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By Dr. Saad Hanan, SJSM USMLE Counselor, SJSM Alum;

My trip to the National Conference for AAFP in Kansas City, was an exciting opportunity for me, my colleague Dr. Nizamani, and SJSM. The conference took place from July 28th-30th and we were extremely thrilled to support SJSM’s Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG), which was being honored with a Program of Excellence Award in Professional Development. Out of 100+ applicants, SJSM was the only Caribbean medical school whose interest group was recognized at this event.

Dr. Nizamani and I attended the Regi-ception on the first day of the event. The early bird individuals got their badges and had the chance to get familiar with the conference hall. We then spent the day exploring, and meeting staff and other SJSM students.

The event began on July 28th. Program Directors and a recent graduate provided advice on how to thrive in The Match Process, what Program Directors are looking for, and how to stand out. We had the opportunity to meet with a recent medical school graduate and AAFP speaker, Dr. Walker, who gave us fantastic advice on what our next steps in the residency application process should be. She even introduced us to a few Program
Directors as great candidates for their programs!

Dr. Nizamani and I then went to a Rural Family Medicine workshop where we learned the importance and advantages of these programs. It was a great learning and networking experience for both of us.

Towards the evening, the Expo Hall opened and the main event began! There were 508 programs there and many of them had their Program Directors available to speak with interested students/graduates. Program Directors would then scan your badge, placing you on their first reviewed list when the Match cycle begins. This event was an excellent opportunity for recognition and facetime!

The rest of our stay was focused on the Expo Hall experience. We had 76 Visa Sponsoring programs to visit (Dr. Nizamani & I are Canadian). Because we believe in quality over quantity, we invested our time in making meaningful connections with the 30 programs that we were able to meet with. We connected with terrific and encouraging individuals, from residents to coordinators to Program Directors, some of which administered mini interviews on the spot!

It was an honor to sit at the SJSM table as current SJSM students won an award for our Family Medicine Interest Group for Professional Development. It was amazing to see the next generation of SJSM students carrying the torch forward to establish SJSM as a top medical school. As mentioned, SJSM was the ONLY Caribbean medical school that was recognized and celebrated amongst US medical schools at the AAFP! Two SJSM FMIG students, Rahul and Hirak, accepted the award on behalf of the group. We were so proud!

All in all, this was a fantastic trip and excellent insight into the minds of Program Directors. Regardless of your interest in FM, this event offers an amazing networking opportunity with students, residents, and program directors from various schools and programs.


Dr Saad Hanan, MD
USMLE Counselor

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