in Autism and facilitate interaction between medical students and individuals with Autism in the community. ANDSIG’s main goal is to provide medical students with resources to encourage awareness about current issues in Autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities and to facilitate interaction between medical students and clinicians who work with this patient population.

Primary Group Contacts: Dan Kula
Faculty Advisors: Stephen Contompasis, M.D. and Jeremiah Dickerson, M.D.

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Cardiology Student Interest Group (CSIG)

The goal of the Cardiology Student Interest Group is to expose students to the field of cardiology while early in their training. The group will provide opportunities for students to meet cardiology attending physicians and fellows, offer clinical training sessions, and provide shadowing opportunities for hands-on experience in the field of cardiology. It is the group’s goal to foster a supportive environment where students could learn and further their interest within the realm of cardiology.

Primary Group Contact: Christina Cahill
Faculty Advisor: Friederike K. Keating, M.D.

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Dermatology Student Interest Group

The Dermatology Student Interest group will increase interaction between attending physicians, residents and med students. It will provide an avenue for students interested in dermatology to find out more about the practice of dermatology. Though panels and lunch meetings, this group will provide information to medical students about pursuing a career in dermatology. Older students in the SIG will be able to offer advice to younger students about coursework, research, clerkship, and 4th year electives. The information will obviously be valuable for students who are interested in dermatology, but may also be interesting for students interested in primary care.

Primary Group Contact: Katelyn Shea and Jameson Loyal
Faculty Advisor: Joseph Pierson, M.D.

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Emergency Medicine Student Interest Group

The Emergency Medicine Student Interest Group is for anyone interested in Emergency Medicine. Our goal is to bring people together with a common interest and hold events that allow students to learn more about Emergency Medicine. EMIG provides students with access to IV, suturing, splinting, and ultrasound clinics. Our group is connected with EM research going on at UVM as well as an ongoing journal club. We also provide students with access to shadowing and attending schedules at The University of Vermont Medical Center Emergency Department.

Primary Group Contact: Laura Donnelly
Faculty Advisor: Peter Weimersheimer, M.D.

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Family Medicine Student Interest Group

The Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) is a student run organization, which seeks to provide a forum where medical students interested in family medicine learn about, address, celebrate, and integrate themselves into this dynamic specialty. The FMIG group sponsors speakers during Primary Care Week, organizes procedure clinics, hosts brown bag lunches on a topics of key interest to members, and organizes an annual Family Medicine Picnic to welcome new students. Students identify a project each year to support the community. Student members participate at the statewide Vermont Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting and board meetings, regionally at the Family Medicine Education Consortium Meeting, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) national meeting, and at the AAFP’s National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students.

Primary Group Contacts: Grace Adamson and Susannah Kricker
Faculty Advisor: Aaron Reiter, M.D. and Sara Hudson, M.D.

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Gender and Sexuality Alliance

The purpose of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance is to foster a nurturing and supportive environment for transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, and ally students, and to ensure all students have the skills and resources to become skilled health care providers for people of all genders and sexual orientations.

Primary Group Contacts: Charlotte Hastings
Faculty Advisor: Pamela Gibson, M.D. and Michael Upton, M.D.

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Internal Medicine Student Interest Group

The Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) is dedicated to providing information and clinical opportunities to students interested in a career in diagnosing and treating adults. We organize opportunities for medical students including shadowing opportunities with IM physicians, oncology patient visitation, clinical skills simulation event in the Simulation Center with IM residents, and a barbecue with IM faculty. We also organize many “what is the diagnosis?” case presentation workshops, specialty talks corresponding with the curriculum, and a research panel of faculty looking for medical students to contribute to their research.

Primary Group Contacts: Kathleen Olson
Faculty Advisors: Mark Pasanen, M.D, and Laurie Leclair, M.D.

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Jewish Medical Student Interest Group AKA "Chall'aboard"

Primary Group Contact: Nathaniel Sugiyama
Faculty Advisors: Alan Rubin, M.D

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Med Mentors Student Interest Group

The goal of Med Mentors is to interact with high school students in the Burlington area who have an interest in a career in health care professions. Medical students will help students who are considering health care fields by offering advice, career mentoring, classroom experience, and clinical exposure. This will be accomplished by matching high school students with medical student mentors who will work with their mentee to accomplish the goals of the program. Events will also be held both at the UVM College of Medicine as well as at local high schools to give high school students exposure to medical practices, motivational interviewing, medical ethics, and other topics related to healthcare.

Primary Group Contacts: Gayathri Prabhakar
Advisor: Jan Carney, M.D.

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Medical Ethics Student Interest Group

The primary goal of the Medical Ethics SIG is to promote thoughtful discussions on ethical issues in medicine on every level. This includes everything from personal interaction with individual patients to more broad considerations of racial, social, political, and economic impacts on the medical field.

Primary Group Contacts: Matteen Hakim
Advisor: Bob Macauley, M.D.

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Medical Students with Kids

Being a medical student alone is overwhelming. For students who come to medical school with a family, it is a completely different ball park. Family/Life Balance becomes a priority. This Interest Group exists to support students with families, helping them cope with the arduous curriculum. Spouses of medical students can also establish a support network to help them deal with the challenges of being married to a spouse who is in medical school.

Primary Group Contact: Eric Bennett
Advisor: Sharon Mount, M.D.

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Medical Students for Reproductive Justice

Primary Group Contact: Emily Ryan
Advisor: Cate Nicholas, Ph.D.

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Music Student Interest Group

Through discussion and activities centered on the connection between music and medicine the Music Interest Group (MIG) will educate students about a burgeoning area of research in neuroscience and provide an opportunity to connect with other students in a stress-free and fun environment. The group will also provide children with developmental disorders and their families a unique opportunity to interact on a 'Music Day' run by the MIG.

Primary Group Contact: Theresa Flanagan
Advisor: Magdalena Naylor, MD, Ph.D.

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Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN)

SIGN is part of a network of more than 150 medical school chapters across North America. We strive to foster interest in neurology and provide a wealth of information on clinical, research, and service activities in the field. We aim to disseminate knowledge about various neurological pathologies and the most up-to-date research in Neurology, as well as functioning as a liaison for UVM medical students and American Academy of Neurology. SIGN is directed by Dr. Ann Augustine, Attending Neurologist and Associate Professor of Sleep Medicine. We host many exciting events, including series of neurology lectures, Q&A sessions with patients with neurological disorders, clinical case reviews, and discussions about cutting edge topics in neuroscience.

Primary Group Contact: Clare Park
Advisors: Ann Augustine, M.D.

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Neurosurgery Student Interest Group

The Neurosurgery Student Interest Group is devoted to helping students learn more about the field of Neurosurgery. Interested students will be given the opportunity to work more closely with attendings and residents at morning conferences, in the OR, and clinic. Through journal clubs, micro-suturing workshops, knot-tying workshops, and case-study presentations, students can fully experience this complex field and develop an understanding of what a career in neurosurgery entails.

Primary Group Contacts: Taylor Sommer
Advisor: Michael Horgan, M.D.

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Obstetrics/Gynecology Student Interest Group

The OB/GYN student interest group is dedicated to helping medical students learn about the field of OB/GYN and the diverse opportunities it provides. We will work closely with physicians in the community to gain hands-on experience, explore topics related to OB/GYN, and learn about matching in OB/GYN residencies. We hold regular birthing simulations and provide panel and small group discussions on cases and topics relevant to OB/GYN.

Primary Group Contact: Mary Kate LoPiccolo
Advisor: Anne Dougherty, M.D., M.A.

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Ophthalmology Student Interest Group

Ophthalmology is a constantly evolving and highly rewarding specialty. The goals of the Ophthalmology SIG are to introduce the field to medical students and provide important insights into ophthalmology as a specialty and as a career. We aim to achieve this by combining a small series of educational clinics that demonstrate the ophthalmic exam, journal clubs that explore the current state of research and treatment developments, and Q&A panels with ophthalmology residents and faculty. We also facilitate shadowing opportunities so students witness ophthalmology in clinical practice.

Primary Group Contact: Soraiya Thura
Advisors: Brian Kim, M.D.

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Orthopaedics Student Interest Group (OSIG)

The overall goal is to promote the interest in orthopaedics for medical students and to provide educational experiences for those interested. The Orthopaedic Student Interest Group provides students with opportunities to further their knowledge and understanding of the field of orthopaedics outside of the classroom. We host events with residents and attendings involving topics such as how to read and present orthopaedic radiographic images. We have also established relationships with other healthcare professionals such as Athletic Trainers. The OSIG has put on combined and “hands on” learning events in order to have a better global understanding of how healthcare professionals from multiple fields come together to provide the highest quality of care to patients.

Primary Group Contact: Bryan Brown
Advisor: Jennifer Lisle, M.D.

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Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery (OHNS) Student Interest Group

The goal of the OHNS SIG is to encourage medical student interest in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. This will be done by facilitating information sessions with current residents and attendings, connecting students with mentoring and shadowing opportunities, exposing students to clinical research project opportunities, and encouraging dialogue and networking with physicians in the field. All of these will serve the purpose of furthering the development of future physicians interested in the field of OHNS.

Primary Group Contact: John McLaren
Faculty Advisor: Stephen Wheless, M.D.

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Palliative Care Interest Group

To hold events to educate students on palliative care.

Primary Group Contacts: Alison Mercier
Advisor: Zail Berry, M.D., M.P.H.

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Pathology Interest Group (PIG)

The Medical Student Pathology Interest Group (PIG) was formed to engage medical students who might be interested in a career in Pathology, the study of disease. The group typically meets several times each semester to take tours of different areas of pathology, have panel lunches with pathologists and residents and go on fun outings such as apple picking with pathologists. These activities allow student to interact with members of the pathology department and gain a greater understanding of the role of pathologists in medicine as a whole and pathology as a career.

Primary Group Contacts: Matteen Hakim
Advisor: Suzanne Tucker, M.D.

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Pediatric Student Interest Group (PSIG)

We hold activities focused on connecting with Pediatrics faculty members and physicians, as well as learning skills associated with treating and interacting with pediatric patients and their families. A variety of community service and social events are offered in conjunction with faculty at The University of Vermont Children's Hospital. Our goal is to provide learning and networking opportunities to foster interest and connections within the field.

Primary Group Contact: Stephanie Brooks
Advisors: Ann Guillot, M.D. and Molly Rideout, M.D.

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PhotoDocs group is open to any students interested in photography no matter your experience or camera type. This group serves as a forum where students can share photos, discuss topics in photography, and learn new skills. Each year we hold a photo competition and winning photos are printed and displayed in the College of Medicine. This group is casual and designed to be fun to help facilitate extracurricular balance for its members. Also, Vermont is a beautiful place and how great would it be to take with you not only a great medical education but some wonderful photos as well when you graduate!

Primary Group Contact: Angie Li
Advisor: Dean Bill Jeffries, M.D.

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Physiatry and Sports Medicine Student Interest Group

The Physiatry and Sports Medicine SIG seeks to raise awareness and provide opportunities for medical students to participate in workshops and discussions related to musculoskeletal medicine, spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury, pediatric rehabilitation, prosthetics/orthotics, and other rehabilitation related topics.

Primary Group Contacts: Katie Cushanick, Erin McElroy, and Herman Kalsi
Advisor: Roger Knakal, PM&R

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Physicians for a National Health Plan-UVM COM Student Chapter

Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. The mission of PNHP is therefore to educate physicians, other health workers, and the general public on the need for a comprehensive, high-quality, publicly-funded health care program, equitably-accessible to all residents of the United States. This SIG provides students with the opportunity to connect with others in the field with similar goals, attend national conferences and opportunities to hear from distinguished individuals in the field.

Primary Group Contact: Alissa Correll
Advisor: Joseph Lasek, M.D.

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Radiology Student Interest Group (RSIG)

The goal of the Radiology Student Interest Group (RSIG) is to serve as liaison between College of Medicine students and The University of Vermont Medical Center's Department of Radiology by providing a broad range of academic and pre-professional support services. Throughout each year, RSIG hosts multiple case-based imaging tutorials with current radiology residents and an annual research fair. Through these events and others, RSIG strives to provide a convenient avenue by which interested students can learn more about active or upcoming academic and clinical opportunities within the Department of Radiology, and to encourage active participation through research and clinical elective experiences.

Primary Group Contacts: Amy Hopkins and Katherine Lantz
Advisor: Jan Gallant, M.D.

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Readers & Talkies

The purpose of this SIG is to create a space for medical students to engage with literature and film and to foster conversations and personal growth outside the realm of the medical profession. Once a month we will select a reading (book, short stories and/or poems) for the group and we will meet to discuss our thoughts related to the material and themes presented. We will also use other media, primarily film and podcasts, to explore ideas. The idea behind this SIG is to encourage critical thinking in fields other than medicine/science. It’s also supposed to be fun!

As a long term goal, we would like to build connections between our group and students in other departments of UVM. Dr. Hudson has contacts in the classics and music departments of the undergraduate college and will help us to reach out to undergrad faculty and students in order to co-plan events or just meet as a larger group to share perspectives.

Primary Group Contact: Susannah Kricker
Advisor: R. P. Hudson, M.D.

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Red Wheelbarrow (Literary and Visual Arts Magazine)

The Red Wheelbarrow is a collaborative student-run magazine that strives to publish creative works in the literary and visual arts from medical students, faculty, UVMCOM alumni and the broader medical community as defined by health care providers at The University of Vermont Medical Center and associated institutions. While The Red Wheelbarrow actively promotes the submission of content related specifically to the medical humanities – an interdisciplinary field that contextualizes and interprets topics including, but not limited to, the medical profession and education system and human health and disease – our magazine is ultimately inclusive of all ideas and creative endeavors outside the scope of the medical humanities.

Primary Group Contact: The Red Wheelbarrow
Advisor: Robert Macauley, M.D.

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Refugee Health Student Interest Group

This SIG works with Bhutanese refugees who come every week to the Community Health Center in Burlington to learn about the American Medical system, and how to approach health and wellness in the United States. Many of the refugees have been in the US for only a few days or weeks, and still are trying to get their bearings. We work with interpreters to try to answer basic questions about healthcare, wellness, and life in America.

Primary Group Contact: Nazey Gulec
Advisor: Bill Raszka, M.D.

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Running and Marathon Team

The Marathon Team is a running team for people of all levels. We aim to bring the medical school and the larger UVM/The University of Vermont Medical Center community together through running and raising money for a deserving cause. In 2013 we raised money for Steps to Wellness, a rehabilitation program for cancer patients and survivors.

Primary Group Contacts: Marie Lemay, Amy Hopkins, Joey Kelley, and Jessica Huang
Advisor: Sarah Greene, Ph.D.
Co-Advisor: Allison Searson

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S.N.A.I.L. Mail Student Interest Group

Send Notes and inspiring Letters (SNAIL) is a Student Interest Group intended to provide medical students a venue to explore their creative talent through various mediums, while providing cards and notes for rotating medical students, faculty and staff, and community members. Previous events include holiday cards for veterans, envelope making, typewriting and rubber stamping. All skills and artistic inspiration are welcome.

Primary Group Contact: Erin Pichiotino
Advisor: Richard Wasserman, M.D.

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Students of Medicine Involved in Local Education - Doctors Ought to Care (SMILE Docs)

SMILE DOCS matches medical students with local elementary school classes to provide a fun learning experience about medicine and the human body. Members visit classes four times each semester and teach children using real pathology specimens, models, and interactive learning activities. SMILE DOCS allows students to interact with the local community in a fun, low stress atmosphere.

Primary Group Contact: Katherine Wang
Advisor: Sharon Mount

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Student National Medical Association (SNMA)

The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians. SNMA at UVM is directly involved with mentoring pre-medical students through the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS), while the national chapter has programs that focus on youth science enrichment and medicine exposure programs. Community service programs include programs for Sexual Health Awareness, Violence Prevention, Smoking Prevention/Cessation and Mental Health programs. The UVM chapter also collaborates with other UVM Student Interest Groups, the College of Medicine’s office of Diversity and Inclusion, and other SNMA chapters (such as the one at Dartmouth) for a number of events.

Primary Group Contacts: Pierre Galea and Alejandro Velez
Advisor: Margaret Tandoh, M.D.

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Surgery Interest Group

The Surgery Interest Group (SIG) was formed in 1996 and is comprised of a group of medical students interested in learning more about careers in surgery. The SIG plays an important role in allowing students to gain insight into what the life of a surgeon is like and what it takes to become a surgeon from both an academic standpoint as well as a personal standpoint. One of the strengths of the SIG is the support from all the attending surgeons at The University of Vermont Medical Center. This has enabled the group to host quarterly journal clubs covering a wide breadth of surgical specialties. Journal club also provides a unique opportunity for medical students to interact with attendings and conversely allows attendings to provide personal insight to their surgical expertise and meaningful clinical experiences. Through journal club and other surgical skill clinics hosted by the SIG, students are able to interact with the surgical faculty and create contacts for operating room and other clinical shadowing. Ultimately the SIG hopes to assist students in finding appropriate mentorship from the faculty of the surgery department for inspiration and guidance to a future career in surgery. Mission Statement: Promote surgery as a professional career for medical students.

Primary Group Contacts: Amy Triano, Isobel Santos, and John Whittier
Advisor: Peter Cataldo, M.D., F.A.C.S.

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Taste Buddies Student Interest Group

Taste Buddies is a group for anyone who enjoys food, cooking, and eating. Some of our annual activities include a maple syrup boil and a backyard brick oven pizza making event at Dr. Low’s. Our goal is to provide UVM medical students with opportunities to expand their culinary experiences and connect with other foodies.

Primary Group Contacts: Jessica Huang and Melanie Ma
Advisor: Bob Low, Ph.D.
Co-Advisors: Karen Richardson-Nassif, Ph.D. and Rebecca Wilcox, M.D.

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Urology Student Interest Group

The goal of the Urology Student Interest Group (USIG) is to expand medical student exposure to the field of urology, which is not a required rotation during clerkships and has an early match. Broadly speaking, urologists focus on the surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary tract and male genital tract. The USIG is committed to providing students with mentorship and shadowing opportunities in the medical school, summer research guidance, and information on the uniquely early match and residency application of urology programs. With subspecialties from pediatric urology and oncology to renal transplantation and female reconstructive surgery, urology has something for everyone. If you’ve never given urology much thought beyond kidney stones, come to a meeting and check it out!

Primary Group Contact: Theodore Cisu and Cornelia Willis
Advisor: Peter Holoch, Ph.D.

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Wilderness Medicine Student Interest Group

We are a group of medical students, residents, fellows, attendings and others who enjoy learning about backcountry medicine. Our group is always open to new members and we try to hold one event every month to give the student body a chance to have fun and learn some new things in the meantime. In the past we have hosted events such as SCUBA diving in Lake Champlain, mountain biking around Trapp Brewery, day hikes to Mt. Philo, an overnight at UVM's cabin on Bolton Mountain, as well as interactive educational sessions hosed by The University of Vermont Medical Center medical staff on backcountry medicine topics such as hypothermia, altitude sickness, splinting broken bones, emergency evacuations and more. Our objective is to give students a chance to get out, have some fun, and learn about wilderness medicine with The University of Vermont Medical Center medical staff.

Primary Group Contacts: Peter Hyson, Stefan Wheat, Timothy Henderson, and Shannon Brady
Advisor: Jack Ellis, M.D.

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Yoga Student Interest Group

Given the nature of the stress level experienced by an average medical student, it is very important, we feel, to not only encourage medical students to excel academically, but to encourage the critical skill of taking care of oneself—both mentally AND physically!

Primary Group Contacts: Imelda Muller, Vic Hudziak, and Eric Schmidt
Advisor: Magdalena Naylor, M.D.

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Last modified March 31 2015 03:39 PM