Osler Student Societies

The Osler Student Societies are a program of the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine. Although other health sciences universities have student societies, as far as we've been able to determine, this is the only one in which the focus is specifically promoting the ideals embodied by Sir William Osler.

The development of the Societies was a special project and passion of Dr. Mark Holden, an Osler Scholar. The Societies enrolled their first full class of entering freshman in August 2006. Faculty mentors are nominated by students based on their excellence at teaching and modeling Oslerian ideals. Each Student Society also has three or four student mentors. These include the Osler Student Scholars and select upperclassmen who are invited to continue to participate and to act as mentors to the first and second year students.

The Student Societies typically schedule 5-6 activities a year, but the faculty mentors are available for consultation with the students in their groups throughout the year. One of the first tasks for the Osler Student Societies was choosing names. They were told to pick an influential and inspiring historic figure in medicine. They came up with the following:

Student participation in societies is voluntary, and all undergraduate students in the UTMB School of Medicine are invited to participate. It is the hope that the availability of strong mentors will attract student participation and provide the opportunity for students to experience professional and personal growth through their encounters with their Society mentors.

The vision of the Osler Student Societies is to provide developing physicians insight into "A Way of Life", described by Sir William Osler, not through formal lecture, but through the guidance of mentors in contact with students within and outside their academic setting.

The goals of the Student Societies are:

  • To enhance Faculty-Student interaction,
  • To enhance mentoring and advising of students by faculty,
  • To promote professionalism and humanism,
  • To promote community service, and
  • To promote the development of mentoring skills and comradarie among students

Annual Activities of the Osler Student Societies include:

Willie O’s Dinner & Toast - Each year all School of Medicine classes are invited to this formal dinner to honor the incoming class of first-year medical students and 3rd & 4th year student mentors.

Halloween Fall Festival and Carnival - The Osler Student Societies and Student Government Association team up every year to host the carnival intended for children 12 years of age & under and their families.

The Bioethics Bowl - Teams formed by first and second year Osler Student Society medical students are presented with medical ethics cases and are judged according to the quality and incisiveness of their reasoning about the cases.

FAC WAC - Sponsored by the Rene Laennec Osler Student Society, this academic competition is between two teams of faculty vs. faculty answering questions about anatomy, science, pop culture, and anything else! All proceeds benefit St. Vincent's Clinic.