Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, February 17, 2023

In This Issue:

Guest Director's Corner

Linda Nwumeh, M2: MCW Responds: What We Love About Our Partners

Love in the time of Medicine

IWill 3.0

Poetry Corner

  • Chasing Butterflies, by Michael Esson

Upcoming Events/Announcements

"For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it.

If only we're brave enough to be it."

-Amanda Gorman "The Hill We Climb"

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Guest Director's Corner

MCW Responds: What We Love About Our Partners

By Linda Nwumeh, M2

In this piece, Ms. Nwumeh outlines poignant themes and notable responses arising from the Transformational Time’s Valentine’s Poll…


First of all, we would like to sincerely express our appreciation to all who completed the recent Valentine’s Poll! With 43 heartfelt responses spread out across students, faculty, and staff to the question asking which character strength or trait they valued most in their partner and why, love appears to be in the air at MCW.

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Do Love Letters Still Matter?

By Eileen Peterson, M4

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “love letters?” Do you think of sappy, gushy, over-the-top confessions of love? Do you picture a simple question like “Do you like me?” written on loose-leaf paper? Maybe there are hearts doodled in the margins. Do you think of eloquent sonnets written long before our time? Or do you laugh and shake your head that all of this is silly anyway?

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Classmates to Soulmates

By Joe Novak, MD and Hilary Steltenpohl, MD

In honor of Valentine's Day, Dr. Joe Novak and Dr. Hilary Steltenpohl share their story of classmates to soulmates on the MCW-Central Wisconsin campus…

Love happens in the moments we least expect it. If you would have asked the two of us before starting medical school, “Are you looking for love?” we both would have given you an inquisitive look. It had already been a journey to be accepted into medical school, as we both are first-generation college students with humble upbringings. To let a relationship be a distraction from our career goals seemed incomprehensible. But those initial thoughts could not have been more wrong. The most important lessons we have learned ultimately did not come from a classroom, a textbook, or a lecture, but from the connection of life and love.

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A Match made in... Med School?


By Haley (Pysick) Carlson, MD and Samuel Carlson, MD

Keep your friends close, and your significant other closer; the story of two classmates-turned-love birds as they walked hand-in-hand through the trials and tribulations of medical school and beyond. 


In the beginning… 

We met on a cold April day during the ‘Second Look Day’ at Medical College of Wisconsin. Haley was there with her mother, Cheryl, and Sam was there alone. Funny enough, one of the first things that stood out between the two of us were our footwear - Haley had black loafers with big pearls on the heel, Sam was wearing rainbow socks. At one point, Sam tried to talk to Haley but Haley was distracted and led Sam to believe she was ignoring him. What a first impression! In a matter of a few months, we would soon be thrust into a small class in a small city in beautiful, rural, Central Wisconsin together.  

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DOSE: How students can support students at MCW


By Chase Walker LaRue, M4 and Emmy Lambert, M2

D.O.S.E. (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Encouragement), formally You Matter, Here’s Why, was started to help students stay connected and appreciate one another during COVID-19 and the subsequent isolation of 2020. Now, with a new name and an evolved mission – D.O.S.E. strives to provide a positive space for the MCW family to share messages of love, support, gratitude, or affirmation with one another without the worry of identifying themselves. Since our start, we have sent over 600 messages of support and affirmation, we asked more questions about the impact of these messages, and we broadened the reach and connection that we can have to others. We found that the benefit of these messages is not just when they are received, but that people also feel gratitude and improved mood when sending them.

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The Couples Match Take 3


By Alexandra Kershner, M2 and Andrew Sepiol, M2

Ever wonder what it would be like to couples’ match? What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of the process? Here is our perspective on our experience, and some advice that hopefully can be helpful to you! As a couple are trying to match into OBGYN (Alex) and Internal medicine with the possibility of doing fellowship (Andrew).

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IWill 3.0

Performative Masculinity: A Reflection on Learned Behavior


By S. Wolf Pulsiano, M3

Gender norms are social and cultural attitudes and expectations about behaviors, products, or professions, that are appropriate for individuals based on their gender identity. The IWill 3.0 Gender-Equity Pledge Campaign begins in March 2023 with the theme, "Broadening Gender Norms – Mitigating Stereotypes.” One of the potential pledges will be: “I Will examine how I perform, display, or embody the spectrum of masculinity and femininity in my work.” 

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Chasing Butterflies

By Michael Esson, M2

you cast a spell under a shooting star,

and left me enchanted under the moonlight,

oceans between, but it has always been you.

 in the prism of your deep brown eyes, sparks flew,

 a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, blue,

all pale next to you.


your sundress caressed my soul,

and melted my frozen sorrows,

spun me around and around, breathless,

belly full of butterflies, madness.


 i could never forget your endless smile,         

etched in my memories for eternity,

or the words that flowed off your lips, like a river of honey and milk.

in the ocean of your beauty, i drowned,

sinking deeper and deeper, as the waves rose higher and higher.


but nothing compares to the time i held you,

bringing you closer and closer,

the moment i will forever choose.

heaven is not a place, it’s wherever you are,

here’s my heart, which now belongs to you,

hold it with care,

because- I love you.


Michael Esson is a second-year medical student at MCW-MKE with a passion for contributing to refugee communities locally and abroad. He believes in the healing and transforming powers of stories shared through poems. His hope is to continue to write poems and, in the process, grow and heal anew.


Submit a Poem for Next Week

For this week's reflection prompt, please answer the following question:

Is there someone in your life you are feeling particularly grateful for this month? What would you want them to know in a Valentine ‘love’ note? 

Share Your Reflection

Please Join Us!

Kern Institute Connection Cafe: Diagnostic Dilemma – A Case-Based Exercise

Gurpreet Dhaliwal, MD is a clinician-educator and Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He sees patients and teaches medical students and residents in the emergency department, inpatient wards, and outpatient clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where he directs the internal medicine clerkship.

In this session, Dr. Dhaliwal will be presented with an unknown case, which he will analyze in real-time with a focus on reasoning and communication with a multidisciplinary team.

February 24, 2023

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Hybrid Event: Join via Zoom or in Person

MEB – M1540 - Kerrigan Auditorium

Register Here

Please Join Us!

Kern Institute Connection Cafe: Growth Mindset in a Fixed Mindset Culture

Despite growth mindset’s benefits to learning and well-being, curricula and learning environments espousing the fixed mindset continue to dominate. Participants will learn about the benefits of growth mindset and resistance to its implementation from both a practical and philosophic perspective. 

Dr. James N. Woodruff is the Dean of Students for the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. In this role, he supports medical students in their professional development, specialty selection and residency application. A graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Woodruff completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency in the department of medicine at the University of Chicago. His 8-year tenure as director of the internal medicine residency program and 6-year tenure as the Department of Medicine’s vice chair for education provide him with broad perspective on the medical training pathway.

March 2, 2023

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Hybrid Event: Join via Zoom or in Person

HUB - A5520/A5628

Register Here

MedMoth Storytelling Workshop


Featuring Milwaukee’s Ex Fabula, an organization that builds community through storytelling, this workshop will include low-pressure, interactive activities led by experienced storytelling coaches. Be part of this great opportunity to increase your confidence and craft your own story to share at the spring MedMoth event.

February 23, 2023

6:00-8:00 pm

HUB A1015/A1035

Register Here

Join us for a live storytelling event with MCW Students, Residents, Fellows, Faculty, & Staff

Come share your own story or listen to other narratives and celebrate the commonality of the human experience! Register to be a Storyteller below!


Please join us on Thursday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. for MedMoth: A Storytelling Reflection on Medicine. The event will be hosted in person in MCW's Alumni Center.


Listen to stories by faculty, staff, residents, fellows, and students as they share their own true experiences in the world of medicine. Inspired by The Moth, this event will entail authentic storytelling and will be an enlightening audience experience that you won't want to miss.

March 23, 2023

6:30 pm

MCW Alumni Center

Register to be a Storyteller at MedMoth
Register to Attend MedMoth

Get ready to Apply to the KINETIC3 Program!


Are you interested in directing a medical school course in the future? Do you want to learn about active learning techniques for the foundational sciences? Do you want to build character education into your current teaching? Are you looking to improve your teaching skills at the bedside? 

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you should apply to the KINETIC3 program!


The program is entering its sixth year at the Medical College of Wisconsin and has produced 138 graduates. Our program is open to any MCW faculty, staff, advanced practice provider, student, resident, or fellow interested in advancing their skills in medical education. 


We will be holding virtual informational sessions on:

·       March 8th from 12-12:30pm,  

·       March 10th from 11-11:30am,  

·       March 15th from 12:30-1pm,  

·       March 23rd from 12-12:30pm, or  

·       March 27th from 12:30-1pm  

·       ALL VIRTUAL ON MS TEAMS. Please email for a calendar invite.  


Get ready to apply! We will open applications for our Excellence in Teaching Track on March 1, 2023 and we will close applications on March 31, 2023.


If you have any questions about the program, please don't hesitate to contact us at For more information please check out our website here. We look forward to your application!

Join a campus-wide educators’ community read of Thanks for the Feedback, by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen 

As a key component of the new MCWfusion Curriculum set to launch in July 2023, we will discuss strategies for preparing for, seeking, understanding, and applying feedback – and consider how we might help our students develop these skills as part of their personal and professional development. This book is full of practical tips that we can also adapt in our own practices of giving and receiving feedback. 

As we understand how busy everyone is, we plan to offer several different ways to interact as a community in book discussions – including asynchronous/online discussions, virtual sessions, and shared reflective writing. Everyone who signs up for this will receive invitations to participate using all methods. While these are not mandatory, we hope that the output of these community discussions will enhance our shared understanding of the topic and lead to enhancement of our MCW learning environments. 

We have many print copies of the book available to use throughout the Spring 2023 semester – though we will ask all of you who receive a book from us to gift it back to an incoming MCWfusion student with a message welcoming them to our community in July 2023, so they can begin their work to develop this skill. Please complete this Qualtrics survey if you are interested in participating and would like a book supplied to you. 

The read is also available on Audible if you’d like to purchase the audio version on your own. Here is a sneak peek as found on Amazon.

Please contact Marty Muntz with any questions.

Read Request for Proposals

IWill 3.0 Will Begin in March 2023

AWSM is excited to kick off IWill 3.0 in March 2023 as we host the AWSM Women's History Month Symposium. Our event includes our three speakers as well as a research poster presentation with awards! Learn more about submitting your poster abstract to our scientific session!

Read the January 5 Issue 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, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen Peterson,  Anna Visser, James Wu & Emelyn Zaworski

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