Leaders in Medical Education

Dr. Maya Hammoud, Lead Editor of uWISE

Thasin Jaigirdar
Published on Jun 29, 2015. Updated on Invalid date.

Dr. Maya Hammoud is a professor of OB/GYN at University of Michigan’s Medical School. She is a fellow of the American Colleges of OB/GYN and serves as on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professors of OBGYN. She received her Medical Degree from University of Michigan Medical School and completed her residency at University of Michigan Hospital. She has previously spent time in Qatar promoting women’s health and wellness programs at the hospital and the community before joining the faculty at University of Michigan. She is currently working on a project with people in Qatar on developing culturally appropriate instruments for patients’ assessment of the quality of health care in the Middle East. She also serves as Lead Editor of UWise, a web-based interaction self-exam to help medical students better understand OB/GYN.

How did you decide on a career in medicine?
I knew I wanted to pursue on a career in medicine since I was very young. Growing up in war-torn Lebanon and being exposed to the suffering of injured children and adults without much help influenced me significantly.  My desire to become a doctor began at that time and got reinforced at every step throughout my life.  I found that I really liked and excelled at the sciences especially as it applied to the human being. I really enjoyed my volunteering experiences at the hospitals and connected well with patients.  At this point, I cannot imagine doing anything else in my life.  I love being a doctor and would choose it all over again!

What made you pick OB/GYN as your specialty?
I decided to go into OBGYN after I did a 6-month longitudinal care experience in OBGYN during my third year of my medical school.  I would spend every Wednesday afternoon working one on one with one of our OBGYN faculty in his private clinic.  Working with Gynecology patients over that time and seeing the same Obstetrics patients on a regular basis made me realize how much I love working with women.  I find it very satisfying to get to know my patients very well and being able to deliver them or take them myself to surgery if they need it.  Ironically, my first two years of medical school, I thought for sure I would never choose OBGYN and now I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

What was your biggest challenge in working with women's health in Qatar?
I very much enjoyed my experience in Qatar.  It was a great time to be part of building the future.  The biggest challenge at the time was the infrastructure which was not very patient friendly.  For example, patients could not just call on the phone for an appointment; they had to come to the clinic to be given a time in which they will be seen in the future. In addition, the patients were all given the same time in the morning so they all showed up at the same time and had to wait long hours to be seen.  I hear this has changed significantly since then and their new state of the art women’s hospital is about to be completed and opened.  It is nice to know that women will be getting better care.

Going forward, how do you feel about the future of online education with regard to uWise and its potential on changing worldwide women's health?
The delivery of education keeps changing with all the technological advancements.  It is nice to be able to provide learning materials in different formats to students as each student has his or her own learning style.  uWISE has been quite a successful online product because it provides quality learning material in short quizzes to students with feedback and explanations. The Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) is very proud of this great product and hopes to make many of their educational products available online to everyone internationally in order to promote excellence in women’s health care.

What changes would you like to see in improving the delivery and learning of medical education?
We do a great job in general developing students into great physicians.  With the advancements in technology and the enormous amount of medical information available these days, we have to think of new ways to prepare students for the future. Critical thinking is perhaps the most important skill we need to emphasize and develop in our students.  This will best prepare them to seek information, analyze it, apply it, and transform knowledge.