Transformational Times
Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community
Friday, August 7, 2020
In this Issue:

Director's Corner
  • Adina Kalet, MD, MPH: Milwaukee is Special; Let’s Make Some “Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble”

Educational Perspectives
  • Chris Decker, MD and Julia Schmitt: TI2 vs. COVID: How We're Winning the Battle of Experiential Learning in a Virtual World
  • Sondra Zabar, MD and Kinga Eliasz, PhD, MS: "First Night-onCall" 2020: Preparing for Internship in the Face of a Pandemic

Racial Injustice & Inequities Perspectives
  • David Cipriano, PhD: Initiating MCW's "Community Conversations" about Race and Racism
  • Victor Redmon, MD: Why We Need More Black Male Physicians
  • Anna Visser, MD-Candidate 2023: "How to Be an Antiracist" Chosen as this year's MCW Common Read

Your Turn
  • See how readers answered last week's prompt: What's one thing you're grateful for this week?
  • Respond to this week's prompt: If you could snap your fingers right now and a meal would appear from anywhere in the world, what would it be and where would it be from?

Announcements & Resources
  • Register for the Kern Institute's Upcoming Virtual Events
  • Kern National Network Connections Newsletter - August 2020
  • Enter the Student Essay Contest on Character in Medicine
Director's Corner
Milwaukee is Special; Let’s Make Some “Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble”

by Adina Kalet, MD, MPH

Dr. Kalet shares how the message of Representative John Lewis’s farewell letter to the American people resonates with how the Kern Institute must take up the challenge to create inclusive, equitable medical education systems ...

On the day of his funeral, John Lewis, the civil rights warrior and seventeen-term Congressman from Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, published a love letter to the American people in the New York Times. He wrote his inspired and inspiring essay while dying of cancer, knowing that the country he loved was in crisis. “You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society.”

Lewis reminds us that “Redeeming the Soul of Our Nation” will require a “long view” which, I believe, is also our approach as we redesign medical education to create a new physician work force. Doing meaningful and important work is a process, not an outcome. As an ancient Jewish ethicist reminds us, we are not responsible for finishing the work of "perfecting the world,” but neither are we free to stop trying.
Educational Perspective
TI2 vs. COVID: How We're Winning the Battle of Experiential Learning in a Virtual World

by Chris Decker, MD and Julia Schmitt

We entered our third year of the Kern Institute’s Transformational Ideas Initiative (TI2) at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) with nearly twice the number of project teams we normally accept and an abundance of confidence. We had no idea what a curve ball COVID-19 would throw …

The Kern Institute’s “Transformational Ideas Initiative,” or TI2, is a seed grant program we developed three years ago to promote innovative educational interventions. Teams are invited to apply each year, and as we were reviewing applications in January 2020, we felt confident enough to expand our program to seventeen project teams – comprised of 99 MCW students, faculty, and staff.
Once accepted, teams are guided through our signature innovation training program to examine, shape, scope, and iterate their idea before implementing their pilot project over the course of the academic year.

The keystone of our training program is highly interactive and experiential. In years past, we worked hard to leverage the wisdom in the room - creating a culture where it’s safe to throw out a half-baked idea for brainstorm and to give raw-constructive input, regardless of the credentials after your name.
Educational Perspective
"First Night-onCall" 2020: Preparing for Internship in the Face of a Pandemic

by Sondra Zabar, MD and Kinga Eliasz, PhD, MS, New York University Grossman School of Medicine

Drs. Zabar and Eliasz are on the team that instituted the “First Night-OnCall” (FNOC) experience for trainees. In this essay, they describe the experience of modifying FNOC for the pandemic era ...

The transition from medical student to resident is difficult and dicey for patient safety in the best of times. In the US, virtually all recently-graduated medical students begin their residency training as interns on or about July 1. It has been reported that, in some academic settings, hospital-based risk-adjusted mortality rate goes up 4-8% in the first two months of a new residency year. While the cause of this bump in mortality is contested, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure all new house officers are as prepared as possible for unfamiliar clinical settings and dramatic increase in patient care responsibilities.
In COVID-19 times, everyone is looking at this transition through a new lens. Last spring, almost all near-graduate medical students across the country were pulled off their final clinical rotations. At the same time, these medical students needed to be ready to join the pandemic front lines on July 1 as interns.
Racial Injustice & Inequities Perspective
Initiating MCW's "Community Conversations" about Race and Racism

by David J. Cipriano, PhD

Dr. Cipriano was on the team that launched MCW’s “Community Conversations.” In this essay, he shares the process of that launch and a bit of what the facilitators and note-takers learned …

In early June, soon after the killing of George Floyd and the unstoppable social movement that ensued to end racial injustice, MCW was preparing to address how these issues were impacting our institution. President Raymond committed himself to leading MCW to become an anti-racist institution. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) together with the Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee (DIAC) developed Guiding Principles for combatting racism and also laid the groundwork for groups of individuals to get together to have these difficult conversations. These groups, eventually called “Community Conversations” developed out of a close partnership between Dr. Greer Jordan and ODI, the Kern Institute, DIAC, and the Center for the Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM). 
Why We Need More Black Male Physicians

by Victor Redmon, MD

Dr. Redmon shares some of his experiences as both a medical student and a resident physician, followed by his reflections regarding the encounters…

My name is Victor Redmon. I was born and raised in Florida – and although I was well-traveled, I had never lived outside of the state until I came to MCW for medical school in 2013. I stayed here for internal medicine-pediatrics (Med-Peds) residency, for which I am now in my fourth and final year. I will be serving as chief resident of MCW’s Med-Peds program for the academic year of 2021-22.
Common Read Announcement
How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi Chosen as the MCW Common Read

by Anna Visser, MD-Candidate, 2023
Transformational Times Associate Editor

Ms. Visser discusses the process and outcome of this year’s search for the book that will be the MCW Common Read …

It took us the entire school year to choose this upcoming year’s Common Read selection. Led by then-M4 Sophia Lindekugel, the Book Selection Committee read dozens of books suggested by MCW community members to pick a book that would be timely, readable for a wide audience, and actionable to spark meaningful change. As a lifelong reader and now a member of the Book Selection Committee, I really enjoyed reading books that opened my eyes to topics I had not explored in depth before, ranging from the opioid epidemic, to the Flint water crisis, to the individual and societal impacts of sexual assault.
However, after selecting a book with which we were all thrilled to announce, these plans were pivoted once we noticed, and joined in on, the outcry surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many others. The MCW Common Read Leadership felt that it was necessary to shift this year’s Common Read to one that would center around race and race relations in America, shelving our previous selection for another year.
“Regardless of what someone’s belief is about the pandemic, it is here and very real. Smaller cities or towns are not exempt.
Sadly, it seems a loved one has to contract the virus for people to really understand how real and deadly this pandemic is."

a quote from
John James Jr., ICU Nurse, Memphis TN
from the article
"In Harm's Way - Fighting the Summer Surge”

The New York Times - Updated August 1, 2020
Responses from Instagram

“My new classmates!” -Anonymous MCW Student

"The incoming M1s who have shown up with such enthusiasm and excitement for the year!" -Laura Grogan, MCW Medical Student

"Graduating from an institution that prepared me so well for residency!" -Matthew Wright, MD, MCW 2020 Medical Student Alum, PGY1 at UT-Houston in Child Neurology

Respond to next week's reflection prompt:

If you could snap your fingers right now and a meal would appear from anywhere in the world, what would it be and where would it be from?
Connection Cafe Presentation
Conversation On Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) and Graduate Medical Education (GME) in a Covid World
by Kenneth B. Simons, MD, Sr. Associate Dean, Graduate Medical Education, and Executive Director, Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH)
August 19, 2020
Live Virtual Presentation
4:00 - 5:00 pm CT
Connection Cafe Presentation
Student Mental Health Climate Survey 2020: How are we doing?
by David J. Cipriano, PhD, Director of Student and Resident Behavioral Health, Medical College of Wisconsin
September 17, 2020
Live Virtual Presentation
4:00 - 5:00 pm CT
Grand Rounds Panel Presentation
Navigating Ethical Issues in Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Please join us for a panel presentation and Q&A with members of the MCW Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities including Arthur R. Derse, MD, JDMary E. Homan, DrPH, MA, MSHCEFabrice Jotterand, PhD, and Ryan Spellecy, PhD
September 24, 2020
Live Virtual Presentation
9:00 - 10:00 am CT
Transformational Ideas Initiative
MCW Education Innovation Celebration!

Please join us in celebrating innovative ideas for the transformation of medical education at MCW!

You'll view posters from the 10 teams in our 2019-20 cohort as they implemented their projects this past year, as well as learning about the project plans being implemented this academic year by the 17 teams of our 2020-21 cohort.

Join us on our journey to transform medical education!
October 7, 2020
Live Virtual Presentation
4:00 - 6:00 pm CT
The Kern National Network
Click anywhere on the image to read the KNN's August 2020 Newsletter
Student Essay Contest!

Describe someone you have encountered in the field of medicine who is a character exemplar - what about them and their actions inspires you and your future work?

For definitions of the 24 character strengths, click on the image at the left.
The Kern Institute is excited to launch a character essay contest for medical students across the Kern National Network of medical schools. 

The essay is an opportunity to reflect on what character means to you and what character strengths you’ve seen exhibited in role models. All essays will be used for us to better understand how students view attributes that make someone a character exemplar in medicine.  

A $25 gift card will be awarded to the contest winner. Essays are due August 28th and should be 700 words or less.
Our Patients Need Your Blood!
The pandemic has changed so much about our day-to-day lives, but it certainly hasn’t changed the need for life-saving blood products for our seriously ill patients. 

Current supplies are limited, which impacts our patients with cancer, chronic anemia, and solid organ transplants.   

Give the gift of hope. Our patients need you today! 
MCW COVID-19 Resource Center
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