The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode 64 · 7 months ago

From the Ground Up: Building a Medical School With Community in Mind


How do you market a school that is in the process of being built?  

Know your mission.  

In this episode, Dr. Michael Rice details his next exciting opportunity: Director of Admissions at the Osteopathic Medical School at Duquesne University. The catch? The school is currently being built from the ground up and will start matriculating students in 2024. Dr. Rice shares the mission behind the school, the importance of connecting with underserved communities, and dismantling misconceptions about osteopathic medicine. 

Join us as we discuss:

  • What it looks like to build a school from scratch
  • How to foster trust with potential students in underserved communities
  • Why you should recruit a class faculty and staff that are reflective of society

The High Red Marketer podcast is sponsored by the ZEMI APP enabling colleges and universities to engage interested students before they even apply. You are listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, donor relations, marketing, trans new technologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the High Red Marketer podcast, where, each week, myself, Troye singer and Bart Taylor interview higher read marketers that we admire for the better met of the entire Higher Ed Marketing Community. Today we get to go into the conversation of if you could start it all from scratch with Dr Michael Rice, who will be the director of admissions for the Osteopathic Medical School at Duqueanne University. Currently he is at the Osteopathic Medical School at Ohio University and we felt it would be fascinating to talk to someone that is going to go to a school that is not in existence and that they are creating and will not be matriculating students until two thousand and twenty four. Yeah, it's pretty fast mating because I mean very, very seldom does there's a major school like this come on board and be introduced like this. I really love a lot of the reasons why they're starting the medical school, and we'll get into that and the opportunities that that presents for them and as well as the perspective students, but also just kind of the the humbling essence of being in that role and, you know, coming in on July of twenty two and then spending you know, the first year kind of figuring out the mechanics of how to do the marketing, the recruiting and all that and then, you know, getting going, you know the fault the summer of twenty three to get ready for the fall of twenty four. So long process, but I think it's pretty exciting to hear some of the ideas that Dr Rice has and and how he's approaching that challenge, especially in kind of a new way of thinking about everything. So great episode. Yes, I agree, Bart. Here's our conversation with Dr Michael Rice. It's my pleasure to welcome Dr Michael Rice, director of admissions for the Osteopathic Medical School at Duquenne University to the hired marketer podcast. Dr Rice, thank you so much for being our guest today. Thank you for having me, you know, being completely transparent. When we first approached Dr Rice it was about another topic, but he is now transitioning to a wonderful new opportunity for him, which also change the subject of our podcast topic. Dr Rice, can you give us a...

...little bit about what your future opportunity is? Certainly you know the opportunity the next chapter of my professional career is with the proposed occypathic medical school with Ducane University. It's an exciting challenge to be involved from the ground up. Is is both exciting and daunting. You know, the good people of do came, from the president to the provos to the executive dean of the new calm they all have been very welcoming and very supportive. A lot of things that I do here at Ohio University Heritage College, something that is specific to the mission of Dukane that will carry over to the medical school is serving underserved populations. There are many underserved populations around the state or around the city of Pittsburgh. Western PA rural and there's some urban pockets that are growtherly underserved, and so the mission of Dukanes Pending Medical School is serving those underserved populations and recruiting students who have the heart of service, the heart of servitude, if you will, and so that's something that is speak, that speaks to the mission and the founding fathers of Du Kane University and that will definitely be carried forward in the medical school in terms of this mission and how we go about recruiting our students and faculty and Admin. That's my charge. My my mission is from from the very top of the institution, is to recruit folks who want to be about the business of servitude and serving those who are less fortunate and also recurring a class faculty and staff that are reflective of society. Part of that, with something that I've had the opportunity to be involved with greatly here at Hcomm, is making sure that there are pathway opportunities access, an opportunity from black and brown students who have been or populates that have been marginalized and in row settings in the met school and missions, and so those are exciting. Those are my mandates, as have been given to me and I'm excited about the challenge opportunity that Kane is going to present. That's great. I appreciate you kind of given us a little bit of a context to this conversation, Dr Rice, and just curious. I know that this is the second new medical school that I've heard bring come on in the last couple of years. I mean one I'm familiar with is another Catholic institution here Indianaples Marion University,...

...that launched their medical school probably about nine or ten years ago. But I'm curious where did the I did come from this and certainly, I think, out of the out of the Catholic tradition that you described, to the idea of service. But I mean, is there a is there a specific need that the school kind of identified? and and tell me a little bit about kind of the the ideation of where this medical school came from. You know, as I understand it, it was something that has been discussed many, many years in the making, the carrying of the spirit and tradition of Ukane and service to understood populations of Western Pa, not only of the state of Pennsylvania, but nationally and from a global perspective. So I'm aware that many, many years ago there had been in a works to build and partner with local entities, if you will, to build a medical school at Ukane. For whatever reason, those plans were laid aside and at the appropriate time they were picked up and brought fullward and coming through fruition. You know, I'm a firm believer that everything has a season. It might not have been the right season for Duque to launch as a medical school many years ago, but now, the timing, the opportunity and this takeholders that are necessary to undertake such a daunting, such an awesome task. It's time. It's the season. That's great and I find that I'm so respective of that and and of you and the other leaders that are on the team that you know, basically coming in and you know you've got these the VENGER team coming together and you know, taking on something bigger than than any of you have done before. And I think that we'll get into a little bit more in the conversation about kind of everything starting from scratch, but I mean, personally, how does it feel for you? I mean you're coming in, you know, getting ready to recruit for fall of twenty, twenty three, so we're year out. You're going to start in July and get get going to recruit for the following year. There's I mean personally that's going to be kind of exciting to kind of be able to say hey, I'm I'm getting ready to you, kind of do something, on the front end of something. It is very exciting also very humbling. You know, I don't come to this position thinking that it's going to be an easy task. I don't come to this position thinking that I have all the answers in terms of the recruitment process and the right dynamic in terms of formulating the exact team necessary to undertake this measure. So it's exciting to be all the front end. But also, I'm cognitive the fact that out of all the COLMS, out of all the ICEOPATHIC medical schools, I think I might be the only African American male that would... director of admissions. MMM. And so I know probably O theopathic association there is there are concerned efforts in terms of some big diversity and inclusion initiatives. Right. You know, I I take with some bit of sobriety in terms of realizing that this is a very big position. It has the opportunity to be generational, have generational effects in terms of serving some of those underserved western Pennsylvanians that do not have access to the quality healthcare, also generational change of students who might be first jen coming into the medical profession. So this has an opportunity to be both transformative and to provide generational change to many families that we just wouldn' be able to account they could be as numerous as the stars themselves. Because, yeah, you affect folks in the hill district who may not have trust of doctors and you going to build community and relations in trust and then you begin recruiting students from those areas, from that lying row areas. Again, those same world folks may not have access to quality healthcare, they may not have that trust factor, but the opportunity to go in with a team to establish those trust lines of community, faith, of foundation. I think our exciting. But, but, but, I but I we remiss if I didn't acknowledge the fact that there's going to be a lot of first right for when in this position. I'm honored but very humble at the same time. That's great. Dr Rice. Would love to talk about some of the tactics and the strategy that you will use to achieve your goals and to approach those underserved communities and to convince the people in the hill district that they can trust doctors and they can go to school at Douqueanne. So have you given much thought to that this early in the cycle, this early in the process of going into this endeavor? Actually, I have Dr Copman, who is the executive dean of the new medical school, here and I have kind of had some extended talks about his vision, our vision, if you will, of how we would like to go about recruiting students who may not think that they have the opportunity to go to medical school, to build those trust factors within certain communities. Car that, in terms of a community based type of recruitment is although I no longer had the need for barbershops,...

I'm going to going to look a barbershops and anything ware of we're here, we're here to stay and this is our committed to you and to into our community. I want to go into local churches and synagogues and mosque to give them the same message, showing that there's a partnership. We hope to build a synergy around those community based religious organizations to establish that that that open dialog in that Bridge to access an opportunity for those toudents who may have been marginalized in the past. You know something Dr Kaplan has talked to Bouy in terms of recruiting. You know what if we took the recruitment along the lines of maybe going into soon as homes and sitting down with their parents and having a meal? You don't see that type of recruitment for medical schools or other trouble of degree programs. That's not really done. But what if we identify this student who is exemplary and we want them at our school because we feel that they fit our mission and we feel that we have a wonderful education that they can benefit from to be the best that they can be? But what if we went in to their homes and sat down with their mother or their father or their grandma, the Nana or where the case may be, as a hey, we love your son or daughter, we will very much like to see them at do can in our medical school. What do we need to do to make you feel comfortable in choosing us, because it's a two way street. We might like you, but you may not like us. Right. So there needs to be a comfort level that from by the parents knowing that if we recruit your son or daughter to decane, and this is the same thing we do here at Hcom John Shrinern shriner and director Harmon we've tried to foster, is if we recruit your son or daughter and matriculate your son and daughter, we're going to graduate your son and daughter and care for them as if they were are very own. So a lot of times when I recruit students, first I get their permission, but I established that trust where they allow me to speak to them as if I were advising my son or daughter. Right, and if I'm advising my son or daughter, I'm going to give them the best professional advice, whether they want to hear or not, that I have. It may be good information or maybe information that stings. For example, if I'm working with the student and they need to improve on their imcat or maybe they need to take a gap here and take a Master's program and the biology biological sciences to enhance their tpas in their profile.

I want to have those honest conversations because one of the pursuit of medical education is is docting. There's a reason why less than six percent of the US population have deal or empty behind their names as because of the challenges and I want to paint a real picture in terms of this is. This is real. This is where you're going to face. It's not going to it's not always going to be preachs and cream, but we're here to help you at every step of the way so that you can get all that you can and to be your better best. That's great and I I love a couple things that you said there that I think apply to a lot of different things beyond just medical school recruitment. But the idea that you building the relationships and actually pursuing students, I think everyone wants that. I mean we all. I think we all have a sense of feeling good that when we build relationships, whether we're you know, whether we're buying a new car or doing something else, we tend to trust those people who actually care about us and they see us. That's so important for all kinds of high ed marketing and High Ed recruitment that I think sometimes we miss, especially when we get into these you know, so much of our marketing can be automated that we sometimes lose that human touch, and so the idea of sitting down with somebody for dinner seems kind of crazy, but that's where relationship start. Breaking bread with someone is kind of a an ancient tradition that I think builds trust and I love the fact that you guys are even thinking about those types of things. And I have to say that, you know, one of the things that I'm sure a lot of our listeners are thinking about is, wow, what a great opportunity to build something totally from scratch. I mean you're not having to come in and saying and hearing, Oh, we've always done it that way, we're going to keep doing it that way, because they've never done it that way. So I think that's pretty exciting and and I guess one of their comment I want to make, and I'll just I'd like to hear your perspective on this, Dr Rice, is that you know and and I'll be I'll be transparent. We talked a little bit about it in the in the pre interview. You have a little bit of experience. My my wife, attended and graduated from medical school and had a career in medicine. I know you know, thirty years ago when she was looking at schools, there was a there was a discrepancy and a misunderstanding, if you will, about, you know, osteopathic medicine and allopathic medicine, with with the MD versus the do sometimes I think that that is what I have thought, or maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong. There's even a level of trust that you have to build up historically from some misconceptions and some stereotypes about osteopathic medicine that that's simply not true. But I'm sure that building the trust in some of these communities and some of these different places that's going to be part of your challenge as well. Absolutely, when I started ten years ago there was more misconceptions and at veryanging about and now, as theopathic position is less than right, I think over the less decade or so the osteopathic associations have done a credible...

...job in marketing osteopathic medicine, its principles as foundation and establishing the fact that for the most part, if you go to an r or to a clinic or to hospital, unless you're looking at the the embrowdery on the code, you're not realizing that you could you may have been visited or cared for by a deal or an MD right. So I think all the past several years there has been some better brand awareness, better education of the public, and that also includes better educating some of those advisors that have been in their stead for many years and the MD ways, the only pathway that they know, and getting to know them and establishing those relationships. And also the GMB, the graduate MEDYAL medical education programs, those residency programs are now one. That process was that began in two thousand and fifteen was finalized in the summer of two thousand and twenty. So the same and crediting body for an MD, sociality for the do so the residencies are now one. There's no longer just an alapathic or an ostapath ethic residency. They're all one and I think those those realizations are going a long way in and letting everybody know that an Ostpath of decision can, can can be or pursue any type of resident residency or specially or subspecially right, regardless if you go to Harvard or high estate or Higher University here, this college or Universus Cincinnati or University of Michigan. At the end of the day, if you don't have the board scores, doesn't matter where you where you where you attended medical school. But if you had the board scores, that are redness of students being accepted those programs, it didn't matter where you go, rather out of path or osteopathy. And so I think the key here modern troy is that making sure that the pedagog you, the the the the the curriculum within the medical school prepares the students for not only first time board passage but high board scores right, and that's what we've tried to do here at Heritage College. We had matched a about two weeks ago, two weeks ago today, and if the choice occasion, we were in our Atram in our new facility and students were getting the good news where they've matched and and what's specialty. So it's a lot of that has to do with the front end, recruiting the rights to it, preparing those...

...all of our students for success in the classroom and those standardized exams and making sure that the curriculum is conducive to preparing its students for those board scores. Because again, if you had the University of Michigan, although the University of Michigan has a great reputation, a great school, but if there's students aren't passing the boards at a high level that that matter, they're just not going to ratch. They're not going to match to any residency programs. It's exactly right. I'm curious as you as you kind of think about this and I'm sure getting back to what maybe somewhere other listeners might be thinking, it's like, oh well, you're a director of admissions at a medical school and don't most medical schools kind of turn people away because they fill their class and and you know it's a very competitive environment. It's not like my program that's a x where I'm struggling to fill the class. How do you talk to people about that, because I mean certainly you don't have anything to take for granted here starting into kine because I mean it's a brand new program so, but I know a lot of other medical schools it's pretty typical to fill the class and have to close the class because of just the nature of the medical degree. Talk about that. That's a great point to bar. You know, what I hope to carry over from the Heritage College what we do is typically a lot of MED schools. Well, first of all, we interview from mid April to the end of September and all medical schools are on a rolling admissions so that only that is a rebird gets to worm. And the sooner that you get your applications come complete and are able to follow up with those schools that are on your radar, the more likely it is that you can receive an early interview for early acceptance. There are times where we have to have those tough conversations at the end of the interviewing cycle where we're just interviewing for weight list only, but we're making those students aware of the fact, you know, before they come in or accept an invitation for interview. You know it's about setting the proper expectation and making sure that you have those open lines of communication with those students. Also, a part of that is for those students who may not receive an interview or get accepted, or if they interview and their weight listed or rejected. I know that rejection is not a pc term, but it is what it is right maybe you're not accepted for whatever reason. Something that we do here at Acom that I want to take forward to do Kane is that had those tough conversations. Why did Susie Smith get weight listed or or are not accept and how can we help susie become a more competitive applicant for the next cycle? Often Times, after our interview here at the Heritage College, nine times out of ten, if a student is weightlisted or rejected, they'll talk with me and during those admission selection meetings...

I will take Kobe his notes so that anticipating that they'll call in, because we encourage him to do so, right feedback and have those tough conversations and if they adhere to some of those suggestions from the interview and committee, from the Selection Committee, then chances are the following year they are more competitive applicant, they are a better interviewe the second time around because they know what they expect. They have done the the the new diligence in terms of prepping their application, their profile, because they've taken to heart what we have recommended and that's that's the same approach I'd like to take with Du Kane, because not everybody's going to make it their first cut. Not Every pathway into medical school is the safe for everyone. And Not one is better or worse than the other. Right. I mentioned Earli in the conversation about season, about Dukane. It wasn't their season to open named medical school those many years ago. It's starts. It's our season now. Same thing with a medical student. I was talking with a student who is going through our post back program who was weightless at last year. It just wasn't her season. Now it's her season. She is coming into her own. She feels more prepared and confident that she's able to withstand the ricords of the medical medical school curriculum, be cause we had that tough conversation over a year ago and she has taken those things the heart and have has done those things and now she's ready. Yeah, and so those are the things that I'm hoping that I can take with me to the cane and incorporate some a similar, similar structure. That's great and I really like, I mean kind of what I'm hearing a little bit from a marketing strategy and communication strategy is the fact that, okay, we're going to approach these students like real people and that they're that we're going to build valuable relationships, even to the point where we can have hard conversations with them to make their lives better, and I love that. What are some of the other materials are marketing that you're putting together kind of from this, starting from scratch? I mean you're going to service, certainly going to be putting some view books together, some calm flows. Tell us a little bit about what's on your plan. Well, gentlemen, I have to be honest with you. Those are sitting in the works and actually our first matrigality classes, two thousand and twenty four. Right. Okay, so I have been advised and had been introduced to the marketing team that will be working with great art medical school. Specific plans in terms of, obviously the view books and some other slary of marking materials, website, those are in the works, but the kind of the nuts and bolts, the potatoes, have not been addressed and I can only speculate, doubt or give you the standard, but any nuances or a specificity I could give you that time because I was I...

...don't know, because well, and as probably part of what's going to start in July when you when you land there, it's like, let's figure this out. So absolutely, absolutely, that's great. That's really, really good. We talk a lot about it on the show. Schools are really struggling today to make the same adspend work. Cepms are up eighty nine percent year over year on facebook and instagram. Our College clients are no longer looking for rented audiences. They're looking for an owned community where they can engage students even before they apply. This is why Zeemi has become so crucial for our clients. With over one million students, close to tenzero five star ratings, consistently ranked as one of the top social laps and recently one of apples hot APPs of the week, there is simply isn't anything out there like it, and we have seen it all. Zeemi not only provides the best space for student engagement, but the most unique in action will data for their one hundred and sixty college and university partners. We know firsthand from our clients that Zee me is a must have strategy for Gen Z. Check them out now at colleges dot Zee mecom. That's colleges dot Zee m eecom. And yes, tell them. Barton Troy, sent you. As we bring our episode to a close, we usually asked our guests, Dr Rice, if there's one piece of advice that they could leave for someone that's in their industry that's sitting in their seat. In for you, it would be a director of admissions at another medical school that has benefited you that you don't mind passing on to them. What piece of advice would that be? That's a great question and I think I would have to go back to a coining a phrase from a Quenos foot speaker of the SMA multicultural event gala last month, and one of my talking points was don't let anyone knock your hustle. HMM, and what I meant by that is whether you come from a World Appalachia, where you come from urban, whatever walk of life, there's always going to going to be dowbs when you share your vision, when you share something, your desire, your zeal, if you will, to do something extraordinary. So you have to be careful who you share those, your vision, your dreams with because, although well intended, someone who might be coming from a first generation college background, they might be at a company, at a family cookout or holiday dinner and their uncle who knows everything, who has opinion on everything, but really has it lived outside of his bubble will give you the advice that he knows nothing about, and he's doing that out of out of love, that out of maliciousness. But you have to be very careful of who you show your dreams with. The kids now you're body can receive, when will receive,...

...your challenge and your goal of doing something extraordinary beyond their scope. Seek wise counsel and never give up because, as I basically before, not everybody comes to medical school the same pathway, the same way, the same opportunity, and not one opportunity is better than the other. And I think that if they hold on to those things and define their why, why they are going to do what they do, I think that that will be well for them. And I don't want to promise pion this guy. Not Everybody's cut out to be a physician. That's why I have a doctorate in higher education administration. I've an educational doctorate right. There's a reason for that. The chemistry's and Mike Rice and my success and progression and the biochemistry at all that was that was just not my cup of tea. That was not my strong suit. But those who have that educational acumen, in that attitude to do so. Maybe you've gotten off to a slow start during your first year, two during your undergraduate years. That's still not necessarily the end of the road. You might have a digger hold it to the climb out of but it's possible and one way that these possibilities exist as two pathway programs that I'm passionate about. A SCOM has a long history of its pathway programs, summer scholars I post baccalric program a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Summer Program I'm hoping to adopt some of those best practices and move those two decaine to provide access an opportunity to those students who may not have had the opportunity to really, really truly understand that this dream is possible. Dr Weiss, thank you so much. We wish you all the best and no one's going to try to challenge your a hustle and, yeah, we have full faith that you will come victorious on the other side of this endeavor and I know there's a lot of future students that are counting on you and a big leadership team counting on you. So again, thank you for sharing your story. If any of our listeners would like to contact you. What would be the best way for them to do so? Well, I would say probably the best way. Why? I'm in tradition transition because I am here at Ahcom until mid June. So you can contact me at Rice M at Ohio got EDU. That's Rice M at Ohio got EDU, and in between then you can use my personal email, and that's Michael Julian Rice at gmailcom. Very good again, Dr Rice.

Thank you for your time. You're welcome. Bart what would your last comments be? Yeah, I just want to point out a couple things that Dr Rice talked about and thanks again so much for being on the on the conversation. One thing I wanted to do is is, you know, a lot of what Dr Riis was talk about with challenging don't let anybody challenge your hustle. I think that can apply to hired marketers to because I know that I've often heard people at like Ethan Braden a few other ones who we've had on the podcast before, the whole idea of being the drivers of the brand, being the drivers at the messaging, helping people like Dr Rice be able to do his job well by doing your job well. And I think sometimes, sometimes as hired marketers. We can get into committees with faculty, we can get committees of leadership and everything gets king of watered down, even though you might know exactly what we need to be doing. Don't, don't let other people challenge your huse of kind of step up and be bold and kind of represent the Brandon and make your case and you don't have to be argumentative, but I think sometimes standing up and really being able to articulate the why of why something needs to happen. I mean I love some of the things that Dr Rice talked about with the ideas of focusing on the relationships. I mean the idea of of, you know, having dinner as a prospective students house to get to know their parents and their and their families and their influencers. What a great idea. And if you to bring that up at your school right now, what would that be like? But you might know the why is that. You know what millennials in generation and Z really like that they love that personal attention. You can articulate that, you can pull some data out, you can support that, but don't let anybody challenge that because, oh, we want we've never done it that way. So I really, really love what he said about challenging the Hustle and I really love the idea really kind of focusing on their relationships because in addition, when you focus on the relationship, I reminded too of Jim Small from Notre Dame when he talked about storytelling, we really want to make sure that the hero of the stories this perspective student. The hero is not your school, it's not your program it's not your degree, it's the student. And how can you and your school and your recruiters and everyone else involved be the guides that can help them do that? Be The guides that speak truth into their life? And what Dr Riye said about sometimes the guys have to speak hard truth into the life. But at the end of the day the relationships are what matters and that's what's going to make success for all of us. So thanks again, Dr Rice. Has Been a great episode. Thank a gentleman. That concludes our episode for today. The hired marketer podcast is sponsored by Taylor solutions and education marketing and branding agency and by thing patented, a marketing, execution, printing and mailing provider of Higher Ed Solutions. On behalf of my cohost, Bart Taylor. I'm troy singer. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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