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About the Societies

Beginning with the 1999-2000 academic year, all medical students were assigned to an Academic Society. The purpose of the KU Medical Alumni Societies is to:

  • Enhance student-faculty interaction;
  • Enhance student-student interaction, particularly across classes;
  • Provide a structure for student advising and wellness programming;
  • Promote a sense of community for students and faculty; and
  • Encourage the development of professional attitudes and behaviors among student

The Societies sponsor periodic events for students and faculty. Individual Society meetings occur over the noon hour on the first or second Thursday of most months throughout the school year. Thursday meetings are reserved for guest speakers, discussion groups, and professional and leadership development activities. Wellness activities occur at various times throughout the year and may include picnics, dinners, recreational outings or other informal gatherings.

For more information about the Societies, please contact Lauren Parker, 588-5261,

Student-Faculty Interaction

Faculty members participate as advisors/mentors on a voluntary basis and are assigned one or two students from each class. Matriculating medical students are introduced to their faculty mentor during society events during orientation.

It is expected that each student will meet with their assigned faculty advisor at least once each semester to maintain a consistent advising schedule. This ongoing communication allows students to build formal relationships which contribute to the academic, personal and professional development of students at KU-SOM.

Student-Student Interaction

Students within the same society and class year interact through the professionalism curriculum and during the monthly lunch programming. Interactions within the same society and across classes occur within the big sib/little sib program, where incoming students are paired with a second year student as a mentor. Cross-class interaction within a society and with other societies occur during our all-society speaker events, monthly lunch meetings and tri-campus events, such as the Student Recognition Ceremony.

Student Advising/Mentoring

Students are matched with faculty advisors based upon interest to the extent that is possible. The mix of students from each of the four classes along with a skilled, experienced faculty advisor provides a forum for academic, personal, professional, and career development for students at all levels. Faculty mentors are listed on the Society website. Click on a Society to view faculty mentors. Faculty names are linked to a list of assigned students.

Sense of Community

Students remain in their designated Academic Society throughout their medical school experience. This creates a unique sense of community that students experience from their very first day in medical school. Student-student and student-faculty interaction is fostered through academic/professional programs and social gatherings.

Professional Development

Societies were created to encourage the development of professional attitudes and behaviors among students. Professional development is fostered through various society-sponsored programs and events, and through informal interaction between students and faculty.

The University of Kansas School of Medicine has adopted a "Professionalism Initiative," conceived to raise awareness of professionalism within the KU medical community as a whole, from the first day of medical school, throughout one's career in the health sciences. Find out more about the Professionalism Initiative.

Learn more about career advising and professional development in the School of Medicine.Cates's Society Logo

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Last modified: Mar 29, 2019