Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, April 7, 2023

In This Issue:

This week in the Transformational Times we are celebrating our team members across the Kern Institute as they share a glimpse of themselves, their passions and their dreams – as well as a few favorite recipes. Enjoy

Director's Corner

Adina Kalet, MD, MPH: Nature Bathing in the Big City 

Take Three with Kern Staff

Recipe Photo, Vanessa Vilson

Poetry Corner

  • I Have a Time Machine, Brenda Shaughnessy

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 below if you are interested.

Reach Out
  • Do you have a seasonal dish from your childhood that you look forward to each spring, please describe it, and the memory and/or person associated with it. 
Let Us Know!

Answers from last week: What's your favorite use for maple syrup, or do you have an unexpectedly amazing, food/flavor pairing suggestion for maple syrup?

-"This isn't exactly a use, but when my kids were in pre-school at the Audubon Nature Preschool, every spring they would tap maple trees. Once, I got to go along and taste the sap as it dripped out! Still a great memory."- Kathlyn Fletcher, MD

-"Maple Bacon Butternut Squash - not sure what made me try the recipe, but my husband calls it his fall candy. Email me if you'd like the recipe... great Thanksgiving side..."- Mara Koffarnus

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Director's Corner

Nature Bathing in the Big City 

Adina Kalet, MD, MPH

Despite the distressing local and global news and the many worries, Dr. Kalet relearns the importance of getting up early and taking a walk.…


When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ― John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

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Take Three with Kaicey von Stockhausen

We recently asked Kaicey to share a little about herself, and her role at the Kern Institute...

Background and Current Role in the Kern Institute


Prior to working at Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), I was an Educational Assistant at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) for 4 years. My role at MATC was to develop programs aimed at expanding and enhancing the Medical Assistant (MA) Program. I worked with students from recruitment, enrolling at MATC, filing for financial aid, registering for classes, and applying for the MA program, to more in-depth involvement through individual service plans and goal setting once they were in the MA program.

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Take Three with Karen Herzog

We recently asked Karen to tell us about herself and her role in the Kern Institute...


Background and Current Role in the Kern Institute

I joined the Kern Institute in January as copy editor for Transformational Times after working last year with the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) to help share stories about transformative, AHW-funded public health projects in communities across the state.

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Take Three with Shannon Majewski


We recently asked Shannon to tell us about herself and her role in the Kern Institute...


Background and Current Role in the Kern Institute


I fell into meeting and event planning in 1995 when I moved to the San Francisco Bay area and applied for a job at a company that produced approximately 35 luxury destination symposiums annually for Continuing Medical and Nursing Education audiences – and I was wowed! It was (and is) demanding and challenging work, but I knew I had found my career, and I have stayed in the meeting and events industry ever since. I’m a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) through Events Industry Council, a Certified Meeting Manager (CMM) through Meeting Professionals International and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and I specialize in healthcare meeting compliance (HMCC). I have been with MCW for six years, serving a little over five years with the Department of Pathology, and as of July 2022 I’ve been with the Kern Institute, as our Events Specialist.

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Take Three with Justine Espisito


We recently asked Justine to tell us a bit about herself and her role at the Kern Institute...

Background and Current Role in the Kern Institute

I started at MCW in Fall 2019, and the Kern Institute in January 2022. I am a Research Program Coordinator at the Kern Institute and the Institute for Health and Equity. In the Kern Institute, I mainly work in the Philosophies of Medical Education Transformation Lab (P-METaL) with Dr. Fabrice Jotterand and many other faculty and students working to better medical education. I recently had the pleasure of stumbling into the role of production editor of the Transformational Times , which, if you were to have asked me in January, I would have said “pleasure” in a sarcastic tone. But after working with the editorial group and finding a groove, I have come to really enjoy it.

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Take Three with Venus Coates


We recently asked Venus to share a little about herself and her role in the Kern Institute...

Background and Current Role in the Kern Institute

I am a Milwaukeean, born and raised in the 53206 ZIP code. My high school math teacher, Jim Piatt, somehow convinced my mom that I should take algebra and geometry during my first year of high school. From there, it became a love-hate relationship with numbers. But the push from Mr. Piatt led me to major in accounting at Howard University. 

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Kern Institute in the News

-Adina Luba Kalet, MD, MPH is the recipient of the 2023 John P. Hubbard Award

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I Have a Time Machine

By Brenda Shaughnessy

But unfortunately it can only travel into the future

at a rate of one second per second,


which seems slow to the physicists and to the grant

committees and even to me.


But I manage to get there, time after time, to the next

moment and to the next.


Thing is, I can't turn it off. I keep zipping ahead—

well not zipping—And if I try


to get out of this time machine, open the latch,

I'll fall into space, unconscious,


then desiccated! And I'm pretty sure I'm afraid of that.

So I stay inside.


There's a window, though. It shows the past.

It's like a television or fish tank.


But it's never live; it's always over. The fish swim

in backward circles.


Sometimes it's like a rearview mirror, another chance

to see what I'm leaving behind,


and sometimes like blackout, all that time

wasted sleeping.


Myself age eight, whole head burnt with embarrassment

at having lost a library book.


Myself lurking in a candled corner expecting

to be found charming.


Me holding a rose though I want to put it down

so I can smoke.


Me exploding at my mother who explodes at me

because the explosion


of some dark star all the way back struck hard

at mother's mother's mother.


I turn away from the window, anticipating a blow.

I thought I'd find myself


an old woman by now, traveling so light in time.

But I haven't gotten far at all.


Strange not to be able to pick up the pace as I'd like;

the past is so horribly fast.

Brenda Shaughnessy, "I Have a Time Machine" from So Much Synth. Copyright © 2016 by Brenda Shaughnessy.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

KICS Medical Education Journal Club

April 12, 2023

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CDT


This month MCW’s own Dr. Joanne Bernstein will be discussing her work in climate health and how she has turned her passion into scholarship with her paper Risk Factors for Climate-Related Health Effects in an Ambulatory Population.

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. 

Register Here

REACH Well-Being Session

April 18, 2023

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CDT


Well Organized: Using Living Organized as a Tool for Well-Being

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

In this session, we'll unpack the parallels of living organized with our wellness. Through storytelling, we'll hear about people's everyday challenges with getting organized, share practical tips for overcoming mental barriers, and explore some of the health benefits of living organized.

Register Here

 Please plan to join us for a Grand Rounds presentation with Sabena Y. Jameel, BMBS, BMedSci, DFSRH, MMedED, FRCGP, PhD

Truth-Telling in Medicine


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

9:00-10:00 am CDT

This Grand Rounds seeks to gauge the boundaries of the practically wise physician when it comes to truth-telling in medicine. Character, caring, and competence all inform the way the truth is told. We will explore practical clinical examples of when the truth, and nothing but the truth, has been told while exploring how “the truth told slant”* may be more appropriate in particular contexts. We will discuss autonomy and the right not to be deceived pitched against a proven flowchart that justifies deception.

*Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Register Here

Please join us to explore, discuss, and align our efforts

to ADVANCE equity-focused initiatives in the learning


Thursday, April 20, 2023

9:00am - 1:00pm

MCW Alumni Center

The summit will highlight how MCW uses data to advance equity in the learning

environment with a focus on learners in three different stages:

1. Aspiring Health Science Learners

2. Health Science Students (e.g. medical, pharmacy, graduate)

3. Post Graduate Learners and Trainees

Target Audience

This summit is intended for faculty, staff, trainees, and students who are interested in

learning and discussing how the use of data can advance equity in the learning


Learn More
Register Here

Understanding Medical Professional Identity and

Character Development

April 28, 2023

8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CDT


Professional identity formation (PIF), as defined by the Carnegie Foundation, is the “ongoing self-reflective process involving habits of thinking, feeling, and acting” as a physician. The holistic development of these capacities of PIF can be interpreted as essential qualities of one's character and integrity.


Education in the professions must design learning environments that center self-reflection within the PIF curriculum and provide growth opportunities that challenge while offering support and guidance for PIF growth, as well as the learner's well-being. In this symposium, we aim to convene medical education researchers, instructors, and others to engage on the state of PIF research, the goals, and interests of attendees, going beyond the confines of reductionist approaches. Our overarching goal is to transcend to holistic and humanistic integration spaces, weaving a central thread that is crucial to the person’s professional self.

Keynote Presentation

Can You Imagine How Far They've Come?:

PIF As Immigration

Presented by

Lara Varpio, PhD 

Visit our website for more information about the program, including agenda, topics, and presenters.  

Register Here
Check It Out
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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