Since stepping foot on the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus as a member of the inaugural MD class in 2014, Dr. Eric Edewaard has had the opportunity to be a part of several firsts at WMed.
He was part of the first class of new doctors to graduate from the medical school in 2018 and one of two students from that class to remain in Kalamazoo where he matched into the Internal Medicine residency program. Just this month, he became the first alumni to complete his residency training at WMed.
Now, later this summer, he will add another special distinction to his list as he becomes the first WMed graduate to become a member of the medical school’s faculty when he begins his duties as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine.
“I know firsthand that I’m going to have really great colleagues,” Dr. Edewaard said recently. “WMed has provided me with a whole lot over the last seven years and it is rewarding to have the chance to give a little back to the institution.”
Dr. Edewaard said he is excited to become a colleague to the many faculty members in the Department of Medicine and the Internal Medicine residency program who have mentored him and helped him get to this next step in his career as a physician.
He said he is also looking forward to the variety his new duties will afford him as he will see patients in the Internal Medicine clinic at WMed Health, as well as patients at Ascension Borgess Hospital and Bronson Methodist Hospital. He will also get the chance to teach residents and he will serve as the Internal Medicine clerkship director for fourth-year medical students.
“On a personal level, it fits with what I want for a career in that there’s a really nice variety in what I do,” Dr. Edewaard said. “As an internist, there aren’t a lot of jobs where you still get to do a little bit of everything but this is one of them. It’s something that excites me because I feel like I have an opportunity to help students and residents by bringing with me a unique understanding of what it’s like to be in their shoes.”
Dr. Joanne Baker, program director for the Internal Medicine residency program at WMed, said she is filled with pride in knowing that Dr. Edewaard is joining the faculty in the Department of Medicine. She said Dr. Edewaard’s intelligence, eloquence, and humility will be assets to the medical school, his colleagues, and students and residents.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to know there’s someone like Eric who came through our medical school and residency program and not only likes what they saw in their experience but also has a sense of pride to be a part of it,” Dr. Baker said. “To be able to have faculty with that perspective, it really is priceless in that we want our training and the experience of going through residency to be the best possible. We’re all going to be better for it because Eric will be able to provide that perspective.”
Dr. Edewaard said he was hopeful that he and his wife would get the chance to remain in Kalamazoo after his residency training concluded. They are both natives of Holland and members of their extended family still call West Michigan home. They also purchased a home in Kalamazoo after Dr. Edewaard graduated from WMed in 2018.
“I do take pride in knowing that I’m sticking around and trying to serve the communities that served me my whole life being in West Michigan,” he said.
As chair of the Department of Medicine at WMed, a role he has held for several years, Dr. Mark Loehrke said he has always set out to hire “really good people” who possess a passion for teaching and patient care.
Dr. Edewaard, he said, fits that mold perfectly.
“He’s an amazing young man,” said Dr. Loehrke, who also serves as associate program director for the Internal Medicine residency program. “Eric exudes a quiet strength and calm and that’s a really great quality for a faculty member. I am hoping he has a long, long career.”
Dr. Loehrke said Dr. Edewaard will have “a unique opportunity” as a WMed alumnus and as a former Internal Medicine resident to now pass along all that he has learned to the newest students and residents who come to Kalamazoo.
“He is turning into the OG of his MD class,” Dr. Loehrke said. “All of the students who graduate are special, all of the residents are special, but the ones who stay on, they hold a special place in your heart.”
As he prepares for his new role at WMed, Dr. Edewaard said he will take some time to relax, reset, and study for his American Board of Internal Medicine exam. He also plans to do a little traveling with his wife.
“I had no idea what WMed would be like when I first came here,” Dr. Edewaard said. “But it grew on me and I’ve found, especially in Internal Medicine, a good home and I can’t imagine being anywhere else or as happy anywhere else.”