Photo courtesy of Dr. Pierre Morris
Now that new associate dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education Pierre Morris, M.D., has passed the acquisition of knowledge phase, he is ready to bring change to Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB).
He joined OUWB on Oct. 18, 2021, after being at Wayne State University (WSU) for 20 years total — 17 as faculty and three as a resident.
“My first couple of weeks, it’s like drinking from a firehose. There was just so much information coming to me,” Dr. Morris said.
When looking at the immediate need and what he can do to best help students right now, Dr. Morris said the biggest challenge is dealing with COVID-19. He said the entirety of OUWB has to look at the barriers the pandemic has created and learn how to navigate around them.
“A lot of the challenges are with students transitioning from preclinical to clinical — that’s the short-term goal,” Dr. Morris said. “It’s all the things that are out there, just the basic COVID challenges and compounding them with personal challenges that COVID has created.”
As for long term goals, he wants to continue producing high quality residency candidates and building on what the school already has. OUWB can do so by building a good curriculum, but it’s also important to note what makes a good resident.
“A good student becomes a good resident, and a good student is someone that has a strong knowledge base, can display empathy and compassion and has a proven interest in helping the community,” Dr. Morris said. “An accurate description of the personality traits that I’m looking for in residents — would I want them to be my doctor or my family’s doctor.”
He is also extremely proud of the residency programs he ran at WSU, specifically how he was able to attract good students. For about 10 or 11 years in a row, not a single resident of his failed the board exam.
Dr. Morris felt he would retire at WSU, but at the end of the day he thought he could best fill his passion of working with the students at OUWB. Now working directly with third and fourth year medical students, Dr. Morris truly feels he can make a difference.
“I will say absolutely, unequivocally, it’s the biggest honor of my career to be selected for this role, and because of two things: it’s fulfilling a long term goal that I’ve had — working with students closer — and now that it’s taking on a position that I truly think I could have a positive impact,” Dr. Morris said.
Dr. Morris praises the help he has received from Lynda Misra, D.O. — the founding associate dean of the medical school. He plans to use the assistance from Dr. Misra and his past in education to propel OUWB — Dr. Morris was a high school teacher for 12 years and also taught classes at WSU.
“You have to make things interesting, so I always tried as a high school teacher to make things as interesting as possible, and yet still get the point across,” said Dr. Morris. “Bland information is going to remain just that.”
Dr. Morris learned students have different learning styles so teachers must remain flexible in order to accommodate these styles. Above all else, he wants students to succeed in the future.
While he may not have expected to end up here, Dr. Morris is enjoying his job and is excited for the future.
“Stay tuned, the best is yet to come,” he said.