Janet C. Sundquist, MD.

Janet Sundquist, MD, is coordinating a local campaign to inform medical students and residents about careers in general internal medicine.

UB Faculty Join National Effort to Boost Internal Medicine’s Profile

Published January 25, 2017

Faculty in the Department of Medicine’s Division of General Internal Medicine have received a grant to participate in a national campaign that encourages medical students and trainees to pursue careers in the field.

“The ‘#ProudtobeGIM’ campaign offers us a chance to more cohesively present what we do in order to engage UB students and residents about opportunities in the field of general internal medicine locally and nationally. ”
Clinical associate professor of medicine

Promoting Specialty Among Trainees

Launched by the Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM), the “#ProudtobeGIM” campaign educates medical students and residents about general internal medicine and highlights the specialty as an appealing, meaningful career path.

Locally, the campaign will focus on social events with faculty, residents and students and on using social media to highlight the accomplishments of trainees and faculty in the field, says Janet C. Sundquist, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine and a general internal medicine physician with UBMD.

“Informal contact with faculty allows trainees the chance to talk about careers in a low-stakes environment,” she says.

“Our focus on wellness and the interests that physicians have outside of medicine lets us reach trainees who don’t identify as already interested in a career in internal medicine, but who might find it’s right for them once they’ve had more exposure to it.”

Society Meeting Sparks Interest in Campaign

Sundquist and her UB colleagues became interested in the national campaign at last spring’s SGIM meeting, where faculty, residents and students from programs around the country presented their efforts to promote general internal medicine.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Why not UB?’” says Sundquist, who is collaborating on the campaign with Roberto O. Diaz Del Carpio, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine, and internal medicine resident Annie Laurri, MD.

“The chance to work with our national specialty society in a promotional campaign gives exposure to the work people are doing here at UB and, we hope, inspires more of us to share our work nationally.”

Although UB’s general internal medicine division is large and growing, faculty are spread out at different locations and have diverse roles, she notes.

“The ‘#ProudtobeGIM’ campaign offers us a chance to more cohesively present what we do in order to engage UB students and residents about opportunities in the field of general internal medicine locally and nationally.”

Effort to Reverse Trend of Dwindling IM Ranks

The national campaign comes at a time when the need for internal medicine physicians is growing, but fewer medical school graduates are choosing the specialty.

According to SGIM, the percentage of medical residents who planned to enter the field fell from 50 percent in 1998 to roughly 20 percent in the past few years.

Sundquist sees the campaign as a way for UB to help reverse the trend.

“UB is a great institution for SGIM to partner with because we have tremendous unrealized potential to contribute nationally,” she says.

“We have many new, young faculty, we’re building a dramatic new medical school building downtown, and we have tremendous resources.”

Many of those resources tap the expertise of general internal medicine physicians, Sundquist notes. These include the medical school’s internal medicine-preventive medicine residency program — a partnership with the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions — and research funding, through UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Award, to address health disparities.