February 16, 2021

New PEARLS reward program spotlights medical students who go beyond expectations

Kenan Alhayek, left, Katie Adlaka and Lincoln Erickson are being recognized by Professional, Empathetic, Accountable, Respectful, Leadership and Stewardship, or PEARLS.

Three medical students have earned major kudos for professionalism that went above and beyond through a new quarterly reward program launched last October by the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The Class of 2023’s Kenan Alhayek and Katie Adlaka, as well as the Class of 2022’s Lincoln Erickson, are being recognized by Professional, Empathetic, Accountable, Respectful, Leadership and Stewardship, or PEARLS, a new program intended to recognize individuals who exhibit exemplary professional behaviors as physicians-in-training.

Through partnership with faculty, students and staff, the team behind undergraduate medical education at the School of Medicine designed the tiered reward program that provides incentives to individuals who exhibit the professional attributes of a Warrior M.D. through intentional action that goes beyond the expectations set forth for all students.

Lincoln Erickson was nominated by Henry Ford Hospital’s Internal Medicine Site Director and Assistant Professor Erica Herc, M.D., after glowing reviews from Bryanne Standifer, M.D., an Internal Medicine resident at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Dr. Standifer served as his senior resident during two inpatient teams with Erickson.

“Not only has Lincoln progressed and jumped right into his medicine clerkship with enthusiasm and team spirit, he saved the day last week,” Standifer wrote. “During one of our ‘code blue’ calls, Lincoln and I ran to the code to offer assistance. When we reached the code, there was a large crowd and a patient on the ground. We watched as nurses, doctors and others tried to gather information. Finally, Lincoln stepped in, as he realized the patient was hard of hearing. He immediately began to use sign language and we learned pertinent information about the patient’s injury and why the code blue was called,” she said. “You immediately watched the patient and wife’s face turn from scared and overwhelmed to comfortable and at ease as Lincoln created a means of communication. He went with the patient and his wife to the emergency room to continue to translate his needs.”

Kenan Alhayek and Katie Adlaka were nominated by Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and Curricular Affairs Senthil Rajasekaran, M.D., and Academic and Student Programs Manager Erika Roberts, for their participation in Problem-Based Learning, or PBL, an academic program improvement effort. The duo collected data from the Class of 2023 on their experience with PBL as first-year medical students, in which their class engaged in sessions facilitated by Year 2 students and other sessions facilitated by faculty and staff members. They collected and analyzed data, and contacted Dr. Rajasekaran and Roberts to discuss their recommendations for program improvement – a catalyst for the student co-facilitation pilot.

Alhayek is president of the Case Studies Organization, a student organization. Adlaka is vice president of the same organization.

Roberts and team will gather feedback from stakeholders in the first three to six months of implementing the program to refine and optimize it as needed.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit reports of exemplary professional behavior through Maxient, a new university portal used to capture both positive and negative behaviors.

“While negative behaviors have always been documented and addressed as part of the Professionalism Committee’s standard practice, we are excited to be able to document and reward positive professional behavior displayed by students,” Roberts said.