After a turbulent orientation week, the OUWB Class of 2026 will hit the ground running with classes starting on Monday.
The busy week for the school’s newest matriculation cohort began on Sunday and ended on Friday, when the highlight of the day was a visit to TreeRunner Adventure Park on the Oakland University campus for team building and bonding.
Between the two days was a packed prep week where students were introduced to all facets of the school, including meeting faculty, learning details about the curriculum and programs like PRISM and Embark, a full day of Diversity, Equity , and inclusion and more.
“Orientation week for Class of 2026 went very well,” said Berkley Browne, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Student Affairs.
Browne said she was particularly pleased with one issue that emerged during the week.
“I was thrilled to see that just about every speaker – from the White Coat Ceremony to the PRISM mentors to the various presenters throughout the week – emphasized that we want them to approach their medical education in a way that makes them vote we can work together, collaborate and have compassion for each other instead of competition,” she said.
Jamie Vassel, Student Affairs Coordinator, Student Activities & Events, saw the impact firsthand.
“As the week went on, it was fun to see them go from being really, really quiet to being very, very talkative,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful feeling”
|Students participated in team building activities on Friday.|
Friday had a more relaxed feel for the students as the week drew to a close.
There were three main components: visiting TreeRunner; a session introducing the Art & Practice of Medicine (APM) course; and lunch with the current Executive Board of the Medical Student Government (MSG).
At TreeRunner, students were split into two groups – one focused on team building and the other focused on climbing and running through the actual course. After a while they switched focus.
The team building activities allowed the students to connect with each other in unique ways such as: B. traversing three platforms with only two wooden boards, lifting a hula hoop at the same time without grabbing it, and aligning on a rope in alphabetical order without speaking can only step on the rope.
Browne said the activities on TreeRunner were “a great way to bring to the class everything that the various presenters have been trying to show them throughout the week.”
Arooj Imran said she felt that an activity like this helps people get out of their comfort zone and meet new people.
“In an activity like this, you kind of have to connect with the teams because obviously if you leave someone behind, they’re going to fall behind,” she said.
“Working together really helps bond and learn how to work together.”
The students were happy that such an activity was included in their orientation week.
“I think it’s a wonderful feeling that we’re going to have a shared experience. And we can take part in these group activities so we can get to know each other a little better,” said Max Kuang.
“I don’t know of many med schools that are likely to do this, but the fact that Oakland is doing it is great,” he added.
On Friday, students also learned more about OUWB’s APM course from its directors. They also learned about OUWB’s standardized patient program.
In the middle of the day, the students had lunch and learned more about how to get involved in student government from the current Board of Directors of the OUWB Medical Student Government: Suhani Gupta, President; Nataly Salman, Vice President; Verna Halim, Treasurer, and Kristin Sarsfield, Secretary.
“One of our goals as MSG board was to develop a really close relationship with the incoming M1s as well as with the upper class people,” Gupta said. “These will be people that we will rotate and hopefully work with in the future, so we really want them to know that we are here for them in any capacity that they might need us to be.”
Many of the new students had questions for the board members on a wide variety of topics.
“I remember being in their shoes a year ago and feeling really nervous and overwhelmed,” Gupta said. “I am glad that many of you had the courage to ask us for your thoughts.”
The week started with an event called Sundae on Sunday.
Students have checked in at OUWB for the first time. They picked up laptops, tablets, and locker assignments, filled out the necessary paperwork, attended a student organization fair, and even enjoyed ice cream treats. Students also had the opportunity to tour the campus.
Students like Felicia Fong generally expressed feelings of excitement and nervousness.
“I’ve been working toward this for a decade,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone and starting to learn.”
“When I looked at schools, I looked for schools that were service-oriented and this was one of them,” said Jashan Khaira. “All the free clinics that they have, and then the volunteer work, is a big part of the med school…that aligns with my goals.”
Doria Morante did her bachelor’s degree at OU.
“I know the campus and everything very well,” she said. “So OUWB was my first choice and I’m happy to be here now.”
Hoon Oh said he’s looking forward to “meeting new people and new colleagues and just getting started.”
Focus on improvement
On Monday, Duane Mezwa, MD, Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB welcomed everyone.
He shared personal details about his upbringing, family, interests and hobbies, and career.
“I wanted to give you at least a little insight into who I am as dean, where I’m from, specifically where you’re sitting in your seats from, and how I became dean,” Mezwa said.
“And for some of you, you may take the same journey. Part of my message to you today is that you have absolutely no idea where this career is going to take you,” he added.
The students were generally impressed.
“I think I made the right choice. He seems to be a really good dean,” said Erika Curka. “He’s very personable, very social, very friendly.”
“He seems a lot more humorous than I thought. I thought he was very serious, but his introduction and conversation was great,” said Forrest Bohler.
After Mezwa, OUWB’s Department of Student Affairs took center stage
Jennifer Root, Ed.D., Assistant Dean for Student Affairs & Career Development, and Vassel moderated the session and introduced the entire team to the students.
They presented their mission and guiding principles they follow to give students the best chance of success.
“Our focus is really on your improvement. We want to make sure each of you has a successful time here during your four years,” Root said. “We see you as our junior colleague in training and would like to support you on your professional side in your next career path.”
Monday afternoon was dedicated to the OUWB’s 2022 White Coat Ceremony. (Read more about the ceremony here.)
On Tuesday, students spent most of the day immersing themselves in diversity, equity and inclusion. (Read more about the day here.)
Wednesday and Thursday were generally dedicated to students meeting faculty and learning about OUWB’s curriculum, including courses such as Anatomical Foundations of Clinical Practice (AFCP), Medical Humanities & Clinical Bioethics (MHCB), Promotion & Maintenance of Health (PMH) .
Students also learned about OUWB programs such as PRISM and Embark.
New for 2022 was a session led by Root and LaTina Jackson, Senior Medical School Advisor, that showed students how to implement and integrate all of the information, resources, expectations and support shown to them this week.
Among other things, the session allowed students to develop an individual schedule and receive real-time feedback from OUWB’s academic support staff as well as identify which learning resources are best suited to their particular needs.
“I’m grateful we took the time this year to focus some on implementation, and I look forward to seeing how the information from this new session will help our students transition even more smoothly into their classes next week.” ‘ said Browne.
At the end of the week, students said they were even more excited about their OUWB experience.
“Everyone here is so nice and welcoming,” said Nathan Huang. “I appreciate how nice the professors are… and I like how we have access to so many resources to be successful.”
“I can already feel the community among the medical students and we’ve only known each other for a few days,” says Brody Dams.
“The orientation was very informative,” said Wesam Almasri. “I’ve gotten a good sense of what to expect as I progress at OUWB.”
For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, Marketing Author, OUWB at [email protected]
To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing website.
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