August 17, 2015

Katie: Shaping the field of medicine

Medical student Leadership Day at Cornman Farms

As an undergrad, M2 Katie competed on the U-M gymnastics team where she led as captain for her last two years and participated in the Michigan Leadership Academy. Before she even started med school last August, she knew she wanted to combine her passion for medicine with her interest in leadership.

Her M1 class trip to Cornman Farms during orientation inspired her reach out to the faculty director of the Leadership Initiative to see how she could get involved. Katie coordinated this year’s Leadership Day at Cornman Farms. Here she reflects on that day, and shares her thoughts on why medicine needs trained leaders and why pursuing your passions is totally possible at Michigan.

"In designing this year’s Leadership Day, we took a close look at student feedback from last year. We incorporated the Competing Values Framework into the event in addition to more focused team building activities, debrief time, and personal visioning opportunities. We focused on the idea of transformational leadership in the medical context: setting a vision and empowering a team to create meaningful positive change in any environment, regardless of position or rank. We also wanted to students to gain insight into their leadership styles and their role within their M-Home.

I found the balance of medical school coursework and leadership planning very rewarding. The first year of med school is a very time-intensive, content-dense year. Working on the leadership curriculum gave me a refreshing dose of perspective: one that has helped me see the importance of not only acquiring medical knowledge but of learning the interpersonal skills to best apply that knowledge as a physician.

I was also exposed to new leadership frameworks, styles and tools. I remember coming into medical school wondering how I could be a leader as a student, and this summer has taught me that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula. I’ve found that being a leader does not necessarily mean being an elected or appointed captain of a team or a chair of a department; rather, a true leader possesses qualities that promote positive change and inspire others.

Michigan is very unique in that the faculty highly value student input and are eager to receive feedback to improve the learning experience and the community overall. All of the faculty I have worked with have warmly welcomed me and have genuinely made me feel a part of their team. This is the value of an UMMS education: we benefit from the traditions of excellence yet also have opportunities to help shape our field at a truly pivotal time.

Katie, U-M medical student

Any year in medical school at Michigan will have far too many interesting and excellent opportunities to take advantage of, so pursue those you are passionate about. Proactively seek out faculty who inspire and motivate you, and be open to new opportunities and challenges. We have four years to be a part of the Leaders and Best—take full advantage!”