Founding dean of OUWB leads dissection event for ophthalmology interest group
An image of OUWB students at the dissection event
Revati Rashingkar (left), M2, and Nikita Patel, M3, work in a microsurgery lab as part of the dissection event led by Robert Folberg, M.D., founding dean, OUWB.

A group of medical students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine recently participated in an eye dissection led by the school’s founding dean.

Robert Folberg, M.D., founding dean, OUWB, 2008-2019, led the special event at the Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital’s Research Building in Royal Oak. The group dissected cow eyes.

According to Vincent Le, M2, president, Ophthalmology Interest Group (OIG), the cow eye dissection hasn’t been held since 2019. He and the other OIG e-board members wanted that to change.

“For this year, the board and I wanted to get students interested in ophthalmology a little more involved,” he said.

The OIG e-board presented the idea of a cow eye dissection to its faculty advisor and ophthalmologist, Adam Weiner, M.D., OUWB ’15.

He said he was fully on board.

“Hands on training and dissecting an eye is really valuable and demonstrates some of the skills students will need as ophthalmology residents,” he said. “It’s not something you can just do virtually.”

“Plus, it’s simply more engaging when you do a live event like this,” he added.

An image of students and doctors at the dissection event

(Standing, left) Adam Weiner, M.D., and Robert Folberg, M.D., (standing right) led the dissection event. 

There are volunteer opportunities for students to get involved in vision screenings, said Le, “but those are mostly limited to checking someone’s vision and there aren’t a lot of opportunities to really see eye anatomy at this level.”

He said cow eyes were used because they are easier to obtain, reasonable in cost, and bigger in size.

Held in a microsurgery lab, the session included a brief introduction to eye anatomy before the students used special microscopes and other tools to dissect the specimens.

Le said it was that hands-on experience that had him most excited.

“I’ve been lucky enough to sign up for a couple of skills night events and I remember how rewarding and exciting they were for me,” he said. “During the first two years of med school, we spend a lot of time learning from books so when we can do these things with our hands, see residents, and talk to physicians, it’s a good reminder of why we’re doing it all.”

The session was done under the guidance of Folberg.

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Appointed dean of OUWB in 2008, Folberg previously served as chair of the Department of Pathology at University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago.

He was an esteemed professor of ophthalmology and pathology, with a national and international reputation in the field of ophthalmic pathology, hospital administration, education, and research.

In addition to his role as dean at OUWB, he also served as professor of biomedical sciences, pathology, and ophthalmology, with tenure, and as chief academic officer of the former Beaumont Hospitals.

When Weiner approached him about leading the cow eye dissection for OIG, Folberg said “there was no way I could say no.” (He also noted that he still remembers when a pre-med school Weiner interviewed as a potential M.D. candidate at OUWB.)

“This is an interest group and if it stimulates interest in eyes, whether they go on to become ophthalmologists or not, that’s a success,” he said.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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