Prescription for Success: ER physician studying for law degree

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

As if his position as an emergency room physician were not enough to keep him busy, Dr. Ryan McKennon also wants to diagnose the legal system – and is studying for a law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills with the aim of a second career that combines the two fields.

His career goal is to one day run a health care system.

“I’m interested in health system administration, and law seemed to be a great general education for a post-graduate degree, and especially applicable in such a heavily regulated industry like health care,” he explains.

McKennon earned his bachelors of science in human biology in 2001 from Michigan State University and his doctorate of osteopathy in 2005 from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at McLaren Macomb Medical Center in Mount Clemens, where he served as chief resident 2008-09.

After finishing his residency in 2009 he began working as a staff physician at Henry Ford Fairlane Emergency Department in Dearborn, where he currently serves in the ER as the assistant division head and education director. Board certified in Emergency Medicine by the American Board of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine, he also serves on the advisory board of the Michigan Physicians Society.

McKennon will graduate from WMU-Cooley Law School next year. Despite his heavy work and study schedule, the honors scholarship recipient has maintained a GPA of 3.98, been on the Honor Roll and Dean’s List every semester, and earned Certificates of Merit for the highest grade in 14 courses: Torts I, Torts II, Property I, Property II, Contracts I, Civil Procedure I, Civil Procedure II, Criminal Procedure, Research and Writing, Constitutional Law II, Secured Transactions, Business Organizations, Personal and Professional Responsibility, and Equities and Remedies.

“I’ve enjoyed the quality of the professors who really care about the students learning the material, as well as the flexibility in scheduling classes,” he says.

McKennon is currently undertaking a legal externship with the in-house counsel at Henry Ford Health System.

“This has been a great experience working with top-notch attorneys,” he says. “I’ve worked on and been exposed to several different areas of law including contracts, regulations, employment law, compliance, and corporate law.”

A native of Grand Ledge, west of Lansing, and graduate of Grand Ledge High School, McKennon now makes his home in Franklin, in Oakland County.

In his leisure time, he enjoys running, reading, and spending time with his wife Jaime, an ER physician who practices under her maiden name, Dr. Hope; daughter Raegan, 4, and 2-year-old son, Christopher.

McKennon enjoys the wide variety of things to do in the greater Detroit area. 

“You can find just about anything,” he says. “There are great restaurants, professional sports teams, shopping, and although there are some areas that need improvement, it is definitely a city on the rise.”

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