March 09, 2018

Kevin Gregg, MD: Unlocking potential

Exposure to all influences of patient care helps med students see the bigger picture

Dr. Gregg (right) takes a moment between meetings and clinic at University Hospital to consult with M4 Daniel Mercante 

As a result of our curriculum transformation, the last two years of our M.D. program are known as the Branches: a dedicated time for med students to refine their clinical skills and really hone in on specific career interests and goals while making an impact in real time. Upon entry, students choose one of four Branch options.

Kevin Gregg, M.D., directs the Systems-Based Hospital-Based (SBHB) Branch, which immerses students in advanced training of navigating patient care systems and their management. Here, Dr. Gregg answers seven questions about his Branch and what he hopes med students will take away from it.

What do you see is your overall purpose/mission when it comes to your role in the Branches?

As the director of the Systems-Based Hospital-Based (SBHB) Branch, the goals are to enrich students’ clinical and non-clinical experiences inside and outside the walls of the medical center and to assist students in finding the career path that best fits their strengths and aspirations. I work with a great Branch co-director, Dr. Brittany Allen, and an awesome group of faculty advisors that the students work with throughout their time in the Branch.

What appealed to you in taking on this position?

Teaching has been a significant component of my career since I was a chief resident, which is longer ago than I’d like to admit. Working with medical students is a really rewarding experience. Their enthusiasm and energy make my work days more interesting and fun, and as they are new to the practice of medicine, they often bring novel and interesting thoughts to the table whether on the wards or in the classroom. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work more closely with the medical students and to help to develop the Branches.

What do you think would appeal to a med student who is considering your Branch?

The SBHB Branch will appeal to students who want to gain expertise in the delivery of high quality, high value care to complex patients in a hospital setting. There are many important aspects to patient care, and having an understanding of the different components of care delivery is important for medical students to achieve their full potential.

Direct patient care from physicians, nurses and other providers and staff in the hospital is highly visible to the students during their clerkships and electives. But other important influences on patient care, from in-hospital programs such as Infection Control to hospital administration initiatives and extending to regional and national health policy, may not be easy to appreciate during medical school. We hope to provide some valuable exposure to these aspects of care during the SBHB experience.

What has been your favorite part about piloting your Branch so far?

This is my first year working in the Branches. Seeing the development of the first cohort of students as they’ve navigated their way through the year and how they’ve excelled and grown professionally has been really exciting.

What are you looking forward to next with your Branch’s development?

There are some really great Branch initiatives, such as Impact and the longitudinal apprenticeship, that really push students to try new things and realize their full potential. The residency prep courses are a really exciting development – I wish we had something similar when I was in medical school! I expect new and exciting opportunities to continually emerge in all of the Branches.

What do you like about working with med students?

Working with medical students helps me become a better physician and teacher. They ask great questions and have great insight, and since they have different experiences than I do they often view the same problem from a different vantage point. This is invaluable as a teacher, as it really pushes you to challenge your own thoughts and practices. Also, seeing a student master a subject or a skill is really rewarding.

How would you describe the benefits of the Branches to someone who is considering the University of Michigan Medical School for their medical education?

The students in the Medical School are amazing and have almost limitless potential. The Branches will help these students find opportunities inside and outside of the school to enrich their time here, help shape their professional identities and support them so that they can have the greatest impact on society in their future career as is possible.