Having spent her entire childhood within 40 minutes of downtown Wichita, Angela Carrick, DO, sees her appointment as associate dean of pre-clinical education at the Kansas Health Science Center – Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (KansasCOM) as a one-of-a-kind opportunity to return home and be a part of something that will have a lasting impact on the community she loves.

“Almost my entire family is here, which was a huge reason why I wanted to come back,” Dr. Carrick says. “But I also just love living here. It has a community feel and a lot of great family events and things to do.”

Prior to moving back to Wichita, Dr. Carrick, her husband, and their three sons lived in Norman, Oklahoma, where she worked for Norman Regional Health System in roles ranging from emergency department attending physician to associate program director of the emergency medicine residency and co-medical director of the health system’s stroke program.

But it was her work with the health system’s residents that had the biggest impact on the ultimate direction of her career.

“First and foremost, it led me to love being in education—to love teaching,” Dr. Carrick says. “But I also learned a curriculum. I learned about patient presentation, about how to mentor, how to have crucial conversations, and how to deal with conflict—all of which are really valuable for my position now.”

Dr. Carrick is excited to be on the ground floor of the development of KansasCOM and to see the leadership team’s vision transformed into something that will directly benefit the students.

“Being able to watch your vision being put into action is a unique opportunity that doesn’t come around very often,” Dr. Carrick says.

And, according to Dr. Carrick, the vision of KansasCOM is one of innovation and a student’s immediate immersion into our community.

“We want students to get out and work with patients in the first year of medical school so they can start to apply what they’re learning and continually renew their energy and interest,” she says. “Sometimes, if you’re only in the classroom, you can get burned out if all you’re doing is memorizing information all day.”

To move away from the traditional, daylong lectures students at most medical schools have to sit through, Dr. Carrick says that KansasCOM plans to utilize shorter lecture formats and a curriculum that revolves around real-world case studies.

“The adult attention span is 15 minutes, so we want to do shorter talks and case-based learning situations where we’ll look at a real patient case and teach directly from it,” Dr. Carrick says. “We’ll start by discussing the symptoms and the overall scenario and then work in small groups led by faculty members to discuss foundational science about the disease, what differential the student should consider, what studies such as labs and X-rays to order, and how to make the correct diagnosis.”

In addition to her work experience, Dr. Carrick has been involved in numerous professional organizations and has served on several committees. Most recently, she served as a panelist in an ongoing virtual mentoring series for osteopathic students with the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. This experience that has reinforced her belief in the importance of professional networks in health care—something she hopes to implement at KansasCOM.

“I want there to be groups for everybody, including women or underrepresented populations. We want everyone to feel they belong and have a place in our community,” Dr. Carrick says.

As for current professionals interested in joining KansasCOM faculty, Dr. Carrick has this advice: “Look into what we stand for, what our mission and vision are. If it matches your interests, we have a really diverse and dynamic group and a supportive environment that makes it an exciting place to be,” she says.

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