January 11, 2018

Eric Skye, MD: Supporting from all sides

M-Home experience is a team effort

University of Michigan Medical School M-Home Olympics

Dr. Skye (kneeling on far right) with other M-Home faculty and student leaders at 2017 M-Home Olympics

Eric Skye, MD, is a native Ann Arborite, and returned to the area in 1999 to teach Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is currently the M-Home Sanford House Director, oversees the medical student coaching program, and works with students during their Family Medicine clerkships.

In addition to his director, educator and physician roles, Dr. Skye is one of several Michigan Med faculty who literally wrote the book on coaching, penning chapters in a textbook for medical educators.

Here he answers 10 questions about being a House Director, our faculty coaching program, and what he loves about his hometown.

What is your mission as a M-Home House Director?

Our number one mission is supporting medical students. That is why M-Home exists: to support medical students in a longitudinal fashion. As a director, my goal is to develop a learning community that creates a new support system for the students above and beyond what the curriculum and space of UMMS does. My job is to bring incremental value to your space in the medical school by creating a community where you feel supported by the students and faculty of that house.

What appealed to you about this role?

My passion in medicine is helping people succeed. That includes taking care of my patients and being their advocate to help them grow and develop as people, and to learn to manage those challenges that their medical conditions bring. I feel the same way about my students. I want to find ways to help them grow and succeed, and feel that they've been given an opportunity to achieve everything that they could, then try to find the best ways possible to create an environment that lets them do that.

What do you hope makes M-Home and its faculty coaching program appealing to students?

I hope that after students graduate they’ll say that one of the important things for their success in medical school was the support they received from being part of a learning community. Our faculty coaches are contributing to this goal. Our students start developing a meaningful professional relationship with a faculty member on day one of medical school. They are supported throughout their four years, and can rely on that relationship as they advance through their career.

What are you looking forward to next?

The next important step is to integrate the senior medical students in an important way into the lives of the junior medical students. This unrealized--and very challenging--space in the preclinical vs. clinical environment is about bringing them together.

What are some of your most memorable encounters with med students?

I enjoy being forced to stay current as students are always asking "why" and I love the "ah-ha" moments when students put the pieces together and understand an elusive concept. I often do minor procedures with students and enjoy the excitement when we are able to allow them to participate meaningfully and they successfully complete a procedure. I also enjoy working with students I have known since the first day of medical school when they are doing meaningful work with their patients in the clinical years and seeing their tremendous personal and professional growth.

What are some of the characteristics you would use to describe a Michigan Med student?

Caring, Brilliant, Passionate.

What do you see is your overall purpose when it comes to shaping future physician leaders?

I want to make sure that students consider their patients as a whole person, in the context of their family and community, while helping them navigate their health care. I also want to make sure that students are able to successfully navigate career choices so that they can train in a field where they will be excited to continue practicing for decades to come.

What do you see as the biggest benefits available to you as a faculty member at the University of Michigan Medical School?

The high quality of staff, peers and learners that I have the privilege to work with as well as the outstanding resources.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Gentleman Farming. I have a very large garden, chickens, fruit trees and grapevines. I love being outdoors with my family and am still trying to make that perfect bottle of wine from my grapes.

What do you like about living in Ann Arbor?

Ann Arbor is a town that allows individuals from all backgrounds to find a space and enjoy a shared community. This has been a great community to personally grow up in and to raise my family. I have also appreciated that it borders rural outdoor space and activities, and has quick access to Detroit and other "big city" opportunities right here in town.