Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, January 20, 2023

In This Issue:

Guest Director's Corner

Take Three

-What is one thing that you hope for in 2023?

-What is your new year's resolution?

-What do you see as an example of the "new normal" in our world?

Poetry Corner

  • The Year, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Your Turn

Upcoming Events/Announcements

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Guest Director's Corner

There is no Success Alone

By Cassie Ferguson, MD

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." – Michael Jordan

For six of the seven years that the Children’s Specialty Group has held a Halloween costume contest at Children’s Wisconsin, the Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine has either won first place or been in the top three (we don't count the year we were allegedly disqualified). This success is not by accident. Every year, months in advance, we vote on a theme and then each of us—faculty and staff—works on putting together our individual costume such that it fits into the theme. As an often overlooked and perhaps maligned department of the hospital (hey—we don’t like to call you to consult at 0300 either), winning this contest has become a source of pride for us, primarily because we do it together.

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Take Three: Optimism and Community



By Sondra Zabar, MD- Professor of Medicine, Director for the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation, NYU School of Medicine

Transformational Times: What has being a physician during the pandemic taught you about medicine, and navigating the unknown?

During the pandemic, we were living history. I found this a unique and humbling experience. In contrast, when was a resident in the early 1990s, I thought we knew everything about the medical management of HIV (antiretroviral treatment had just emerged) and I was learning about the new treatments for diabetes as they were becoming available. Somehow those advances did not seem so dramatic or unknown. We became used to assuming that advances would come steadily. Living through COVID was a really different experience. We were innovating daily in the face of many unknowns. The facts on the ground were changing constantly. This was hard for patients, the health care team, and our systems.

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Take Three: Reconnect, Travel and Zoom



By Amy Zosel, MD,MSCS – Associate Professor, Interim Division Chief, Medical Toxicology

Transformational Times: What is one thing that you hope for when you think about 2023? Why?

In 2023, I hope for opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. As front-line health care providers, we were asked to ramp up our work, and pour time and energy into solving new problems. There were extra planning meetings and task forces to develop COVID-related clinical pathways and creatively move education to online platforms. While people in other sectors found time to pursue baking sourdough and playing board games, we were busier than normal.


Many of us were also trying to figure out how to do online school at home with our kids. As this business dissipates, my hope is to spend more quality time connecting face-to-face with loved ones. I am especially looking forward to travel this year.

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Take Three: Connection and Change



By David Nelson, PhD, MS – Professor, Family and Community Medicine

Transformational Times: What is one thing that you hope for when you think about 2023? Why?

I hope to have stronger connections with colleagues, students, and the community in 2023. We all recognize the current health inequities and know there are limitations to lessening these inequities. For example, we often stop under a bridge on a busy street when taking colleagues, students, and early career workforce out on the streets. We observe the orange needle caps, and if we were to count, there would be at least twenty. We walk up a steep embankment and look at the remnants of being unhoused – bottles and bags, socks and underwear, more needles, and a dirty cushion to sit or lay on to get some rest.

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Take Three: Stories and Reflection



By Marc Drake, MD – PGY3, Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences

Transformational Times: What is your new year's resolution?

I have always loved a good story. As a child, I devoured whatever movies and books I could get my hands on. Family holidays revolved around whoever could garner the most laughs and command the room's attention, and . I learned early the power of a well-told story possessed: the ability to bring people together, to impart traditions, to educate. 

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Take Three: Continue Taking First Steps



By Linda Nwumeh, MCW Medical Student

Transformational Times: What is your new year's resolution?

To most people, this phrase is another tired platitude said reflexively in response to an expression of hardship. But I find it extremely motivating as I pursue my resolution for 2023: Continue taking first steps.

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Take Three: Time to Travel



By Tony Braza, MCW Communication Consultant

Transformational Times: What is your new year's resolution?

My wife Jen and I love to travel, but for the past few years, the look and feel of our trips were altered. First, there was no traveling.

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Take Three: Never Enough Time



By Bryan Johnston, MD – Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine

Transformational Times: What is your new year's resolution?

My new normal—and I doubt I’m alone here—is that there’s never enough time. When you don’t have enough time, it becomes a struggle to be the way you want for your family, your patients, your learners, and yourself. Something is always losing out. In short, it’s not a very satisfying way to live. 

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The Year

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What can be said in New Year rhymes,

That's not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,

We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,

We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,

We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,

We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,

And that's the burden of the year.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

Readers share their responses:

What is one book you think everyone should read?

The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee

– Nicolas Fletcher, MD

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

It's a multigenerational family saga opening in 1900s Korea where young, pregnant Sunja, fleeing to Japan by marrying a kind Korean missionary, is thrown into the harsh squalor Koreans had to endure while living in a country that abhorred them and had absolute power over them (Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945). Pachinko gives a beautifully haunting portrayal of this painful era of Asian history, but mostly I love how it's a story of unimaginable sacrifice as a family struggles to keep its own close, which is both its strength and detriment. I saw those same themes in my Chinese family who lived through the Communist revolution. I read this on the plane and cried.

Amber Bo, Medical Student

Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl

An absolutely profound book that describes feelings that many medical trainees feel.

Daniel Bor, Medical Student

City of Joy, by Dominique LaPierre

This compelling anthropological novel that covers a wide range of cultures, religions, socio-economics statuses, and perspectives. It is a beautiful story about hardship, community, and humanity.

The story takes place in Calcutta, India, and it is from the perspective of 3 different narrators: Father Stephan Kovalski, a minister that chooses to live in the slums; Hasari Pal, a rural farmer focused to move to Calcutta to find work because of the recent drought; and Max Lowe, an American doctor seeking enlightenment.

Chelsea Rowley, Staff

Between Grit and Grace: The Art of Being Feminine and Formidable, by Sasha K. Shillcutt

This compelling anthropological novel that covers a wide range of cultures, religions, socio-economics statuses, and perspectives. It is a beautiful story about hardship, community, and humanity.

The story takes place in Calcutta, India, and it is from the perspective of 3 different narrators: Father Stephan Kovalski, a minister that chooses to live in the slums; Hasari Pal, a rural farmer focused to move to Calcutta to find work because of the recent drought; and Max Lowe, an American doctor seeking enlightenment.

Chelsea Willie, MD, Faculty

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Both are a must read, to challenge our perspective, empathy, and activism.

– Jennifer Foley, Staff

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks walks the reader through themes of racism, medical rights, family, and the intersection of all three. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who died of cervical cancer and unknowingly left behind cells that would prove to be invaluable to medical research. However, her family only discovers that her cells have led to countless medical discoveries decades later. The book explores how this was ethically possible and the role that Henrietta's race played well beyond her passing.

– Kristine Burke, Staff

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

– Niki Karp, Staff

Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

– Mandy Kastner, Staff

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

What was your most successful New Year's Resolution?

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.

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.

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. Check out Dr. Courtland's course The Art and Science of Human Flourishing and recent article "The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing".

 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, Karen Herzog, Justine Espisito, Nabil Attlassy, Julia Bosco, Ana Istrate, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen Peterson,  Anna Visser, James Wu & Emelyn Zaworski

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