Externship Ignites Excitement About Future Career in Family Medicine

“My experience during the externship was phenomenal,” said Kassy Kneen, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine student, of the four weeks she spent training under Srikala Yedavally-Yellayi, DO, MMEd, FAAFP during the summer of 2019 at Troy Beaumont Family Medicine Center through Family Medicine Foundation of Michigan’s Medical Student Externship Program.

Funded by matching grants from Family Medicine Foundation of Michigan and AAFP Foundation, the externship provides the opportunity for a medical student to experience, first-hand, what it’s like to practice family medicine.

“I had the chance to see how family medicine operates, both on the inpatient and outpatient teams. I was able to practice my patient interviewing skills and presentation to multiple physicians, which was a valuable experience for me. I was also able to practice the physical exam techniques that I learned in my first year of medical school that I hadn’t been able to practice otherwise. I saw a wide variety of cases, from viral illness to mental health concerns,” said Kassy.

Each year, Family Medicine Foundation of Michigan’s extern is chosen by the Student & Resident Education Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees. The student then works with his/her selected mentor to build the externship around specific interests and goals.

Kassy explained that by witnessing the interactions between patients and their physicians, she saw the value of the continuous care that family medicine exemplifies and the great relationships that they have.

“I could also see how these relationships help encourage patients to make lifestyle choices or continue treatment of chronic illness even if the patient doesn’t see any progress,” she said.

“It was genuinely a pleasure working with Kassy, beginning with her application for the externship through her four weeks with us at Beaumont Troy Family Medicine,” said Dr. Yedvally-Yellayi. “She was bright, engaged, and seemed to have a genuine understanding of the critical role family medicine has in the healthcare system—pretty amazing for a young learner. As we keep attracting learners like Kassy to family medicine, the future of our profession is very bright.”

This is the second year that Dr. Yedavally-Yellayi has served as a mentor for FMFM’s Medical Student Externship Program—a role that she says she looks forward to fulfilling again.

“At Beaumont Troy Family Medicine, we have a dedicated group of very talented educators committed to teaching patient-focused evidence-based medicine while caring for a socially and economically diverse patient population. I think this is the reason externship students have such a positive and rewarding experience. Since we are a residency program, education is our focus. From the day students begin their externships, they are part of our team, our family. We practice the full scope of family medicine, so students are able to observe and actively participate in hospital medicine, ambulatory care, and maternal care. Externs work directly with residents and faculty and gain a better understanding, not only about the depth and breadth of family medicine, but also how graduate medical education works. After all , that is what is in their future. In turn, as cliché as it sounds, these students are the future of family medicine,” she said.

In addition to gaining hands-on clinical experience, Kassy also found the daily didactic lectures incredibly helpful. Each day, she said, she learned about different topics in family medicine that she did not see clinically, such as infertility, continuous blood glucose monitoring, and the benefits of supplements.

“The family medicine externship has been a great learning experience that I will be able to take into my second year of medical school. It makes me excited for my clerkship years and residency down the road,” she Kassy.

Student members of MAFP who are interested in participating in FMFM's externship program in 2020 are encouraged to submit an application by April 1.