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
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, William Beaumont Hospital