Dean of OUWB, professor named ‘Pillars’ of wellness, education by local nonprofit

The dean of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine — along with a longtime professor — were among a group of dignitaries honored by a local nonprofit for making “significant charitable contributions” to support its work and mission.

Duane Mezwa, MD, Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, was one of two from the medical school to be recognized at the Sixth Annual Bates Street Society Dinner.

The other was Barry Franklin, Ph.D., professor, Department of Internal Medicine, and director, Preventative Cardiology/Cardiac Rehabilitation, Beaumont.

The Bates Street Society was created in 2015 to recognize donors who make significant charitable contributions to support the work and mission of The Community House in Birmingham, a nonprofit that is home to those seeking continuity between personal, professional, philanthropic, and recreational pursuits.

“The Bates Street Society Dinner provides the leadership and staff of The Community House the opportunity to recognize key members of our community for their extraordinary work and impact,” said William D. Seklar, president and CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation .

Seklar added that “This is one day a year we pause from our own work to celebrate the talents and contributions of those individuals who exemplify our pillars with the goal of inspiring the broader community.”

‘Honor means a lot’

The Bates Street Society Dinner is a black-tie event hosted by The Community House Association and Foundation Boards of Directors. The Bates Street Society Dinner also recognizes The Community House’s annual Pillars of Vibrancy: Business, Education, Culture, Wellness and Philanthropy. Mezwa was recognized as a Pillar of Wellness and Education.

“This honor means a lot to me,” said Mezwa.

“To be recognized for over 40 years of doing what I love most…. teaching medical students and residents the art and practice of medicine is indeed a privilege and a responsibility not taken lightly. Knowing that I leave behind a little bit of myself in each of my students is a legacy that I will treasure.”

A Wayne State University School of Medicine graduate, Mezwa is a 40-year employee of Beaumont Health, where he also completed his residency. His career has included roles as program director and vice chair for the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Molecular Imaging.

He was named interim dean at OUWB in February 2019. He was appointed permanent dean in November 2020.

Among other things, Mezwa has led OUWB through the rigorous Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation process, which resulted in the medical school’s reaccreditation for eight years, the maximum amount of time awarded by LCME.

He also has been instrumental in navigating OUWB through the challenges brought on by COVID-19, working with his administration and health care system partners at Beaumont to keep medical students learning in a safe environment and their education on track.

In learning he had been selected as a Pillar of Wellness and Education, Mezwa said his first reaction was to think of some of the previous recipients. Specifically, he said, Ora Pescovitz, MD, president, Oakland University, and Robert Folberg, MD, founding dean, OUWB.

“I was humbled to be included in the group,” said Mezwa, who noted that “the best part of the entire event was to share it with my family and my colleagues at Beaumont and Oakland University.”

Franklin, who has been with OUWB since inception, was recognized as a Pillar of Wellness.

“My initial reaction in being recognized for this distinct honor was the fact that my efforts to improve the health and well-being of countless patients with heart disease made a difference via the research and educational programs I pursued at Beaumont over the past 37 years, said Franklin.

“I was truly honored to be included among the preeminent group recognized this year as well as past recipients,” he added.

Franklin said perhaps the most meaningful for him has been “the journey that led me to this recognition…the memories, lessons learned, and the dear friends and esteemed colleagues I made along the way, several of whom were at the event.”

Other 2022 Pillar Society Inductees were:

  • Dave Bing, retired NBA basketball player and founder of The Bing Group — Business & Culture
  • Dominic DiMarco, president, Cranbrook Educational Community — Education
  • Jessie Beld Elliott, entrepreneur and consultant — Business & Philanthropy
  • Lila Lazarus, award-winning news anchor and health reporter — Wellness & Education
  • Rabbi Daniel B. Syme — Culture
  • Linda Schlesinger-Wagner, founder, Skinnytees — Business & Philanthropy
  • Evan Weiner, President and CEO, Edw. C. Levy Cos. — Business & Philanthropy

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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