Rare Disease Interest Group (rareDIG) at McGill University: A Medical Education Pilot Project
Main Article Content
One in 12 Canadians have a rare disease, yet medical education continues to espouse Dr. Woodward’s aphorism “when you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras.” This produces physician attitudes which are deleterious to the care of people with rare diseases. The McGill University Rare Disease Interest Group (rareDIG) has created programming which sensitizes medical students to the extent and reality of rare diseases.
rareDIG helps them to develop attitudes and approaches which shorten the diagnostic odyssey and improve care of people with rare diseases. Success stems from drawing attention to the realities of rare disease through direct patient interaction, creating a strong social media presence, and building collaborations with rare disease advocacy groups and networks. Our inaugural Rare Disease Day event was attended by over 100 attendees including medical students, patients and their families, and a variety of health professionals.
Other successes include a Patient Perspective Series addressing the holistic approach to rare disease, shadowing opportunities, “n = rare” journal clubs, and a “Humans of Rare Disease” advocacy project. Medical students represent an important cohort to target with rare disease awareness campaigns that has largely been overlooked by current advocacy efforts. By exposing medical students early in their education to the realities of rare diseases, student-run interest groups can improve medical students’ understanding and perception of rare diseases and ultimately improve patient care in the future. rareDIG strives to continue achieving its objectives in rare disease education and aide other medical schools in creating their own rare disease student groups.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Creative Comons 4.0 CC-BY
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).