As 2020 draws to a close, many are looking ahead to the promise of 2021 while reflecting on the past 11.5 months. Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine could be counted in that group.

Year-in-review: OUWB reaccreditation, COVID-19 among top stories for 2020
An image of various photos from OUWB's 2020 year-in-review

As 2020 draws to a close, many are looking ahead to the promise of 2021 while reflecting on the past 11.5 months.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine could be counted in that group.

Based on various factors, including significance, as well as levels of engagement via the OUWB website and social channels, the articles below are among the school’s top stories for 2020.

Of course, a 2020 year-in-review would not be complete without a section dedicated specifically to COVID-19 (see bottom of list).

To start, however, here are the top non-COVID-19 stories (Click on the links in the headlines to read the full story.)


Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine reaccredited for 8 years

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine announced on Feb. 27 that it has been reaccredited by the Liaison Committee on Medicine Education for eight years, the maximum time possible.

Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, shared the news with the OUWB community via email.

“It is with extreme pride that I share with you that OUWB has been granted eight years of accreditation, the maximum amount of time that can be awarded, from the LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education),” Mezwa said.

“Deservedly, much praise goes to the more than 100 individuals who did some very heavy lifting to prepare our school for such a positive LCME review,” he continued. “I am extremely proud of the entire team.”

(Read full story.)


Oakland University announces Duane Mezwa, M.D., as second dean of OUWB

An image of Dean Mezwa at Meadow BrookOUWB announced on Nov. 4 that Mezwa was named the Stephan Sharf Dean of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, where he had served as interim dean since February 2019. He became the second permanent dean of OUWB, following the school’s founding dean, Robert Folberg, M.D.

“Dr. Mezwa’s unwavering commitment to the success of OUWB and his proven leadership as interim dean, have prepared him for the role of dean,” said OU Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Michelle Piskulich, Ph.D. “We look forward to continuing our collaborative and beneficial work with Dr. Mezwa in his elevated role as he and the OUWB team prepare students to be compassionate future physicians.”

(Read full story.)


Match Day 2020: Fourth year medical students at OUWB hit educational milestone

Match Day 2020 - Main Image 2Fourth-year medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine received one of the most anticipated emails of their lives on March 20 – a message containing details of where they would spend the next three to seven years.

The M4s joined roughly 40,000 of their peers nationwide in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the annual event that reveals where graduating medical students have been accepted for residency training.

M4s typically are physically handed envelopes to tear open with their colleagues, friends, and families, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced schools like OUWB to cancel in-person celebrations for 2020. Instead, students received emails with the much-anticipated details.

A total of 110 M4s matched into residency programs. Among the notable programs where OUWB medical students placed were Johns Hopkins Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, University of Michigan Hospital, and University of California, San Francisco.

(Read full story.)


‘Nothing short of amazing:’ OUWB medical student jumps into action, saves man’s life

When OUWB medical student Meghan Brown made a grocery store run on April 25, she didn’t expect it would be a life-changing — and life-saving — experience.

That’s exactly what happened, however, when the fourth-year medical student helped save the life of a man she saw collapse in the parking lot.

Not only did she push aside any fears of COVID-19, but she took command of the situation by calling 911 and putting to work the CPR skills that she learned as part of her education at OUWB.

The chance encounter had a big impact on all involved.

“Being able to provide these life-saving measures without having a team behind me, instructing me what to do, was a moment of clarity,” she said. “It was ‘Wow, OK, this training has paid off.’”

(Meghan’s heroics also made headlines in her home town newspaper, the Traverse City Record Eagle.)

(Read full story.)


More than $2 million in medical supplies headed to Lebanon through OUWB student led-campaign

An image of OUWB student Majd Faraj and World Medical Relief CEO George SamsonA campaign led by a second-year medical student raised enough money to send about $2 million worth of much-needed medical supplies to Lebanon.

Through the “Medical Relief to Lebanon” GoFundMe page set up by Majd Faraj, more than $63,000 was contributed by more than 2,300 donors.

Most of the donations followed the enormous explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4 that left at least 137 dead and more than 4,000 injured.

The $63,000 raised was enough to cover the cost of four large shipping containers, each packed with up to $500,000 worth of medical supplies from Southfield-based World Medical Relief (a nonprofit and OUWB community partner).  Faraj said it’s important to note the campaign continues and more donations are needed.

(Read full story.)


Celebration video wraps orientation week for OUWB’s 10th class

A video celebrating OUWB’s Class of 2024 was released Aug. 7 — the culmination of a busy orientation week for the school’s 10th class of medical students.

The 40-minute video featured Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., Mezwa, and numerous other OUWB students, faculty, and staff.

The video was produced in lieu of the traditional White Coat Ceremony held the last day of orientation week. The event was postponed until next August as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Read full story.)


Humanism in patient care celebrated at Oakland University

OUWB Faircloth 2020Commending students and residents who excel at delivering humanism in patient care was the focus of an event held March 2 at Oakland University.

The Faircloth Evening of Medical Humanism was co-sponsored by OUWB and Oakland University School of Education and Human Services.

The evening is dedicated to Patrick Faircloth, Ph.D., an Oakland University alumnus, who created an endowment for OUWB and SEHS to ensure that medical students study communications and interpersonal skills as part of their training to be compassionate physicians.

During the event, medical students and residents were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and the SEHS Department of Counseling presented its student awards.

The more than 100 who attended — including several school deans and Pescovitz — also heard a powerful keynote presentation from Hedy Wald, Ph.D. Wald is a clinical professor of Family Medicine at Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and faculty member at Harvard Medical School Global Pediatrics Leadership Program.

(Read the full story.)


OUWB’s six 'outstanding students' named for 2019-2020 school year

An image of the six students named outstanding for 2019-20 at OUWBSix medical students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine were named “outstanding” for their work during the 2019-20 school year — including one repeat winner.

The annual awards are given to three rising M2 and three rising M3 students.

The now M2 students named Outstanding Students for 2019-20 were Margaret Bohr, Sienna Ringgenberg, and Elizabeth Seeley.

M3s who received awards were Aimee Hite, Zachary Rollins, and Grace Peterson.

(Read full story.)


OUWB professor takes on medical trainee unprofessionalism in The New England Journal of Medicine

An OUWB professor was first author on an article in The New England Journal of Medicine that suggested revamping the way organizations handle medical trainee unprofessionalism.

“Responding to Unprofessional Behavior by Trainees — A ‘Just Culture’ Framework,” was written by Jason Wasserman, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies, along with Michael Redinger, M.D., and Tyler Gibb, J.D., Ph.D., both of Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

The paper suggests organizations repurpose the concept of a “just culture” to establish a better way of handling medical trainee unprofessionalism, and to “promote fairness in the evaluations process and consistency in the response.”

(Read full story.)


OUWB professor, researcher awarded $1.6 million grant to study deadly brain tumors

An OUWB professor and Beaumont Health radiation oncologist were awarded a $1.6 million grant to study an aggressive brain cancer.

Prakash Chinnaiyan, M.D., an expert in the treatment of brain and spine cancer, was awarded the five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Chinnaiyan, who is a professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, will study metabolic reprogramming in glioblastoma.

(Read full story.)



OUWB on the frontline: Medical school students, alumni, faculty battle COVID-19

OUWB on the frontlineThird-year OUWB medical student Niki Khajeh recalled exactly when she knew that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 would be devastating.

It was in one of the break rooms at Beaumont Hospital — where Khajeh was on an OB-GYN rotation — when she witnessed “a physician on the verge of tears,” and the doctor’s face lined with marks from wearing a mask for so long.

That was early March.

“It just kind of made me realize that ‘Oh, this isn’t even the worst of’s going to get worse than this and it was kind of frightening to watch,’” Khajeh said.

(Read full story.)


OUWB medical students to help with nation’s largest COVID-19 antibody study

OUWB students took part in what was identified as the nation's largest serological testing study for COVID-19 antibodies.

The COVID-19 Serology Research Project took place at Beaumont Health.

All of Beaumont’s 38,000 employees and providers were asked to participate in a study examining antibodies to the COVID-19 virus, said Richard Kennedy, Ph.D., vice president for Research and director of the Beaumont Research Institute.

(Read full story.)


Medical students from OUWB volunteer to help community during COVID-19 crisis

OUWB students volunteer during coronavirus outbreakMedical students from OUWB stepped up to serve the community as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation — and hit southeast Michigan particularly hard.

They volunteered on their own time to babysit for Beaumont docs with children, help collect and distribute food for those in need, work with other schools in efforts to secure personal protection equipment (PPE) donations, help create and distribute important information about COVID-19 for the community — even write thank you notes to Beaumont doctors and staff.

(Read full story.)


OUWB develops COVID-19 course for graduating medical students

Three OUWB professors spent about one week developing a two-week course aimed at preparing medical students to treat patients with COVID-19.

Designed as a graduate seminar course, “M4 Elective COVID 19/Pandemic” was co-created by Dwayne Baxa, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology, Claudio Cortes, Ph.D., assistant professor of immunology, and Kyeorda Kemp, Ph.D., assistant professor of immunology — all from OUWB’s Department of Foundational Medical Studies.

(Read full story.)


OUWB professor defends life-and-death decisions related to COVID-19 in Wall Street Journal

An OUWB professor took to the Wall Street Journal in defense of medical professionals making difficult life-and-death decisions in the time of COVID-19.

Jason Wasserman, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in the April 1 issue of the paper.

His letter, “Triage Is the Moral Choice in an Emergency,” was in response to an op-ed published March 26 called “Rationing Care Is a Surrender to Death.”

(Read full story.)


Nearly 40 COVID-19 published works authored with OUWB connections — so far

OUWB faculty, students, and staff have authored nearly 40 published works connected to the COVID-19 pandemic — with no signs of slowing down.

Papers have appeared in publications such as Internal and Emergency Medicine, American Journal of Gastroenterology, Front Public Health, Annals of Medicine, Medical Science Educator, and more.

(Read full story here.)

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at

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

NOTICE: Except where otherwise noted, all articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. You are free to copy, distribute, adapt, transmit, or make commercial use of this work as long as you attribute Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine as the original creator and include a link to this article.

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