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Academic Societies

UC Irvine School of Medicine supports 16 academic medical societies, each led by a societal leader who has been chosen based on his or her track record of successful communication skills, positive student feedback, situational awareness and overall emotional quotient. These societal masters represent specialties spanning the gamut from primary care to plastic surgery.

For these reasons they make excellent mentors for students to look up to in their clinical, academic and personal lives. Students find that spending time with these "high functioning" physicians helps them form positive role models, which is particularly important in times of stress or when they witness something negative from a clinical perspective (aka the hidden curriculum).

The mentorship they provide is instrumental in helping medical students define how they see themselves working with patients, nurses and their colleagues. The role of the societal master is not to provide specific teaching or even to recommend specific resources, but rather a person the student can reach out to and get emotional support during times of stress.

Many medical students have a tough time balancing the rigors of day-to-day life in medical school. Occasionally students get into trouble and need assistance in finding the best method to get back on track. Having a societal master show them how to successfully balance work and life on a personal level helps students see the bigger picture, and learn what it means to be a doctor and be healthy.

Societal masters also play a role in helping the student realize occupational ambitions when they serve as mock interviewers, ensuring student success on the interview trail. The masters often share their own processes and how they reached the decisions to pursue specific specialities.

Once a month, one of the masters gives a one-hour “real deal” specialty lunchtime talk with a two-year specialty curriculum built into it and split among both campuses.