Kara Sawarynski, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies
Assistant Dean for Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement 

An image of Kara SawarynskiKara Sawarynski, Ph.D., is the assistant dean for Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement and is working with medical educators across the continuum to evolve the curriculum to meet the needs of today’s medical student. Dr. Sawarynski is also a tenured associate professor at OUWB teaching cell biology in the pre-clinical curriculum. Additionally, she serves as an Embark Program Co-Director, which includes development and implementation of the longitudinal research design courses, directing of the first year through fourth year medical students in the conception and execution of their required independent research projects, and oversight on Embark Program events. In 2011, Dr. Kara Sawarynski began her medical education career working to define the inaugural Oakland University William Beaumont (OUWB) curriculum. She served as vice chair of the Foundational Medical Studies Department (2019-2023), president of the Faculty Assembly (2021-2023), chair of the OUWB Scholarship Committee (2016-2022) and is a member of the OUWB Medical School Management Committee among other committee responsibilities.

Dr. Sawarynski received her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the Lee Honors College of Western Michigan University. She completed her doctoral work in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. Her research career spans molecular and cellular biology, cancer biology, and infectious diseases within a variety of model systems, and is now focused on medical education techniques. Dr. Sawarynski’s current research is focused on medical student wellness, improving research design instruction, and developing educational scaffolds to support GenZ students. She is a national AAMC Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) certificate program graduate, an OUWB Diversity Champion graduate and has completed Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead training certificate program. Dr. Sawarynski has led a Dare to Lead Daring Teams Rollout program for OUWB faculty and staff and is pursuing leadership training opportunities for OUWB students. Dr. Sawarynski is passionate about creating an environment in which all students and faculty can thrive.

Contact Information:

Office: 422 O’Dowd Hall
Phone: 248-370-3671
Email: [email protected]


Cellular and molecular biology, medical education, research design


Ph.D., Cancer Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine/Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI

B.S., Biomedical Sciences, Lee Honors College of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Research Interests:

Medical Education: medical education, research design,
instruction and program management, medical student study skills, educational technology development

Basic Science: molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer biology