December 07, 2018

Louito Edje, MD ('95): Living the legacy

Our generous alumni are experts at paying it forward.

Dr. Louito Edje (right) with Dr. Carol Bradford, Executive Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Rajesh Mangrulkar, Associate Dean for Medical Student Education

Louito Edje, MD, MHPE, FAAFP is an active double University of Michigan Medical School alumna (MD 1995, MHPE 2017) who continuously stays involved with our community. Dr. Edje serves as one of our Michigan Medicine Alumni Society (MMAS) board members while also serving as a Mentor for the Masters in Health Professions Education (MHPE) Program in the UMMS department of Learning Health Sciences. She's a board certified family physician and director of the residency program for the department of Family Medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital in Perrysburg, Ohio. Here, Dr. Edje answers nine questions about what she likes about UMMS and why she loves to give back again and again.

Why did you choose to attend the University of Michigan Medical School?

It was, and is, world class and considered amongst the elite of medical schools. At some point in my life, I would have regretted not applying. I’m not one for regrets and I have none!

What were some of your most memorable experiences as a Michigan med student?

I came into medical school as a reserved and rather shy student. Michigan Medical School empowered my voice and my passion for advocacy. Being on student council for all four years of medical school was a wonderful way to get to know classmates and to advocate for student needs and well-being. Being president of our 800-member student body was a distinct privilege, one that I will always treasure.

How would you characterize your med school experience?

I thoroughly enjoyed my medical school experience. It was rigorous and rewarding. The friends that I made are lifelong friends, people I stay in contact with and respect to this day. In fact, I turned to UMMS again when I wanted to get a masters – I knew it would be relevant, innovative and incomparable to any other teaching institution. It also gave me a chance to reconnect with faculty I had known as a medical student. The networking opportunities have been invaluable.

What do you see that’s different for today’s med students?

As a member of the admissions committee - first as an interviewer and subsequently as part of the executive committee - I have had firsthand experience with the caliber of medical student we admit. With the new curriculum, we have seen our applicant pool almost double. In addition, the caliber of candidate is really second to none. The altruism, academic excellence, innovation, leadership and resilience that new students are bringing into our school is nothing short of breathtaking. We consistently recruit and retain “wow factor” students. Our students go on to change not only the communities in which they live and work but the medical profession writ large.

Describe your current role and how your career has changed over the years compared with what you envisioned a medical student?

I was recruited into my private practice while I was an intern. Upon graduation from residency, I took care of a practice of around 2,500 private patients and became Chief of Staff at my hospital, all the while working with students and residents. Subsequently, an opening came up at my former residency program. I have been in my current role as Residency Program Director for 18 Family Medicine residents for the past eight years.

I am also active in the department of Learning Health Sciences at UMMS. The latter is a role I assumed after completing a Master of Health Professions Education in the same department. I was looking for a way to enhance my job and was impressed with the competency-based aspects of the UMMS Masters program. It also gave me a chance to work with wonderful mentors such as Kent Sheets, PhD whom I had known as a medical student.

I have a passion for health care policy and actively represent my county and state in organized medicine as a member of the Ohio Delegation to the American Medical Association. I have recently been appointed to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Family Medicine Review Committee. This is a nine-member committee responsible for the accreditation of family medicine residencies in the United States.

What advice do you have for current medical students about choosing their path forward, residencies and beyond?

When you are making any critical life decision, ask yourself four questions:
a. What is the BEST thing that could happen if I DO this?
b. What is the BEST thing that could happen if I DON’T do this?
c. What is the WORST thing that could happen if I DO this?
d. What is the WORST thing that could happen if I DON’T do this?

It may take a rotation, a heart-to-heart with someone who knows you, a candid conversation with a trusted mentor or significant other to answer those four questions. Ultimately, you will make a decision having done your due diligence and mitigate any downstream regret.

What are some of your favorite things to do when you visit Ann Arbor?

Eating at Zingerman’s, going to the Ann Arbor Art fair, watching a game in the Big House, visiting lifelong friends, rekindling relationships at our class reunions.

What keeps you connected to the University of Michigan Medical School now and what role have those connections played in your life?

I give back to UMMS in three different ways:

  1. I am on the admissions executive committee, which meets every other week during recruiting season. It is such an honor that I take a vacation day to drive from Toledo to Ann Arbor for each meeting.
  2. I am a donor. I benefited from a generous gift from an anonymous donor when I was an M2. It was timely and so greatly appreciated.
  3. I have been privileged to have been involved with the Michigan Medicine Alumni Society as past board member, for more than six years, and as President. That has provided great opportunities to build, connect and support the family of over 20,000 Michigan Medicine alumni. It also a “refueling” station for information about the innovations that our school is involved in. I leave those meetings ready as an informed ambassador and a proud fan. I have also had the opportunity in my role with MMAS to speak at the White Coat Ceremony, Second Look Weekends and the Graduation luncheon. Also, being involved in selecting Distinguished Alumni really reminds me of the brilliance that our school is synonymous with.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is considering the University of Michigan Medical School for their medical education?

UMMS is the gift that keeps on giving, it is one of the most solid medical education
foundations from which to launch your career. You will be pluripotent when you leave. ALL options will be open to you. You will not regret your decision.

Go Blue! There’s no other way to go!