Academic Distinction Programs

Academic Distinctions have been developed at WMed to give students the opportunity to pursue and be recognized for areas of interest and scholarship. Each Academic Distinction includes about 30 – 40 hours of curriculum which could include electives, parallel co–curricular work, and scholarship in the form of publication or project. This could be research for publication, curricular development project, quality improvement project, or a project in conjunction with an international trip. Academic Distinctions can be pursued at any stage in the curriculum provided the student maintains good academic standing.

Global and Public Health

Public health is defined as “the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts of society” (Acheson, 1988; WHO). As a multidisciplinary field, public health may be understood to incorporate numerous disciplines, including but not limited to global health. Global health similarly places priority on improving health and achieving health equity for people across the world with an emphasis on population-based prevention while also embracing individual curative and rehabilitative clinical care (Koplan, 2009). This Academic Distinction provides additional training longitudinally with the goal of adopting such tenants into practice, to provide equitable and thoughtful care to individuals, communities, and populations with an understanding that public health is fundamental to medicine and to combating morbidity and mortality from altering perspectives.

Well-Being in Medicine

This program focuses on knowledge and skill development in four content areas:

  • Professional and Personal Well-Being Strategies
  • Mind-Body Medicine
  • Well-Being Promotion in Patient Care/Well-Being Advocacy in the Medical System
  • The Arts, Humanities, & Spirituality in Medicine

Interprofessional Focus in Community Health

Designed to enhance clinical practice readiness skills to work in rural and underserved urban settings, this two-year program implements interdisciplinary curricula using clinical settings, didactic interprofessional learning modules, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation, and current and emerging health issues. This programs is a mix of online training and community-based learning in rural and underserved communities throughout Southwest Michigan interfacing with other health professionals including Dentists, Public Health professionals, Social Workers, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, and Physician Assistants with the goal of obtaining skills and practices in the field provides an interprofessional lens for community health to increase knowledge, develop expertise, clarify values, and contribute to communities in need.

Advocacy and Leadership in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

Patient safety and quality improvement are two areas within the construct of Health System Science which provide significant opportunity for personal development across the medical school’s competency domains. They are also areas in which skills, advocacy, and leadership are highly needed across the continuum of care. This academic distinction seeks to identify students with a particular passion for patient safety and quality improvement and foster their personal development and skills in promotion of future advocates and leaders.