Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, April 28, 2023

In This Issue:

Guest Director's Corner


Poetry Corner

  • The Day After I Die, Marilyn Taylor

Call For Submissions!

Transformational Times will have parent issues this year, around Mothers Day and Fathers Day. We are looking for a variety of submissions ranging from untraditional families, advice, what you wish you knew, or anything else folks might like to share around parenting. If you are interested, please reach out to the email below.

Reach Out
  • Please share a picture of your child's artwork with our readers, or something YOU created as a kid that reflects the sweet, creative, colorful, fun, unvarnished perspective of childhood. Feel free to tell us a bit about it, and the child who created it. 
Let Us Know!

Answers from last week: What is your favorite spring activity?

-Gardening! So therapeutic.


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Guest Director's Corner

KICS: KICS Out the Jams

By Michael T. Braun, PhD, Amy Farkas, MD, and Kristina Kaljo, PhD

As the Kern Institute Collaboration for Scholarship (KICS) wraps up its second school year of supporting scholarly output of the Kern Institute and MCW, the authors highlight what they consider the four biggest challenges and invite readers to join the conversation about what’s next. For no reason other than it’s fun, they chose song lyrics to title each challenge...

The essays in this issue of Transformational Times celebrate KICS achievements and highlight practical approaches to common challenges as we support research projects in medical education and, more generally, in education and the social sciences.

In this opening essay, we ask, “What are the biggest opportunities for growth?”

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Arrgh: The “sea sacker” method for addressing reviewer comments

By Michael T. Braun, PhD

In this essay, Dr. Braun details his approach to addressing reviewer comments when revising a manuscript, represented by the memorable CSACR (pronounced "sea sacker") acronym. He also suggests authors not sail alone...

One of the first things I remember my advisor Lyn Van Swol telling me about reviewer comments is that she always gives herself a week after reading them to wallow in misery, to feel all the feelings, to woe that she will never make it, she picked the wrong field, and she doesn't know what she's doing. After that, she reads the comments again, and they don't seem nearly as bad as she initially thought. 

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KICS Journal Club: A safe space to discuss potentially transformational scholarship with the author

By Amy Farkas, MD, MS, and John Yoon, MD

In this essay and Q&A, we look back on the growth and success of the Kern Institute Collaboration for Scholarship (KICS) Medical Education Journal Club, which began in September 2021 to address a perceived need for educators across professional ranks and expertise to collaboratively examine research methodologies and means for educational scholarship...

Not every journal club can tout discussions with authors and access to experts across the country. But the virtual nature of the KICS Journal Club, which meets monthly over Zoom, allows both the author of the paper and participants from within and outside MCW to join the conversation.

Journal Club covers a wide variety of topics from professional identify formation, to EPAs, the Delphi method, survey design, and the writing of position papers. Authors give a brief overview of their paper, then we enjoy discussion with the author and each other. Participation has grown from an average of 14 people a month in our first year to our current average of 26!

We asked Dr. John Yoon, visiting scholar at the Kern Institute and one of the KICS Journal Club's most dedicated attendees, to share his experience...

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What makes an exemplary writing mentor?

By William Henk, Ed.D.

Dr. Henk explores what matters most for effective mentoring of writers seeking publication of their scholarly work. Patience and consideration of a writer’s vulnerability, in tandem with their need for candor, are all a part of it. But there’s much more...


Success in writing for professional publication requires a complex set of skills and dispositions. Those who must publish as a job expectation, especially emerging scholars, can find the process extremely daunting (Dixon, 2001). It’s no wonder.


Oftentimes, their graduate programs provide little to no mentoring in writing for refereed forums (Barrett, Mazerolle, & Nottingham, 2017). These forums utilize a unique textual genre that is difficult to master, and engaging with the journal review process itself carries emotional risks. How so? 

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Qualitative data analysis: So, I’ve talked to people, now what?

By Dr. Lana Minshew, PhD, MEd

Dr. Minshew shares how the Kern Institute Collaboration for Scholarship (KICS) team can assist with qualitative research design and analysis...

If you need support to analyze qualitative data collected for educational research, the KICS group is ready to help, including through a workshop series planned this fall.

Last fall, several individuals and teams in the MCW community requested assistance to analyze qualitative data they had collected or were collecting. So, the KICS team partnered with qualitative experts in the MCW community, as well as other local institutions, to lead a four-part, qualitative analysis workshop. Each session focused on a different part of analysis, from organizing qualitative data, to getting started on coding, diving deeper into analysis, and finally, writing the results. Six teams participating in the inaugural workshop series were assigned a qualitative expert coach to help answer their questions and provide guidance as they navigated analysis.

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Cleaning up after ourselves

By Alexa Wild


Earth Day is one day a year. Climate change impacts us daily. So, as an institution employing and training individuals to “do no harm,” can we foster this same idea for the environment?

Flying to conferences

As I write this, I am 10,000 feet above the ground. Looking out the window, I see clouds softly flowing over the tops of snowy mountains. Extraordinary experiences tend to come at a cost – more than just a financial cost. Air travel is one of them.

As employees of an academic institution, many of us fly for professional, scientific, or academic purposes. If you fly to represent the Medical College of Wisconsin at an academic conference, do you (or your department) also budget to offset your carbon emissions produced while traveling? While in-person conferences serve an important role for collaboration, it’s imperative that we also consider the impact our travel has on the environment. 

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The Day After I Die

By Marilyn Taylor

they will find the cure

for whatever got me,

and a unified theory

of physics will be announced

by a consortium

from M.I.T.

Following the funeral,

Earth will be contacted by

intelligent beings from

the Farquhar galaxy--

immediately after which

Tesla will announce a car

that can run forever

on table scraps.

Within the week,

Abbott Labs will introduce

an age-reversing cream

on the very heels of

a morning-after diet pill

that tastes exactly

like a Cadbury’s Easter Egg. 


the woman they hire to clean

and fumigate my house

will come across a sheaf

of my old poems (tucked

optimistically inside a catalogue

from The Gap)

and turn them over to

her Thursday client, Billy Collins,

who (ignoring an infinitesimal twinge

of envy) will gallantly take charge

and see to everything--

including, of course,

any immortality.

Marilyn L. Taylor, former Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin and the city of Milwaukee, taught poetry for fifteen years with the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Submit a Poem for Next Week

KICS Medical Education Journal Club

May 10, 2023

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CDT


All students, trainees, faculty and staff are invited to join!

Register to join us at our monthly Kern Institute Collaboration for Scholarship Medical Education Journal Club! Each month, we discuss recent medical education scholarship with its author for a lively, intimate conversation about the transformation of medical education. This month MCW’s own Dr. Cassie Ferguson will be discussing the REACH curriculum and how she went about getting the curriculum published in Academic Medicine.

Register Here


Author's Reflections on

Catastrophic Rupture:

A Memoir of Healing"

May 11, 2023

Discovery Classroom - MEB - M3750

3:15 - 3:45 pm (CDT) - Pre-Reception

4:00 - 5:00* pm (CDT) - Author's Reflections

5:00 - 5:45 pm (CDT) - Book Signing

*Author's Reflections from 4:00 - 5:00 pm also available via Zoom


With Author, K. Jane Lee, MD, MA

Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Special Needs) & Medical Humanities

Institute for Health and Equity

Medical College of Wisconsin

Program Description

At the close of Catastrophic Rupture: A Memoir of Healing, the author has come to a place

of peace and acceptance regarding her daughter’s disabilities, and has learned to see the

joy and value in her daughter’s life. Now, after 10 more years of parenthood and clinical

work with children with severe disabilities and their families, what else has the author

learned? Please join us for this discussion as the author shares her reflections on life since

Catastrophic Rupture.

Register Here

Leveraging Your Strengths, Talents, and Lived Experiences to Promote Excellence across the Medical Education Continuum

Monday, May 22, 2023

10:00am - 10:50pm


Kristina Kaljo, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty Pillar Director, Kern Institute; Co-Director, SPARCC Program

In recent years, we have observed a shift away from the traditional understanding of "excellence", i.e. perfect grades, high test scores, or number of publications. Join this panel discussion as we explore the evolution of excellence in medical education and collaboratively identify strategies to better recognize excellence among our colleagues, learners and ourselves.

Register Here

Strengthen Your Financial Health

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. CDT

In-person only, MCW's HRC Conference Room #1210

The MCW Council for Women's Advocacy is hosting an all trainee event for any MCW student, and MCWAH residents and fellows. Junior faculty and staff are also warmly welcomed. 

Presented by: Dr. Emily Davidson, Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Kevin Sandieson. 

Goals of the seminar:  

  1. Discuss unique financial planning concerns for women in the workplace (i.e. career breaks, higher debt levels, longer lifespan) 
  2. Review basics of financial planning as a trainee begins their first career 
  3. Socialize with members of the field to discuss specific financial concerns and navigating pitfalls 

Register Here
The Transformational Times publishes weekly, delivering stories of hope, character and resilience to our virtual community.

Jeff Fritz, PhDEditor-in-Chief

Editorial Board: Bruce Campbell, MDKathlyn Fletcher, MD, Adina Kalet, MD, Wendy Peltier, MD, Karen Herzog, Justine Espisito, Nabil Attlassy, Julia Bosco, Ana Istrate, Linda Nwumeh, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen PetersonAnna Visser, Sophie Voss, James Wu & Emelyn Zaworski

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