Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, January 13, 2023

In This Issue:

Director's Corner


Poetry Corner

  • Michael Esson: Midnight Confessions

Your Turn

Upcoming Events/Announcements

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Director's Corner

The Kern Institute Learns to Blow our “Shofar”! 

By Adina Kalet, MD, MPH

In this week’s Director’s Corner, Dr. Kalet describes what she learned about transformational leadership while drinking coffee on a beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea …

The beginning is the most important part of the work.



In December 2018, I traveled to Israel to meet with palliative care physician and medical educator Dr. Dafna Meitar and educational psychologist and philosopher Dr. Daniel Marom. We talked about the Mandel Leadership Institute’s Leadership in Medical Education Program, a sophisticated, unique, year-long, philosophically framed, intensive training they were creating in Jerusalem. We spent a whole day in a café in the coastal city of Herzliya, looking out over the Mediterranean, drinking coffee, eating pita, hummus, and diced salad, and discussing medical education. Ideas flew back and forth. We shared serious ideas, stories, and jokes. We gesticulated wildly. I got a tan and furiously took notes in multiple colors.

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Welcome to Character and Caring: Medical Education Emerges From the Pandemic



By Kathlyn E. Fletcher, MD, MA – Co-Director, GME Pillar of the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute

This essay is excerpted from Dr. Fletcher’s introductory chapter in our new book, Character and Caring: Medical Education Emerges From the Pandemic, published this month. 

The Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education was established in 2017, thanks to a generous grant from the Kern Family Foundation. We focus on changing the way physicians are recruited, educated, trained, and sustained throughout their careers, developing a medical workforce that is grounded in Character, Caring, and Practical Wisdom.

When the pandemic emerged in March 2020, Adina Kalet, MD, MPH, the director of the Kern Institute, asked us to create the weekly Transformational Times newsletter as a means of sustaining connections across campus and, perhaps, across even bigger divides. We endeavored to accomplish that goal by sharing stories, reacting to events, and supporting each other within our diverse group of faculty, staff, and students, and neighbors. As editors, we asked people to explore and write about topics about which they were passionate.

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Taking care, taking charge or both?





By Himanshu Agrawal, MD, MBBS, DF-APA - #IWill enthusiast

The IWill 3.0 Gender-Equity Pledge Campaign begins March 2, 2023 with the AWSM WHM Symposium and the theme, "Broadening Gender Norms – Mitigating Stereotypes.” One potential pledge will be:

“I will look for ways to mitigate gender stereotypes in my job assignments. In ways that I can, I will ensure equal distribution of "taking care roles" and "taking charge roles" across all gender identities.”

This week, Dr. Himanshu Agrawal reflects on that pledge...

Recently, one of my local heroes, Dr. Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Ellinas, introduced me to the notion of ‘taking charge’ as ‘masculine’ and ‘taking care’ as feminine.

My current understanding is that as each and every individual around me has a unique ‘masculine/feminine/non-binary’ profile, similarly, each and every professional role at MCW has a unique ‘taking charge/taking care’ balance.

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Mobile Healthcare – Creating a More Equitable and Accessible Healthcare Landscape


By Vanessa Savage, MHA – Program Manager, Population Health

Popularized during the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile healthcare units were a key strategy to engage patients outside the four walls of a hospital. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin continue to push the boundaries of how mobile healthcare may best meet the unique needs of our patients in the future…



Stephanie Smith, a full-time grocery store cashier and single parent of four, typically puts the needs of her children ahead of her own. When Stephanie notices a small lump on her breast, everything changes with a flurry of questions:   Should she get the lump checked out? Where would she go for that? How can she afford to take time off work, and pay for whatever comes next?

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The Collaboratories Program Expands to Cohort 2.0



By Michael T. Braun, PhD and Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE

Drs. Braun and Ellinas look ahead to the second cohort of the Collaboratories program...


Dr. Adina Kalet, director of the Kern Institute, conceived of the Collaboratories program as a small-grants program that would spur audacious medical education research rooted in caring and character at MCW and at other medical schools around the country. We—Drs. Michael T. Braun and Herodotos Ellinas—have been honored to bring the idea to fruition and serve as stewards of the exceptional work our funded collaboratories have done. Our first cohort of collaboratories included six research teams and one policy paper team.

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Past Issues

Midnight Confessions

By Michael Esson

I got a confession,

A sweet sweet confession,

Sweeter than honey and any other confections,

At the bottom of my glass is my heart,

Floating away out of sight,

Breaking and shattering into pieces right before your eyes,

To heal my broken heart, I put it on ice,

That’s why I’m searching for you all through the night.


I got a confession,

And I’ll tell you with no objections,

At the bottom of my glass are my afflictions,

Sinking deeper and deeper until it disappears, like an illusion.

Sometimes I cry and although it pains me, I know why,

I tried praying, but the demons are right by my side,

And they are always the first to arrive,

That’s why I no longer pray, I would much rather hide.


I got a confession,

You are the only one I trust, my true obsession,

Only you can feel my pain and only you can take my pain away,

But since that’s all I have, please don’t take my pain away.

Author's Note: I think sometimes we all need to have someone we trust to talk to about a deeper part of ourselves in the hopes of healing and growth. These are my confessions.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

Readers share their responses:

Would you rather be without internet or your phone for a whole week?


– Julie Pipke, Staff

Honestly, I would take a week without both. It is quite overwhelming to be accessible 100% of the time no matter how much you try to limit access. Whether or not you choose to answer the call, respond to the text, or acknowledge the notification symbol on the app - you are always accessible.

Tomica Griffin, Staff

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

What is one book you think everyone should read?

Share Your Reflection

Mobile Clinic Design Input Sprints

The Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute at the Medical College of Wisconsin, 

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee are collaborating on a community-centered project design focused on designing two mobile health clinics to serve the greater Milwaukee area. These units are primarily focused on providing community members with services such as mammograms, diabetic retinal exams, and maternal child care.

To create the most effective and community-centered unit design possible, we invite you to participate in a guided conversation and walk-through of the mock-up design. You will be given the opportunity to offer input on design elements, and to ask questions. 

The focused design-input sessions will take place at the site of the prototype unit, inside the Medical College of Wisconsin, in the Medical Education Building (MEB) - Cafeteria Lobby and all are welcome.

Visit in person or register to be part of our design input sessions held at the following times:

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 5:00 – 6:30 pm

Friday, January 20, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Register Here

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.

Letters of Intent for Kern Medical Education Transformation Collaboratories now being Accepted

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting Letters of Intent for the second cohort of Medical Education Transformation Collaboratories, a research funding opportunity for audacious ideas to transform medical education. Funded by the Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education at the Medical College of Wisconsin, this grant opportunity provides funding and a community of practice for transforming medical education through the values of caring, character, and competence. Please see the attached Request for Proposals for full details and submission instructions. 

Letters of Intent are due Friday, January 13, 2023. All letters will be reviewed, and all will receive feedback. 

Full proposals are due Friday, March 31, 2023. Funding decisions will be announced by Friday, May 19, 2023.

Funding begins July 1, 2023. 

Read Request for Proposals

Please Join Us!

Kern Institute Grand Rounds: The Four Pillars of Well-being: A Scientific Framework for the Cultivation of Human Flourishing

Can mental training actively influence our level of well-being? Research suggests that even small amounts of meditation can lead to important outcomes for our mental and physical health, as well as our success at work and in relationships. In this live talk, Cortland Dahl will share a groundbreaking scientific model that highlights four pillars of well-being — awareness, connection, insight, and purpose — as well as practical strategies for applying them in daily life.

 February 9, 2023

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Hybrid Event: Join via Zoom or in Person

MEB – M1540 - Kerrigan Auditorium

Register Here

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

Developing Medical Educators of the 21st Century

Join us for the 5th Developing Medical Educators of the 21st Century course in San Francisco! We are back with an in-person course, focused on supporting medical educators to engage in transformational change during challenging times. How do we create equitable, inclusive and welcoming learning environments for all?  How do we foster a growth mindset among our learners so they become effective life-long learners? How do we ensure the wellbeing of our learners while also maintaining our own? These and other topics will be addressed in a variety of formats, including plenary sessions by renowned educators, skill-building workshops, consultations with experts, and engaging lunch-time discussions. Participants will have opportunities to network with others and create actionable plans to take home to their own institutions. A group discount will be available for teams from one institution. 


This 3-day intensive course, organized in collaboration with the Kern National Network for Caring and Character in Medicine, targets medical educators from undergraduate and graduate medical education seeking to develop or improve skills in teaching and educational program design. Flexible programming allows participants to select sessions aligned with their interest and experience level. 

February 13-15, 2023

Golden Gateway Holiday Inn, San Francisco

Register Here

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, Erin Weileder, Nabil Attlassy, Julia Bosco, Ana Istrate, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen Peterson,  Anna Visser, James Wu & Emelyn Zaworski

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