A Special Environment to Create, Learn, and Apply Medical Knowledge
We have always wanted our physicians to be technical and scientific experts. We now expect more from them. In the words of the American Medical Association’s 2007 Initiative to Transform Medical Education, the emphasis on medical students acquiring knowledge and problem solving may "lead physicians to perceive patients as simply sources of data and 'problems to be solved' instead of individuals in need."
In the words of a Beaumont Health physician-leader, "I know that you can train a doctor to be academically excellent: how do you train a physician to be kind?"
The OUWB Approach: Why?
In the coming years, we, the school’s founders will no longer be here. The buildings may be different. The science that is taught will have surely advanced. Educational technologies and methods, now considered to be “best practices” will be replaced by more effective practices.
Our approach to medical education and service can be transmitted - one generation of faculty and staff to another and one generation of students to another.
We may influence the practice of medicine by everyone who will ever attend our school and therefore influence the life of every patient who will ever be seen by our graduates.
The OUWB Approach to Medical Education
From inception, OUWB was designed to transform medical education by emphasizing holistic physician development – a “liberal arts medical education” that is grounded in evidence-based medical science.
We select students who bring attributes and experiences predictive of a future holistic approach to medical school and who demonstrate the academic aptitude to excel in the study of medical science.
We immerse our students in a carefully designed learning environment that emerges from a generous investment of attention and care to every detail of our daily work. We aspire to facilitate the growth of a medical student into a physician who achieves at levels that surpass competency, who is compassionate, who listens with focused intensity and who communicates clearly with elevated cultural awareness. We expect our graduates who become scientists and clinician-scientists to understand that the endpoint of every experiment is a patient awaiting an answer.
We guide students along a path of personal and professional development designed to last a lifetime. Our students begin to learn communication skills within the first weeks of medical school. We promote the student’s own well being through a structured program that emphasizes personal growth through reflective practice. We engage students in the study of the humanities and clinical bioethics throughout their training – not just in one course. Each student designs and executes a research program in one of many dimensions including basic research, community and public health, global and international health, healthcare disparities, medical informatics and simulation, quality and safety, health care policy and advocacy, health care disparities and the physician as an educator.
We engage our students in serving the needs of the community in multiple ways. Some of these efforts have attracted national attention. That OUWB is committed to its community - local and global - should not be a surprise. For example, the 128 students in the Class of 2019 compiled more than 105,000 hours of meaningful community engagement before coming to OUWB.
Robert Folberg, M.D.
Founding Dean, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Chief Academic Officer, William Beaumont Hospital
A circle represents a community. If just one point is dropped, the circle is broken. This teaches us that everyone in our community and everyone in the communities we serve - everyone has infinite value.
Two points on a circle can be far apart from each other - even 180 degrees apart - and yet, both points are equidistant from the center. This reminds us that as much as we may disagree with each other from time to time - far apart from each other in our thinking - we can still be focused equally on our core values.
Two circles border the OUWB patch.
On one level, the two circles represent the two founding institutions: the outer blue circle represents Beaumont Health and the inner gold circle represents Oakland University.
On another level, the two circles represent the two questions we ask of ourselves: what do we want to do - answered by the knowledge we acquire and the skills that we master - and who do we want to be - achieved by developing the personal attributes that contribute to a compassionate physician.
And finally, because a circle represents a community, the two circles on our patch represent OUWB’s mission: we are a community serving our community, locally and globally.
OUWB - A community serving its community.
Diversity and Inclusion
Everyone should believe that I - I personally - am responsible for a culture that values diversity as a strategy for achieving excellence and culture that embraces everyone in our medical school community.
Diversity and Inclusion are natural consequences of a humanistic culture of scholarship and service.
At the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, diversity and inclusion are underlying assumptions of the culture - they are not questioned or subject to debate.
We understand that we cannot possibly create and sustain a high achieving and humanistic culture without including everyone who can contribute and without embracing differences.
Seventy percent of the founding leadership of this school are first-generation college graduates. To gender-balance this school, we would need to recruit more men to leadership positions.
We encourage all who may have never thought of a career in medicine to expand their horizons of opportunity. No one who is talented and dedicated to “promoting, maintaining and restoring health to individuals and communities served by the school and its graduates” (from the OUWB vision statement) should be excluded from the opportunity to join us.
Service and Engagement
The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine defines is a community driven by its mission statement and visions “in promoting, maintaining and restoring health to individuals and communities served by the school and its graduates.”
We actualize our mission and work toward fulfilling our vision through a thoughtful planned process and growing commitment to community engagement service .
The official “address” for community engagement and service-learning activities at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is COMPASS.
About the OUWB Culture: Our Staff, Faculty and Leadership
Everyone in the School of Medicine - every staff member, faculty member and member of the School of Medicine leadership - has been recruited on the basis of talent and emotional intelligence. We pay attention to experience but we remember that one can have considerable experience and still not deliver inspired scholarship, teaching and service. Therefore, it matters more to us that a member of our medical school community embraces a fluid exchange of ideas across disciplines and takes pleasure in the accomplishments of everyone and of the entire school.
Each of us works best when our passions for medical education, scholarship and service converge with our talents. We strive to achieve this convergence so that membership in the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine team becomes a greenhouse for a career.
Sustaining the OUWB Culture
The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is resilient. We lost one of our beloved founding associate deans - Dr. Michele Raible to leukemia during an especially fragile formative period of our development. As a community, we cared for Michele and her husband, we grieved together when we lost Michele, and, inspired by her contributions, we remembered her and continued to grow and develop the school and the culture.
Each generation of arrivals to the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine receives the culture from the previous generations. A structured program explaining the culture is delivered to every employee - staff, faculty and leadership - by the founding dean. Everyone realizes the culture must be transmitted to the school’s study partners - to our students.
About the OUWB Culture: Our Study Partners, Our Students
We recruit staff, faculty and leadership on the basis of talent and emotional intelligence. We admit medical students through a parallel process - through holistic review. We take it for granted that our students are gifted academically. We select students who are passionate about scholarship and service and who are attracted to the affirmative and humanistic culture of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
We understand that our students are learning medicine for the first time while we annually renew our own study of medicine with them. By learning together, our students become our study partners. In the research laboratory, a cell in culture may influence its microenvironment just as the microenvironment may influence the cell, a process known as “dynamic reciprocity” (Mina J Bissell).
Discovering Leading and Learning
The School of Medicine’s PRISM program guides students to discover where their passions for medicine converge with their talents so the medical school is a greenhouse for their careers. PRISM also encourages students to take care of themselves and to care for each other, fulfilling the pledges that students take in reciting the Oath of Geneva during the White Coat Ceremony: “my colleagues will be my sisters and brothers.”
Our study partners - our students - learn in teams because research and the practice of medicine requires teamwork, learning how to lead and learning how to participate.
We expect our study partners - our students - to reach beyond competency to achieve excellence. The Capstone Project provides this opportunity to ask important questions and to begin to develop answers. We expect our students to think critically while considering the proposition that “wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge” (Abraham Joshua Heschel).
We wish every student success while we work with every student to become successful. We hope that they derive satisfaction from their own achievements and joy from the accomplishments of their peers.
We do all of this because, in the end, everything we do is about creating extraordinary physicians and scientists to fulfill the mission and vision of the school.