The Undergraduate Surgery Interest Group (USIG): A New Venue for Premedical Student Exposure to the Field of Surgery

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The Undergraduate Surgery Interest Group (USIG): A New Venue for Premedical Student Exposure to the Field of Surgery

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Journal of the American College of Surgeons




Early exposure to the field of surgery through workshops, lectures, and mentors may bolster and prolong interest in surgical careers for undergraduate students. An Undergraduate Surgery Interest Group (USIG) was started through the initiative of students, seeking to create more opportunities through which younger students could develop and explore their motivations for advancing toward surgical practices. This USIG has received advisorship, resources, and support from the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Surgery. A group of students may work with the medical school and student government to develop a constitution defining the objectives and structure of the group, as well as create officer positions. Coordination with an advisor is recommended to aid navigation and networking within the medical school necessary for resources, events, and speakers. The group may then be publicized through social media, flyers, and various departments within the university to gain membership and participation. A USIG was created by a board of five undergraduate students under mentorship within the medical school. Each board member has a well-defined role and oversight by a USIG president. Weekly board meetings are held to coordinate bi-weekly events, which include surgical technique workshops, tours of medical labs, exposure to next-generation biomedical engineering devices, and discussions involving the history of surgery. This USIG was created in Fall 2015 and now has 260 active undergraduate participants. A Facebook page has been used to publicize events and workshops, currently with about 200 ‘Likes’. Short-term success of the group is routinely evaluated through member surveys and post-event questionnaires, and long-term impacts of the group will be evaluated through physicians citing the USIG as influential to their career. USIG provides unique opportunities for undergraduates to gain exposure and interest in the surgical field while promoting long-term commitment. In turn, advisers may discover students with valuable qualities, while medical students gain teaching opportunities which better prepare them for clinical rotations in surgery.



This research was presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in Fall 2016 and at the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Symposium in Spring 2017. The work presented summarized the formation of the Undergraduate Surgery Interest Group as a novel educational platform for providing undergraduate students with meaningful exposure to the field of surgery.

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Undergraduate Surgery Interest Group: A New Venue for Premedical Student Exposure to the Field of Surgery Harmon, James V. et al. Journal of the American College of Surgeons , Volume 223 , Issue 4 , e182

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Hedberg, Jack. (2016). The Undergraduate Surgery Interest Group (USIG): A New Venue for Premedical Student Exposure to the Field of Surgery. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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