Course Correction

An alum’s career takes an unexpected path

Author | Lauren Crawford

Photo courtesy of Stuart Flynn

Stuart Flynn (M.D. 1979, Residency 1983) grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest town in Michigan by some measures. It's a tightly-knit community steeped in tradition and history. When Flynn was a child, he remembers visiting his pediatrician, who was also the local otolaryngologist, emergency physician and obstetrician.

"I actually had every intention of going back to my hometown and practicing," Flynn says. "You can see how well that worked out."

In March 2016, Flynn, a pathologist, was appointed founding dean of a new medical school in Texas. A collaborative effort between Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science Center, it will begin accepting applications in 2017.

Flynn is eager to mold a different kind of history at the frontiers of medical progress. "You have the chance to do something different — not just for difference's sake, but to make it better," he says. He also wants to help blend patient-centered care with technology, and bring the doctor-patient relationship back to the forefront of treatment.

While it's true he strayed from his goal of becoming a physician in the Upper Peninsula, Flynn is grateful for the path his career took. He owes a lot of it, he says, to his love of teaching and to mentors who kindled his interests in helping people.

"The pathology course [at U-M] was led by true leaders, unbelievable teachers — people that captivated your imagination and your passion," he says. "That really changed my trajectory."

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