Transformation Journal
Volume 3 | Issue 2 | February 2018

Fostering Women's Leadership in Academic Medicine

Libby Ellinas, MD
As we seek to transform medical education, the workplace climate that we develop and work within in academic medicine touches everything we do and aspire to be. This includes more obvious connections, such as to wellness and inclusion, and less obvious connections, such as evaluation of competence.

Climate is keenly felt in Women’s Leadership – a cross-pillar initiative that seeks to support women in fulfilling academic careers and leadership roles. The Kern Institute is partnering with other women’s initiatives at the Medical College of Wisconsin to endorse metric-driven changes that assist female faculty toward professorship and leadership. Change initiatives that remove barriers to professorship are underway, including engaging assistant and associate professors in different ways. Men too, are becoming engaged in the effort, beginning to think about how they can partner to create real change in the climate for women. For students, we are focusing on being mindful of potential unconscious bias in our plans and assessments, especially as assessments of character and caring have large subjective components. Future Kern initiatives will also assist in fostering a leadership mindset in female medical students as they embark on their academic careers. For all women on campus, there is a tremendous opportunity to think about ways to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and what that might mean for female faculty, students and staff.

We are very excited to share that the National Transformation Network (NTN) has formed a Women’s Leadership Work Group that will also address women’s development and engagement. Through this work group, each NTN partner has already shared promising programming that celebrates women faculty, students, and staff including ways to promote national presence, which is critical for advancement to professorship at most institutions. Particularly critical are the NTN projects and collaboration that will focus on metrics that apply across institutions, thus broadly promoting both insight and transformation. As an example, members of the work group have determined several metrics in which women might be under-represented, and plan to create a database through which multiple NTN partners can compare their own data with the other institutions’, thus building a platform for broad recommendations for change. Examples could include collecting gender data where none exist, or building supports to departments to easily locate female content experts. The NTN Women’s Leadership Work Group is off to a great start, and we are incredibly excited about the potential effects of our future collaborations!
Welcome New
Kern Institute Team Members

We are pleased to share the new team members of the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education
Faculty Pillar
led by Alexandra Harrington, MD

  • Bruce Campbell, MD
  • Kathlyn Fletcher, MD*
  • Mary Ann Gilligan, MD*
  • Wendy Peltier, MD
  • Bipin Thapa, MD

Curriculum Pillar
led by Marty Muntz, MD

  • Erica Chou, MD
  • Kathlyn Fletcher, MD*
  • Jeff Fritz, PhD
  • Mary Ann Gilligan, MD*
  • Jayshil Patel, MD
  • Kurt Pfeifer, MD*
Student Pillar
led by Michael Lund, MD

  • Joseph Budovec, MD
  • Catherine Ferguson, MD
  • Kurt Pfeifer, MD*
  • Malika Siker, MD
  • Sarah VanderZanden, PhD

Culture & Systems Change Pillar
led by Chris Decker, MD

  • Kimara Ellefson
  • Chris Stawski, PhD

led by José Franco, MD

  • Chris Davis, MD
  • Kristina Kaljo, PhD
Please join us in congratulating these Kern Institute team members. We look forward to their contributions to the transformation of faculty, students, curriculum, and culture and systems.
*denotes time split between two pillars
Don't Miss Grand Rounds this Thursday, Feb. 22 

Utilizing Character to Rediscover Joy
in the Practice of Medicine

The Kern Institute and the MCW Office of Diversity & Inclusion proudly present February Grand Rounds.

A video presentation of David Brooks, author of The Road to Character , from the 2017 AAMC Opening Plenary Session, with a discussion following, facilitated by Ryan Spellecy, PhD.

Thursday, February 22, 2018
9:00-10:00 a.m.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Alumni Center
To register, click here.

or, join us by  Live Stream
To participate in the discussion while live-streaming, please email your questions to

Registration is Still Open!

The University of California San Francisco and the Medical College of Wisconsin will present a three-day intensive course for medical educators designed to explore:
  • Emerging trends in medical education
  • Strategies for curricular innovation
  • Innovative teaching methods to both clinical and foundational science teaching

Flexible programming topics will be offered in areas such as teaching clinical reasoning, creating equitable and inclusive learning environments, new models of faculty development, and curricular innovations.

For more information or to register for this course, click here: Developing Medical Educators of the 21st Century .
A Kern Connection Café Discussion
How Can We Help Students Thrive?

Join us for a café discussion facilitated by Cassie Ferguson, MD and Michael Lund, MD. This discussion will be of interest to faculty, students, and staff.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
4:00-5:00 pm
MCW Alumni Center

Light refreshments will be served | To register, click here.

or, join us by Live Stream
To participate in the discussion while live-streaming,
please email your questions to
Trading Places:
A doctor who found himself on the other end of the stethoscope

The Kern Institute proudly welcomes David P. Carbone, MD, PhD, who will present March Grand Rounds at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Doctors who find themselves a patient instead of a caregiver face challenges both physical and emotional, as well as professional and personal. Dr. Carbone, an Ohio State oncologist who survived lymphoma, will share his personal story with us.

Thursday, March 29, 2018
9:00-10:00 am
Medical College of Wisconsin, Alumni Center
To register, click here.

or, join us by Live Stream.
To participate in the discussion while live-streaming,
please email your questions to
The Kern Institute's Transformation Experiences
Personal accounts of the positive changes brought forth by The Kern Institute
"I think what is most exciting to me is the feeling that we are creating a real culture shift. The energy with which people are sharing new ideas and weighing in on those of others, and the willingness on everyone’s part to work outside of the established framework makes me believe that we can create change. All of these different thoughts and ideas that we each have as we go about our day in our individual silos can be fleshed out and grow when we can share them with one another. The transformative power of Kern, I believe, lies in the breaking down of our silos and in the willingness for each of us to really show up and be vulnerable."

"One transformation that I have witnessed is the bridging of the MCW campuses. I have had more conversations with my colleagues on all three medical school campuses in the months since the inception of the Kern Institute than I had previously had in the two years I had been employed at MCW. These conversations have directly impacted the education and experience of the students on my home campus in Green Bay. These conversations have also translated into more open lines of communication for which I am truly appreciative. In summary, as we have pledged to bring medical education as a whole more tightly networked and broadly reaching, I believe we have already been successful in unifying our own institution and positively impacting the experience of students and faculty and staff."
Just in case you missed it...
The Kern Institute hosted several events over the past month.
If you weren't able to attend, please feel free to view the event recordings, listed below, at your convenience.
January 24, 2018
Kern Connections Café
Promoting Resiliency and Avoiding Burnout , facilitated by Jennifer Apps, PhD and José Franco, MD

View the recording of this event here.

January 25, 2018
Grand Rounds Presentation
Medical Education: Where Are We and Where Should We Be? by Molly Cooke, MD, MACP

View the recording of this event here.

February 14, 2018
Kern Institute Journal Club
The Role of Physician Empathy in the Patient Experience , led by José Franco, MD

View the recording of this event here.
Earn a Master's Degree in Character Education
This is the first and only MA Character Education in the world – focusing on the theory and practice of human flourishing. This distance learning program adopts a broad understanding of character – encompassing aspects of well being, ethics, citizenship and social and emotional education. 

This program is offered by  The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, through the University of Birmingham, which is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost research and teaching centers in the world specializing in the examination of how character and virtues impact individuals and society. The program will be taught by some of the best known names, both in Britain and internationally, in character education.

For more information, click here.
Mark Your Calendar
September 20-22, 2018
GRIT for Women in Medicine: Growth, Resilience, Inspiration, & Tenacity
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, Truckee, CA
To register, click here.

This course, sponsored by Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, will empower women and men in medicine with the skills and resources to remove barriers and bias of women in leadership positions specific to the challenges in healthcare. Leaders in business and healthcare will present evidence-based strategies to promote professional development and enhance personal well-being.
February's Book Suggestion:
Designing Your Life
Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home—at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to  design and build  your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.
Transformation Journal is produced monthly by MedEd Next
MCW Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education