Chapter Advisor Concerns and Suggestions

I have so much on my plate, I simply don’t have time to run my GHHS chapter:

  • The happiest and most effective chapter advisors empower their members to run their GHHS chapter. You should not be calling the meetings, planning the activities, and motivating the members.
  • Elect or select officers and give them expectations for their positions.
  • Have your outgoing GHHS students have a meeting with the incoming GHHS students so that there can be a GHHS culture created and projects and ideas can be passed on. This means your new members should be selected and notified no later than the spring of their third year.
  • Invite a co-advisor or two to work with you. Find an enthusiastic member of the faculty who perhaps was a GHHS member in his/her medical school.
  • Find other members of GHHS (faculty, residents) who were inducted into GHHS at other institutions, or who received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award at your institution. Your DIO in your GME office can assist you. Invite them to help you to get your chapter going.
  • Your GHHS chapter can now induct up to four members of the faculty into GHHS each year. You can quickly build faculty support by involving these new members in GHHS meetings and activities.
  • Your GHHS chapter can also induct up to six residents into GHHS each year. Use these residents as an extension of your work force as you plan projects and activities.
  • Post questions or problems on the GHHS Chapter Advisor Listserv at ChapterAdvisors@gaggle.emailand ask for opinions and ideas.

Fourth-year students are too busy to meet or participate in any planned activities:

  • Fourth-year medical students are incredibly busy. But if it is clear that GHHS should be a priority, they will manage their time to allow some participation.
  • Consider making an essay be a part of the selection process. If the prompt is something like, “GHHS is more than an honorific, it is a service organization to promote humanism in our medical center.  If you are selected to be a member of GHHS, what activities would you engage in during your fourth-year to make our learning environment more caring for patients and health care providers alike?”  This will make it clear to them that they are expected to participate in the mission of GHHS during their fourth year, and will generate some good ideas for your chapter.
  • Don’t expect all members to participate all of the time. Stagger responsibilities and activities.
  • See if any natural leaders arise out of your GHHS membership. Ask them if they would like to organize and lead the chapter.  Most of our best ideas and activities are generated by students.
  • Have regular meetings. See if there is a way off-site members can call or Skype in.  Suggest they use other electronic media for communication.
  • Have your GHHS members meet in the spring with outgoing GHHS members. This will give them time to plan and anticipate for their fourth year.
  • Consider suggesting that your members divide up into committees that have specific, limited tasks that can be accomplished. Some ideas are fundraising, curriculum, activities, National Solidarity Week, Thank a Resident Day, induction ceremony planning.
  • Find other GHHS members at your institution and ask them to help.
  • A checkbox for GHHS is now on the ERAS Application. This is new in Spring 2015 and something your students, faculty, and administrators may not know about.  Spread the word about this at your institution—your medical students will take notice. Then make it clear that students will not be nominated and selected to GHHS unless they are willing to contribute their time and energy to programs in the fourth year that promote a supportive and compassionate learning environment.

Our students are too geographically separated to be able to meet or plan anything together:

  • In this age of technology and social networking, distance should not be a problem for your students. Ask them to set up meetings through Google Chat or Skype.  Have them create a listserv.  Set up your own GHHS Facebook page.  Create your own GHHS website.  (Many chapters already have them.  To see some examples, go to the Chapter List and click on the school names that are hyperlinked (red).
  • Create small groups of GHHS members at each geographic site. Ask them to create their own unique GHHS project.
  • Have your GHHS chapter create a project that can be done through the Internet. For example, one chapter created an “Ask the GHHS” network tool.   A directory of GHHS members with their areas of interest was posted through the Student Affairs Office, and all medical students at the institution were invited to contact GHHS members via email with questions and for guidance.

We need some good ideas for activities that will be easy to implement:

We don’t have money to pay for programs or activities.

  • Help your leadership to understand that GHHS makes your institution look good so that they will be more interested in supporting you. Get your activities in local newsletters and announcements, and send a copy to your dean.  Have your students present posters and abstracts about their GHHS chapter activities at conferences and meetings.  When your chapter is thanked and acknowledged for making a difference in your medical center or in your community, make sure your administrators know.
  • Lobby your administrators for GHHS support. Often Student Affairs Offices have money for student organizations.  Remind your administrators that GHHS is now recognized by ERAS, and a stronger GHHS chapter may mean stronger residency placement opportunities for your medical students.
  • Apply for GHHS Chapter Activity Grants
  • Look for funding ideas in the GHHS Chapter Toolkit