Coming Full Circle - Laura Jacobus returns to U-M as Residency Program Administrator

By Lynn McCain | February 8 2022

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to work as the Residency Program Administrator in Pathology at the University of Michigan,” stated Laura Jacobus. “I graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn and always wanted to work for U-M. I am happy and excited to be here.” Jacobus previously worked as a Residency Program Coordinator at St. Mary’s Mercy in Livonia. While there, she kept an eye on potential position opportunities at U-M, and when she saw the opening in Pathology, she quickly applied for it… and the rest is history.

Residency Program Administrators are tasked with providing support for a wide range of needs for residents, faculty and others who engage in the training of our residents. Their work begins prior to the residents’ arrival with the entire application process. For the 2023-2024 class of residents, the program received more than 500 applications, a program record. From this candidate pool, more than 300 applicants met the program’s qualifications and from these, 97 will have been interviewed by the end of this month for 7 open positions. According to Jacobus, all 97 candidates interviewed are very well qualified individuals with great accomplishments. “From what I have heard, the candidate pools are getting stronger and stronger every year. The reputation of the Pathology residency program at U-M makes this an extremely competitive program,” said Jacobus. In a time with decreasing numbers of medical students entering pathology, experiencing this type of growth in applications speaks volumes to the quality of the residency program.

Once the residents arrive, Jacobus handles any day-to-day needs for the program, which changes daily. She works closely with Dr. Shih Hon (Sean) Li, Residency Program Director, and Drs. Sara Abbott and David Manthei, Associate Program Directors. She ensures that the program follows all the ACGME accreditation requirements, prepares budgets, coordinates educational conferences; a little bit of everything. This year was challenging for Jacobus, coming into the program in July 2022, just as a new resident class was beginning their first year with new program leadership under Drs. Li, Abbott, and Manthei. “We had to learn how best to work with each other in our new roles. It was a learning curve, and I am still learning, but I think we’re doing a great job,” said Jacobus. “Marie Goldner, Desire' Baber, and Michael Bak in the Education Administration Office in Pathology, have been a great resource along with our Chief Residents Drs. Will Perry and Batoul Aoun. They have been there for a few years and are great to work with.”

Being a residency program administrator is very rewarding for Jacobus. “Being able to witness a resident’s growth from when they come in until they graduate and knowing that I was a part of their success, is very rewarding.” Some key skills needed to succeed in this role include having exceptional prioritization skills. “Things change daily. You will always have different deadlines to meet. You have to be able to prioritize and to accept that change is inevitable,” said Jacobus. “You have to make sure that you keep up with the current policies and that your day-to-day tasks are being completed. If you don’t know an answer to a question, be willing and open to reach out for help.”

Outside of work, Jacobus is busy with her 2-year-old son and is active in her local church. She also enjoys playing the ukulele. She used to travel with her husband in the first 10 years of their marriage, but once her son was born in the face of the pandemic, they took a break. However, once COVID eases, they hope to resume traveling.

Jacobus summarized, “I am super grateful to be working in the Department of Pathology at U-M. We have a great group of residents and faculty, and a wonderful administration office team. I am very appreciative. It has helped me in many ways, adding to my skills and bringing me full circle from my undergraduate days. I look forward to the coming year and seeing how I can help to continue to grow our already great Pathology Residency Program.”