Purpose: To characterize the involvement of internal medicine department chairs in the core third-year internal medicine clinical clerkship. Method: In 2003, the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM) surveyed its membership. Along with demographics, clerkship directors were asked if the department's chair participated in the clerkship, the number of hours per month the clerkship director and chair discussed clerkship issues, and if published job expectations were discussed. Results: The response rate was 62% (158/254): 103 responses (89 clerkship directors) represented unique medical schools, which formed the basis of the analysis. Eighty-two percent (84/103) reported the chair taught in the clerkship: 54% as teaching attending, 53% as ward attending, 13% as ambulatory attending, and 20% other (e.g., lectures, student rounds, morning report). Of them, 36% performed two activities; 14% three activities; and 2% four activities. Thirty-six percent of the clerkship directors discussed published expectations with their chair. They spent 1.7 (SD 2.2) hours per month with the chair discussing clerkship issues. However, 17% spent zero hours per month with the chair, and 29% spent zero hours per month with a dean's office representative. Chairs who taught spent more time each month with the clerkship director compared with chairs who did not teach (1.9 versus .82 hours, p = .01, Mann-Whitney). There was no association between the chairs' teaching and clerkship directors' demographics. Conclusions: Internal medicine department chairs are significantly involved in the clinical education of medical students, both administratively and through direct teaching. Chairs who teach spend more time discussing clerkship issues with the clerkship director. Chairs and clerkship directors should discuss expectations, and chairs should continue to visibly demonstrate their commitment to students' education.