FMFM / AAFP Foundation Student Externship Program Ignites Passion for Family Medicine

Family Medicine Foundation of Michigan (FMFM), MAFP's philanthropic arm, is accepting externship proposals now until April 1 from Michigan medical schools for first- or second-year MAFP student members to gain, under the mentorship of a MAFP Family Physician member, hands-on clinical and/or research experience over the course of a one-month period in 2018. The FMFM student externship is funded jointly by FMFM and AAFP Foundation.

Below is the experience of 2013 student extern Melissa Jennings, MD, now a second-year resident in the Oakwood Annapolis Family Medicine Residency program.

Before I began medical school at Wayne State University, the specialty of Family Medicine really wasn't on my radar. Fortunately, one of my mentors, who is a wonderful role model and Family Physician, thought I would be a good match for the FMFM / AAFP Foundation externship. The externship is a one-month experience that gives students insight into what being a Family Physician entails in a very practical way—by experiencing it first-hand. 

My externship was eye opening; and, in retrospect, it was my first look into what makes Family Medicine so special to me: a broad scope of practice and meaningful, long-term relationships with patients. Because of the externship, I was able to envision a future for myself in Family Medicine. From seeing patients in clinic, to rounding on the inpatient medicine service, to observing my first delivery, the month was full of new experiences. I gained clinical knowledge, as well as a better understanding of what day-to-day life is like in Family Medicine.

Four years later, I find myself living that life as a second-year resident in the Oakwood Annapolis Family Medicine Residency program and, overall, I couldn't be happier with the path that led me here, including that first externship experience. After graduation, I plan on staying in Michigan and hopefully going up north where I can practice a broad scope of medicine including obstetrics.

I encourage any medical student to apply for this opportunity. Even if Family Medicine isn't on your radar, either, you may find like I did that it's the perfect fit for you.