OU Med School and UD Mercy Dental School to Collaborate on Health-care Communication Course


Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) in Rochester Hills and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry in Detroit Thursday announced they plan to launch an interprofessional course focused on collaboration between health-care professionals for the benefit of their patients.

The program will begin in March 2019, when second-year students from both schools will learn communication skills and patient encounters at OUWB’s Clinical Skills Center at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, in Sterling Heights. The students will interact with trained standardized patients.

“This academic initiative provides us the opportunity to engage OUWB’s values of partnership, collaboration, and teamwork across organizational boundaries. It takes all of us working in teams to obtain excellent outcomes for patients,” says Robert Folberg, Stephan Sharf founding dean of OUWB and chief academic officer of William Beaumont Hospital.

Session topics will vary and include difficult communication such as delivering bad news, pain management communication, and intimate partner violence. Students will learn to describe the types of possible responses from patients and families and apply knowledge of their professional role and those of other team members to appropriately assess and address the needs of the patient.

They also will learn to communication effectively and respectfully with the patient and other members of the health-care team. Faculty from both schools will facilitate the interactions.

“An awareness will occur where medical students will begin to understand how oral health can impact the overall health of a patient. Likewise, dental students will look at gum disease and know that a patient may have diabetes,” says Melanie Mayberry, a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. “This awareness will lead them to ask a physician colleague about diabetes treatment.”

OUWB and Detroit Mercy may build on the course for students who are in their third and fourth years of medical school.