Organizing a resident physician/medical student spouse group takes time, effort, and most of all, enthusiasm. Before you undertake such a project, be sure to talk with administrators to gain the support and cooperation of the hospital or teaching institution. The following guidelines are designed to provide a framework for your efforts.
Form a Group
- List the reasons you think such a group should be started–for example, sharing mutual interests and concerns; raising funds for community initiatives; and/or organizing legislative advocacy. Put these reasons in writing to form the basis of the group’s purpose.
- Contact two or three friends or acquaintances at the hospital or medical school who may be interested in working with you to start a group.
- Plan an informal meeting of interested spouses at the hospital, medical school, or someone’s home.
Get Involved and Get Together
Secure a place to hold the meeting, such as a meeting room at the hospital or teaching facility, someone’s home, or even a local restaurant.
Prepare a personal letter or flier inviting the spouses of physicians-in-training to the meeting. Give day, date, time, and place, and ask them to RSVP. Put copies of this flier on public bulletin boards, in residents’ and/or students’ mailboxes, and distribute fliers in the cafeteria or other locations where residents, students, and spouses will see it. Ask the editor of the hospital or medical school newsletter to publish a notice of the meeting.
Make the meeting informal so people have a chance to get acquainted, but also plan time to discuss your ideas for organizing a group.
Ask how many people would be interested in meeting regularly, and get their names, addresses, and phone numbers so you can contact them.
Set a second meeting date to organize the group, and ask for volunteers to prepare simple bylaws for presentation at the next meeting.
Organize the Group
- Review, discuss, and adopt or amend the bylaws introduced by the volunteer committee.
- Elect temporary officers or a nominating committee to elect officers.
- Appoint committees as stated in your bylaws, for example, philanthropy, finance, fund-raising, social events, or legislation.
Plan A Programs, Meeting or Event
Special interest groups: book reading, gourmet cooking, couples night, running/tennis/sports, child play groups, etc.
Educational programs: financial planning, transition from residency to practice, self defense, nutrition, child-rearing, etc.
Family: children activities, grade school presentations, physician wellness, healthy lifestyles, etc.
Fundraising: for special community groups, a needy family, the hospital, the medical school, the local Ronald McDonald House, etc.
Personal development: assertiveness training, public speaking, stress management, etc.
Social get-togethers: for couples only, for families, holiday events, happy hours, picnics, etc.
Legislative advocacy: voter registration drives, letter-writing to legislators, educational forums, etc.
Call your local or state Alliance to ask for help in programs. They may have a list of speakers whose topics may interest your members, as well as ongoing programs in which your group can become involved.
Contact the AMA Alliance to learn more about the benefits of membership.
Take Advantage of Resources
The Medical Marriage: Written by Wayne and Mary Sotile, well-known researchers and counselors to high-powered couples, The Medical Marriage offers an enlightening and compassionate look at the partners in a physician relationship as both individuals and as a couple. The book is available to RPS/MSS members for the special discount price of $20.
Project Bank: The Encyclopedia of Public Health and Community Projects: Available upon request, Project Bank includes more than 500 project ideas in several categories ranging from fund-raising to legislation, social events, and health projects targeting family violence,
AMA Alliance Membership: For annual dues of $10, RPS/MSS members will receive AMA Alliance Today, access to insurance programs, and discounts on hotels and rental cars, as well as discounts on AMA Alliance resources and publications, including children’s activity books, the Physician Spouse Series, and handbooks on membership, fundraising, health promotion and legislative action.