The Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC received a Program of Excellence Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), based on the group’s commitment to engaging students interested in pursuing family medicine. One of 10 recipients based on overall excellence, the program was honored in July at the AAFP national conference.

Jo Marie Reilly, MD, is the faculty adviser for the FMIG and has been integral to seeing the program grow.

“The FMIG leadership team has done a fabulous job in promoting the breadth, depth and diversity of family medicine at the Keck School,” said Reilly, professor of clinical family medicine (educational scholar). “Their passion and dedication to learn and share family medicine with the community is exemplary.”

Students participate in diverse health care experiences with patients of all ages, getting involved in activities that include providing comfort to high-risk infants in the Cuddle Club, organizing community health fairs, volunteering in an interprofessional program in senior housing complexes, and leading a fitness initiative called Ready, Set, Fit.

Third-year medical student and FMIG Co-President Serena Liu traveled to the conference to accept the award with some of her classmates.

“Our dedication motivated us to organize two yearlong pediatric community service programs, six lunch talks and dinners, two community health fair booths, a skills workshops and many mentorship opportunities over the past year,” Liu said. “The size and strength of our team allowed us to dive deep into the many facets of family medicine and explore our passions.”

In a press release announcing the awards, the AAFP highlighted the importance of encouraging more medical students to choose a career in primary care.

“It is critical we continue to garner interest and attract students to the specialty of family medicine,” said Clif Knight, MD, senior vice president for education at the AAFP. “The physician shortage in primary care continues, and programs such as FMIG are key to exposing students to real-world experiences that will help them dig deeper into — and ultimately choose — family medicine.”

— Claire Norman