1. Look into your school’s guidelines for starting a student group. The best time of year to think about starting a group is several months ahead of the new school year. This will give you enough time to fill out necessary paperwork and start recruiting founding members.
2. Contact PNHP at (312) 782-6006 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The National Organizer will help you to identify PNHP members from the faculty of your medical school who might serve as a mentor or sponsor of your group, and connect you to other PNHP student leaders in your area.
3. Have an initial meeting of interested medical students. Your group should discuss the following:
• What does your chapter hope to accomplish? What kinds of leadership roles are needed to facilitate those actions?
• How often will your chapter meet, and how?
• How will your chapter be structured and how will your group make decisions?
• How will your chapter grow? Who do you hope to recruit into your chapter?
• What kinds of other student groups or civic organizations will your chapter partner with, if any? Is there a process for working with other like-minded groups?
4. Create a “Chapter Charter.” A Chapter Charter is a statement of intent to the national headquarters of PNHP (see template here). The charter should be signed by at least five founding members. Send your signed charter to email@example.com, fax to 312-782-6007, or send by mail to 29 E. Madison Street, Suite 1412, Chicago, IL 60602. Please indicate a primary contact for correspondence.
5. All signatories of the Chapter Charter should be members of PNHP, or join PNHP upon signing. Student memberships are free! Join here.
6. Begin planning a kick-off event, such as a film screening, panel discussion or speaker. The National Organizer at PNHP can help you with ideas, acquire the rights to show certain films, provide lists of members to invite, and help book speakers from PNHP.
7. Most universities have an Activity Fair at the beginning of the school year in August or September. Contact your school about reserving a table, and email PNHP at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive materials for your table (such as sign-up sheets, posters, handouts and buttons). Make sure to have a flyer for your kick-off event at the table!
8. Join the PNHP monthly national conference calls. Email email@example.com to make sure the announcement of your new chapter is on the agenda so we can recognize and welcome your group!