UPDATE ON OUWB MEDICAL STUDENT
Among our initiatives as a Community Partner with The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, your MPN supported the efforts of one of their medical students with her Capstone research project on the effects of polio on aging polio survivors. MPN assisted in the mailing of a significant number of anonymous surveys to addresses in our database of Michigan resident polio survivors. The response from our membership was astounding! Very close to one-half of the delivered surveys were completed and returned on a timely basis! We take great pride in the interest of our members in helping us to increase awareness of polio and post-polio among the medical community. The completed surveys are being analyzed and implemented in this research project. While research is a time-consuming process, we plan to share the results when available.
When questioned about post-polio difficulties and experiences, one very common complaint from polio survivors concerns their doctors or medical service providers having no knowledge of polio or post-polio issues. With this primarily in mind, the Michigan Polio Network focused its attention on this problem to see what we might do to affect a change.
Three people representing the Michigan Polio Network (MPN) and the general interest of polio survivors, met with officials from the newly instituted Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) early in 2015. They were polio survivors Tim Brown, Bonnie Levitan and Mike Davis. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibility of introducing the issue of polio to medical students, and to raise the student’s awareness of both Post-Polio Syndrome and concerns of polio survivors. The OUWB is striving to bring a unique teaching experience to their medical students, which includes such things as kindness, awareness and the human experience, rather than just viewing the patient as a bundle of facts! They have introduced innovative teaching techniques aimed at achieving their unique goal, and they were more than receptive to working with polio survivors in the future and appeared very excited to be able to add the issues surrounding polio to their program.
As a result of this initial meeting between MPN and OUWB, one of the OUWB medical students officially chose to conduct a research study utilizing mailed surveys on the long term effects of polio on the aging polio population. The study is that student’s graduate four year Capstone Project. MPN is currently involved in assisting the student with reaching polio survivors. The results of this project, after analyzing and tabulating the results will be shared with all present and future OUWB medical students and possibly published.
During the summer of 2015 MPN was officially recognized and honored as a Community Partner in the COMPASS program at OUWB. Through the process of community engagement, COMPASS enters into partnerships in service with established organizations. These collaborative relationships enable faculty and staff to engage with the community and assist students in meeting learning objectives and simultaneously meeting the identified needs of vulnerable populations. MPN has been identified as both a Partner in Education and also a Scholarly Activity Partner with OUWB.
The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) conducts a regularly scheduled series of programs for their medical students called Lunch n’ Learn. These events are educational seminars held during a two hour break at which lunch is provided to the students who choose to attend while they listen to a speaker or speakers discussing medical topics. The November 2015 Lunch n’ Learn seminar was entitled “Caring For Unique Populations: The Case of Polio.”
Representing both the MPN, an OUWB Community Partner, and the S.E. Michigan Post-Polio Support Group, Tim Brown and Bonnie Levitan, both polio survivors, were invited by OUWB to participate in this three part presentation. First, Daniel L. Menkes, M.D. introduced the students to Post-Polio Syndrome by showing slides and narrating a detailed description of Post-Polio Syndrome and related topics such as appropriate exercise, motor neuron damage and resulting symptoms, rehabilitation, medications diagnosis and treatment etc.
Doctor Menkes is the Chair of Neurology at The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and he is the Chief of Neurology at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Additionally, Dr. Menkes is board certified in neurology and he treats only nerve and muscle diseases. He was extremely well informed about polio and his presentation was clear, concise and could be understood by both laymen and medical personnel. He adeptly used some humor while educating the students and his style of presentation was very compelling and informative. Additionally, he had a personal vested interest in the issue of polio, as his uncle currently suffers from Post-Polio Syndrome.
The second part of the presentation was a video recording of a previously televised program in which Tim and Bonnie had been interviewed about polio and post-polio issues. The program was entitled "Aging Well in America." Upon completion of the video, the seminar transitioned into the third part which was a question and answer period. The students were encouraged to ask Tim and Bonnie questions relating to either their personal history with polio or their experiences with health care professionals and related care. It was obvious that the students were very interested and were surprised to learn what care was like back in the 1950's. For example, they were in awe to learn that parents were only allowed to visit their hospitalized polio-stricken children on a very limited basis. As it neared the end of the allotted time for the presentation, it appeared the students were still anxious to hear more as they continued to be very attentive.
When the class was dismissed, quite a few students came down to talk with both Tim and Bonnie. They seemed very genuine when they all expressed their thanks and stated they found it extremely interesting and further most of them said it really opened their eyes to the issue of polio. Interestingly, several of them had family members who had had polio and they were especially grateful for the presentation and learning experience. One student, in particular, expressed an interest in pursuing a study aimed at anesthesiologists to determine how much knowledge they had regarding polio issues. As representatives of MPN and polio survivors in general, Tim and Bonnie found the event to be a most rewarding experience, and it appeared that it had been very well received by all of the students in attendance. They agreed that it had been exciting for them to see so many young future physicians showing a genuine interest in polio issues, and it was gratifying to have a major hospital system assign such importance to the topic.