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Acad Psychiatry. 2013 May 1;37(3):175-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.ap.11100190.

Psychiatry student interest groups: what they are and what they could be.

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Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, School of Medicine and Public Health, and Medical Education Office, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI,



Medical student interest groups across all specialties help students explore various specialties. There are no published reports on psychiatry student interest group (PSIG) curricula. The aim was to develop elements of a curriculum for such groups, based on data elicited from medical students and faculty members through a multi-institutional online survey.


The authors electronically surveyed 172 United States psychiatric residency training directors to determine the activities they felt to be important for inclusion in PSIG curricula. Similarly, they surveyed U.S. medical student PSIG leaders to ascertain the activities they felt important to include in such groups, and the current content of their groups.


Authors received responses from 64 program directors and 44 PSIG leaders. Based on integration of the results of both surveys, and the practices of existing groups, they propose elements of a curriculum for PSIGs. Medical student PSIG leaders are particularly interested in activities that involve residents. Other curricular topics of interest both to students and training directors include those that focus on student/physician mental health and various psychiatry subspecialties or practice settings. Training directors are willing to be involved with a wide variety of PSIG activities.


The results of these surveys should help to guide PSIG leaders and faculty members in optimizing their PSIG curricula by helping them to include those activities felt to be of most interest by students and of most relevance by training directors.

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