‘A duty to be back’

Michael Bonnette, M.D., charter class member, serves on OUWB’s Dean’s Advisory Board

An image of OUWB alum Dr. Michael Bonnette

Michael Bonnette, M.D., graduated from OUWB in 2015. Now in private practice, Bonnette also serves on the Dean's Advisory Board at OUWB. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

Oakland University, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, OUWB, Michael Bonnette

icon of a calendarSept. 30, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

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Michael Bonnette, M.D., first heard in the mid-2000s that Oakland University had plans for a medical school, and it piqued an interest that would chart the course of his life.

First, the interest ultimately led him to attend Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and graduate as part of the charter class (2015).

Currently based in southeast Michigan, he serves in private practice. Bonnette also is now part of the inaugural Dean’s Advisory Board.

Established in late 2020, the OUWB Dean’s Advisory Board consists of 13 members who have expertise in leadership and a commitment to assisting the school in matters of strategic importance, including community outreach, partnership, and resource development.

“I knew I wanted to get back involved with OUWB because I felt like it was such a good experience,” he says. “I felt like the Dean’s Advisory Board was a great way to do just that.”

Board members primarily serve as advocates and advisors in support of the school’s students, faculty, staff, and administration, and work in a collaborative fashion with school leadership.

Currently, Bonnette is the only OUWB graduate on the board.

“The intent of the Dean’s Advisory Board is to support and further the OUWB community by collectively drawing on the unique expertise and talent offered by each individual member,” says Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB. “As an OUWB alum and practicing physician in our community, Dr. Bonnette brings invaluable insight to the table.”

‘A great education’

Bonnette grew up in Royal Oak and earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University.

OUWB welcomed its first class in 2011, and that coincided perfectly with Bonnette’s desires to go to medical school and stay close to home.

“It was a pretty easy decision for me to apply to OUWB,” he says.

In addition to being close to home, Bonnette says he was drawn to the school because of its size.

“I felt like I received a great education and it set me up pretty well for residency,” says Bonnette.

During the 2015-19 period, Bonnette was a resident physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He was academic chief resident in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation during 2018-19.

For 2019-20, Bonnette held a fellowship at Michigan Medicine in pain management. He then joined Michigan Sports and Spine Center, which has several locations in southeast Michigan.

Having returned to metro Detroit, Bonnette said he jumped at the opportunity to join the first OUWB Dean’s Advisory Board.

“I grew up in (southeast Michigan) so this is home for me…my dad was a police officer and my mom was a teacher so I’ve been ingrained in the metro Detroit community for a long time,” he says.

“I feel like I have a duty to be back involved with the school that helped put me in position to succeed.”

Michael Bonnette MD 2

‘More accessible to people from all different backgrounds’

Since serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board, Bonnette says he has been able to bring his experience as a former medical student to the table.  

“I know what goes into being a medical student, going through the process of attending medical school, coming out of it, finding a job, and getting involved in the community,” he said.

Bonnette says he relishes the role of being an advocate for medical students who are focused on their studies and don’t have time to delve into the intricacies and behind-the-scenes activities that affect them at OUWB.

“I can help identify what is most beneficial to students from their point-of-view…and I take that role very seriously,” he says.

In the last seven months, Bonnette says meetings have “been going really well.” Roles among the board members have been defined and specific projects have been identified for them to work on.

Bonnette says much of the work has been centered on alumni relations, including getting more alumni involved in mentorship roles, as well as scholarships and philanthropy, and specific events yet to be announced. Generally, he says, Mezwa brings different topics to the group and a “free-flowing” discussion ensues.

“Based on the backgrounds of the different board members, each person is able to give different insights into those various topics and ideas,” says Bonnette.

Bonnette says the discussions are productive due in large part to the amount of enthusiasm all of the members have about being involved in pushing OUWB forward.

“There’s a lot of excitement…everyone wants to help out, have input, and be involved,” he says. “I think that’s because everyone has a great respect for the school, Dean Mezwa, and everyone else involved here.”

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