In the early to mid-2000s, the percentage of medical students choosing to specialize in psychiatry had remained relatively stable. We knew that early exposure to psychiatry and mentoring experiences could make a difference, and it has in the past ten years. Since 2013, the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Foundation has focused on efforts to encourage medical students to consider specializing in psychiatry and our sub-specialties such as child psychiatry. We plan to do this by focusing efforts with OPPA members as well as the OPPA and its local Chapters, through awards and grants, and by coordinating efforts with Ohio medical schools. Here are just a few of our efforts:
Individual psychiatrists in Ohio can assist these efforts by making a contribution and/or volunteering to be a mentor and assisting your local chapter and the medical school in your area to encourage medical student exposure experiences. With coordinated and concerted efforts such as these we can improve the rate of medical students who choose to specialize in psychiatry in Ohio.
- Medical students, who are members of the American Psychiatric Association, are invited to take part in the "Consider Psychiatry Campaign" by attending the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association's Annual Psychiatric Update, at a minimal rate (often, OPPA will offer sponsorships to cover the entire cost). great opportunity to gain additional exposure into psychiatry, to network with current professionals and receive cutting-edge psychiatric education.
- Chapters are encouraged to invite medical students to attend regular or special meetings at the local level. The OPPF also encourages local chapters to work with local medical schools to offer mentoring experiences to medical students, especially early in their medical school career.
- Medical students are encouraged to apply for mentoring experience grants such as through the American Psychiatric Foundation Helping Hands Program, the OPPF Research Awards for medical students, and federal and state sponsored mentoring grants (e.g., SEARCH, MEDTAPP) for medical students to work with practicing psychiatrists).
- Coordination with Ohio medical schools departments of psychiatry clerkship coordinators, and others involved in the first two years of medical school education, to enhance mentoring experiences and early exposure to psychiatry in medical school.
Medical student engagement with OPPA
In addition to the Foundation's efforts, medical students can become more engaged/involved with OPPA by:
- Applying for a medical student scholarship to attend the OPPA Annual Psychiatric Update.
- Serving as a non-voting member of an OPPA committee – if planning to apply for a residency program in psychiatry in Ohio and are recommended by an OPPA member, who is mentoring the student.
- Attending OPPA’s Advocacy Day at the Statehouse, if invited to attend by an OPPA member who will serve as a mentor during the event.
Students (or their OPPA member mentor) will need to submit a request in writing, including two-three sentences about their interest in becoming involved with the OPPA while a medical student. If approved, the student may be asked to write a brief article for an issue of OPPA’s quarterly newsletter, Insight Matters to share their experience and what they learned.
The OPPA's Special Interest Group in Psychiatry strives to promote the field of psychiatry among medical students. We believe psychiatry is an important discipline because mental health are integral to the overall well-being of every individual. The OPPA and OPPF provide several opportunities for students to get involved including. The only requirement to join is membership in the American Psychiatric Association.
The Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Foundation (OPPF), in cooperation with the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association (OPPA) continues its priority of inviting medical students to be a part of its annual Consider Psychiatry Campaign. As in years past, more than 50 medical students were able to attend the 2023 OPPA Annual Psychiatric Update which was held on April 22-23, 2023 at no cost as a result of the generous contributions made by OPPA members, several medical schools and OPPF general funds.
The Consider Psychiatry Campaign is a great opportunity to gain additional exposure into psychiatry, to network with current professionals and receive cutting-edge psychiatric education.
For further details, visit www.oppa.org/annualpsychupdate.