It’s A Fact: Teaching Happens Here


Plastic surgeon Steven Thomas, MD, right, shows Michigan State University College of Human
Medicine students how to suture using pigs' feet in 2010. (Munson Healthcare File Photo)

(This is the first blog in a series on educational opportunities at Munson Healthcare)

The corridors of Munson Medical Center and other Munson Healthcare hospitals and clinics are halls of caring – and halls of learning.

Munson Medical Center is classified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a teaching hospital. Daniel Webster, M.D., who co-founded the health system’s Family Practice Residency Program in 1993 and was instrumental in bringing Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s campus to Munson Medical Center in 2009, sees that as a good thing.

“That’s a technical term to our credit. However, we are teaching in all of our entities including other Munson Healthcare hospitals and clinics,” he said. “We are teaching family practice residents, medical students, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, nursing assistants, pharmacists and others. Our patients benefit because the preceptors and students are focusing on the right solutions, processes, and highest quality of care.”


More Than 160 Educational Agreements

Munson Healthcare’s Legal Department lists more than 160 educational agreements with colleges and universities around the state and nation to provide medical students clerkship opportunities, and clinical training for students in nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and other disciplines.

As the Traverse City Campus’ MSU-CHM Assistant Dean, Dr. Webster and a team of four support staff oversee 12 third-year medical students, and 12 fourth-year medical students each year.

Munson Healthcare cardiologist Anna Stone was one of the members of MSU-CHM’s first class at the Traverse City campus and among physicians who have received education at Munson Healthcare and then chose to come back and practice in northern Michigan.

“As a Traverse City native, being able to complete a portion of my medical school at the CHM Traverse City Campus at Munson Medical Center provided me not only the clinical training experience but more so, the knowledge that if I returned home to practice, I would be at a hospital that is topline,” she said.

“Throughout my medical training, I got to compare my experience at hospitals to that at Munson Medical Center, so when I was given the opportunity to come home and join Traverse Heart and Vascular, I did so knowing that I was joining an outstanding cardiology practice and an outstanding hospital system.”

MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine also sends five third-year students and five fourth-year students for training in the health system and has been since the 1990s. More than 20 of those former students have returned to practice in northern Michigan after their residencies.

Residents Visit from Across State

Relationships with other medical residency programs also mean future surgeons, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, and other specialties are made aware of the region and high-quality care that can be found in the health system.

Surgeons at Munson Medical Center host general surgery residents from Ascension Health in Detroit for a month of general surgery and trauma learning in a more rural environment. Neurosurgeon residents from the University of Michigan also are regularly on campus to do a four-week rotation with neurosurgeon Thomas Schermerhorn, MD, who teaches at U of M.

Spectrum Health sends its internal medicine/pediatric residents to Munson Medical Center for a four-week rotation as well.

In the Family Practice Residency, Program Director J. William Rawlin, DO, and six physician faculty help guide and instruct 18 total residents advancing through the program toward their own medical practice upon graduation. They also annually host fourth-year medical school students from around the nation who are interested in the residency for a four-week rotation between August and January.

Nursing Program Relationships

The Nursing Department at Munson Medical Center also works with nursing programs at Northwestern Michigan College, Baker College, and several other colleges and universities in the state to provide clinical instruction for RN, BSN, and MSN nursing students.

Munson Healthcare’s Pharmacy Department boasts a robust education program that annually hosts five pharmacy students in their last year of school at Ferris State University as well as six post-graduate year-one pharmacist residents from all over the county. The program also hosts one post-graduate year two pharmacy resident in oncology.

And several Munson Healthcare hospitals have a long history of providing health education to students from intermediate school districts and high schools in the region to give them insight and experience into health professions.

“Our education is happening in several different disciplines and at many different levels,” Dr. Webster said. “It is all a positive reflection on the many physicians, nurses, and other professionals who are preceptors in their areas, and it means we are doing our part to encourage and prepare the next generation of health care professionals who we hope will choose northern Michigan for their careers.”