You are currently the Associate Chair for Education and the Program Director for our Pediatrics Residency Program. Could you explain these two roles and what they entail?
As the program director, my role is focused on creating educational programming for the residents. I oversee their education and am responsible for ensuring that once they leave us, they are ready to move into independent practice as general pediatricians.
In my role as the Associate Chair for Education, my purview is the educational missions across our department. I work closely with our Associate Director for Student Education, Jocelyn Schiller, and with Jason Weinberg who oversees fellowship education. Together, we work collaboratively to ensure we are providing an effective environment for our trainees. We also want to make sure that our faculty feel supported in building their skills as educators and provide them with feedback about their skills as educators.
Ultimately, we’re trying to do everything we can to advance the future of pediatrics at all of these different levels.
What do you hope to accomplish with your Associate Chair position?
Every day when I come to work I’m thinking about not only my responsibilities to our learners but also to the children in the communities we serve. Because of this, I want to make sure that we have a supportive and effective program where they can have the best skills and knowledge to advance the care we provide to patients.
What would you say makes our residency program unique?
I think we have a really excellent balance of taking care of complex patients, and patients with challenging social circumstances in both the hospital and primary care settings. We are lucky to have a broad network of primary care physicians, which can’t be said for every institution. Our residents finish training with the skills and knowledge to be pediatricians who care for every aspect of the health and well-being of their patients, especially in a team setting.
What else should we know about your role/interests?
I have been involved in a lot of wellness-related activities for a long time. I think it is important to help people remember that we are privileged to do the work that we do, and that no matter what, there are ways to find joy in every day. I try to keep that thought process at the forefront when working with our colleagues, residents, and medical students. Even on days that can be challenging, I feel very lucky that I get to do the work that I do.
In your opinion, what makes the Department of Pediatrics an ideal place to work?
Across the department, we have a shared vision. We’re all pushing to take better care of the children and families we serve.
I think our department really cares a lot about each other. I learn new things about people in the department all the time, not just about their clinical passions but also about their personal lives. Our department is the perfect size to know everyone and feel as if you’re part of a team of trusted colleagues. We’re always striving for improvement.
What else do you like to do outside of work?
Most people know that I am a big knitter and sewer. I love to make quilts for our residents when they have a new baby! I keep a stack of them in my office to give out, and the walls of my office have my own quilts hanging up. At home, I like to garden and spend time with my daughter, husband, and our cute fluffy dog! My daughter is a big baker and loves to bring her baked goods to our residents. My husband is an adult hospitalist here so I have ties to the adult hospital!
About Dr. Burrows
Dr. Heather Burrows obtained both her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan Medical Scientist Training Program, followed by residency training at the University of Michigan. She is a general pediatrician and practices at the East Ann Arbor General Pediatrics site, where she sees her own patients as well as supervises residents and students.
She served as the Continuity Clinic Director for many years before becoming Program Director. She is interested in physician wellness and has been involved in the medical school learning communities (the MHome) where she leads the Healer’s Art course and is a member of the University of Michigan GME Wellness committee. The Associate Chair of Education is responsible for coordinating the educational activities of the department across the educational continuum from medical students through fellowship, ensuring a supportive learning environment for all. This includes oversight of the Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds curriculum and the departmental summer faculty development series.