After a whirlwind week of orientation, OUWB’s Class of 2026 will kick off when classes begin on Monday.
The busy week for the school’s newest student cohort started Sunday and ended Friday, when the highlight of the day was a visit to the TreeRunner Adventure Park on the Oakland University campus for team building and bonding.
Between the two days was a busy week of preparation, during which students were introduced to all facets of the school, including meeting teachers, learning details about the curriculum and programs such as PRISM and Embark, an entire day devoted to diversity, equality, and inclusion, and more.
“The induction week for the Class of 2026 has gone very well,” said Berkley Browne, Ph.D., associate dean, Student Affairs.
Browne said she was especially happy with a theme that came up throughout the week.
“I was thrilled to see just about every speaker — from the White Coat Ceremony to the PRISM mentors to the variety of session hosts throughout the week — emphasized that we want them to approach their medical education in a way that allows them to to choose cooperation, cooperation and compassion for each other over competition,” she said.
Jamie Vassel, coordinator student affairs, Student Activities & Events, saw the impact firsthand.
“As the week went on, it was fun to watch them go from very, very quiet to very, very talkative,” she said.
‘It’s a wonderful feeling’
|On Friday the students took part in team building activities.|
Friday had a looser feel to the students as the week progressed.
There were three main components: the visit to 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, the students were divided into two groups – one focused on team building and the other focused on climbing and going through the actual trail. After a while, they switched areas of interest.
The team building activities allowed the students to interact with each other in unique ways, such as crossing three platforms with just two wooden planks, lifting one hula hoop at a time without grabbing it, and aligning themselves on a rope in alphabetical order without breaking. talking and being able to step on the rope alone.
Browne said the activities at TreeRunner were “a great way to reinforce in front of the class everything the different presenters tried to show during the week.”
Arooj Imran said she feels that an activity like this helps people get out of their comfort zone and meet new people.
“With an activity like this you have to bond with teams because if you leave someone behind, they will obviously fall behind,” she said.
“Working together really helps each other bond and learn to work together.”
The students were happy that an activity like this was included in their introduction week.
“I think it’s a great feeling that we get a common experience. And we can participate in these group activities so we can get to know each other a little bit better,” said Max Kuang.
“I don’t know of many medical schools that probably do something like this, but the fact that Oakland is doing this is amazing,” he added.
On Friday, students also learned more about OUWB’s APM course from the directors. They also learned more about the standardized patient program of the OUWB.
In between, the students had lunch and learned more about how to get involved in the student board of the current Executive Board 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’s board of directors was to build a close relationship with both the incoming M1s and the upperclassmen,” said Gupta. “These will be people that we rotate with and hopefully we’ll be collaborating in the future, so we really want to let them know that we’re there for them in whatever capacity they need us to.”
Many of the new students had questions for board members on a variety of topics.
“I remember being in their shoes a year ago and feeling very nervous and overwhelmed,” Gupta said. “I’m glad many of them had the courage to ask us what’s on their minds.”
The week started with an event called ‘Sundaes on Sunday’.
Students checked in at OUWB for the first time. They collected laptops, tablets and locker assignments, filled out the necessary paperwork, participated in a student organization fair and even enjoyed an ice cream. Students also had the chance to explore the campus.
Students like Felicia Fong generally expressed themselves excited and nervous.
“I’ve been working towards this for ten years,” she said. “I’m very excited to meet everyone and start learning.”
“When I looked at schools, I looked up to schools that were service oriented and this was one of them,” said Jashan Khaira. “All the free clinics they have and then volunteering is a lot of medical students…so that matched my goals.”
Doria Morante did her bachelor’s degree at the OU.
“I know the campus and everything well,” she said. “So OUWB was my first choice, and I’m happy to be here now.”
Hoon Oh said he is “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 a dean, where I come from, more specifically from where you sit in your chair, to how I became the dean,” Mezwa said.
“And for some of you, you could be on the same journey. Part of my message to you today is that you have absolutely no idea where this career will take you,” he added.
Students were generally impressed.
“I think I made the right choice. He seems like a very good dean,” Erika Curka said. “He is very handsome, very social, very friendly.”
“He seems a lot more humorous than I thought he would be. I thought he would be super serious, but his introduction and conversation were great,” Forrest Bohler said.
After Mezwa, the Student Affairs department of the OUWB was central
Jennifer Root, Ed.D., Assistant Dean of Student Affairs & Career Development, and Vassel led the session and introduced the entire team to the students.
They introduced their mission and guiding principles they follow to give the students the best chance of success.
“Our focus is really on your improvement. We want to make sure that each and every one of you has a successful time here during your four years,” Root said. “We see you as our junior colleagues in training and we want to support that professional side of the next step in your career.”
Monday afternoon was dominated by the OUWB White Coats Ceremony in 2022. (More about the ceremony can be read here.)
On Tuesday, the students spent most of the day discussing diversity, equity and inclusion. (Read more about the day here.)
Wednesday and Thursday were generally devoted to students meeting the faculty and learning about the curriculum of the OUWB, including courses such as Anatomical Foundations of Clinical Practice (AFCP), Medical Humanities, and Clinical Bioethics (MHCB), promotion and maintenance of health (PMH).
The students also learned more about OUWB programs such as PRISM and Embark.
New for 2022 was a session led by Senior Medical School Counselor Root and LaTina Jackson, who 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 enabled students to develop an individualized schedule and receive real-time feedback from OUWB academic support staff, as well as determine which learning resources are best suited to each of their needs.
“I’m grateful we took the time this year to put some focus on implementation, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the information from this new session helps our students transition into their courses even more smoothly next week Brown said.
By the end of the week, the students said they were looking forward to their OUWB experience even more.
“Everyone here is so nice and welcoming,” Nathan Huang said. “I appreciate how nice the professors are… and I like that we have access to so many resources to succeed.”
“I can already feel the sense of community among the med students and we’ve only known each other for a few days,” says Brody Dams.
“Orientation was very informative,” said Wesam Almasri. “I got a good idea of what to expect if I continue at OUWB.”
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