February 20, 2024

Why Should You Take on a Leadership Position as a Medical Student?

Fayhaa Doja, MS-3, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

Prior to medical school, I’d never held a leadership position. I’d never been a confident, decisive person, preferring to do my work behind the scenes. Fast forward three years, and I’ve now held multiple positions at my school and within national organizations! My experience has shown me that anyone can be a leader, and it’s never too late to get started.

Medical school is a great place to build your confidence and look for leadership opportunities because a wealth of clubs look for student leaders every year. Step one is to join a club that aligns with your passions or professional goals and attend a meeting. Volunteering allows you to display your skills and personality and gives you firsthand knowledge of the organization’s structure. For example, after serving as research Co-Chair for a club at my school, I was able to join the same research board on a national level. When leadership opportunities become available, you will be in a good position to apply.

Most national organizations (including the ACR®) provide free membership to medical students. These organizations often require membership for their volunteers and offer leadership roles to medical students. I was able to join the Student Osteopathic Medical Association National Research Committee because I had two years of experience as my school’s local research liaison and research director. This experience put me in the position to apply for the national committee.

Small experiences can grow into big ones. For example, the ACR has 54 chapters, which you could initially join to work locally before slowly moving up into leadership positions. My best advice for students applying for these positions is just go for it! If you can show your passion, experience and vision for the organization in your application, you may be recognized and rewarded for the effort.

Why take on a leadership role?

Leadership roles allow you to network and gain experience, which is integral for growing into your role as a future physician. I joined the ACR Medical Student Section Education Subcommittee and worked with amazing, ambitious peers to help create radiology-focused content for medical students. I was assigned to help lead the ACR Medical Student Research Fair, an experience that will help build my team management and public speaking, as well as meet potential future colleagues!

The ACR attributes its success to member volunteers who serve their fellow members in state chapters, commissions and committees, as well as through the ACR Foundation International Outreach Program. To apply for a leadership position at the ACR, please complete the ACR Rad Reserves Medical Student Volunteer Form.

Holding a leadership position grants you valuable experiences and skills that you’ll carry throughout your career. The friends and colleagues you make along the way will stand the test of time. No matter who you are, you’re capable of being a great leader; just take the first step!