Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
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The OUWB Learning Environment

A Special Environment to Create, Learn, and Apply Medical Knowledge

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.

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 System 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 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 75 students in the Class of 2016 compiled more than 70,000 hours of meaningful community engagement before coming to OUWB.

Robert Folberg, MD
Founding Dean, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Chief Academic Officer, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

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