Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, January 6, 2023

In This Issue:

Director's Corner


Poetry Corner

  • David Nelson: Temperature

Your Turn

Upcoming Events/Announcements

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Director's Corner

Finally Flourishing: A Long Journey to Living the Life She Was Meant to Live  


By Adina Kalet, MD, MPH 


This week Dr. Kalet shares (with permission) what she has learned from witnessing the life journey of a longtime colleague, a physician leader, and a transgender woman ...  


“Like so many trans people I don’t remember a time that I didn’t feel I was the wrong gender,” Joanne said recently, recalling growing up in the 1950s as a quiet, withdrawn, ‘super-confused’ boy. Until one day in sixth grade,” she continued, “I went to the library and found a few books about transexual people.” The image of a prepubescent boy laying on the concrete library floor reading a book flashed in my “mind’s eye.” I could imagine the deep relief she must have felt to put words to the feelings, learning, for the first time that there were others like her out there.   

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Doing Gender- One Red Lipstick at a Time





By Abby M. Haak, MA in Gender and Women’s Studies – Program Manager for the Center for the Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM)



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 examine how I perform, display, or embody the spectrum of masculinity and femininity in my work.” This week, Abby Haak, MA, reflects on that pledge…


If someone sees me without a mask on, chances are one of the first things they will notice is my Red Lipstick. Some shade of red. Red Smolder. Scarlet Red. Red Stiletto. Sizzling Red. This was not always the case, as ten years ago the closest thing I had to lipstick was tinted Carmex lip balm.

When I lost my sister Megan two years ago, I looked for ways to keep her spirit alive. Megan was the sister who would do our makeup for school dances or weddings because she wore a lot (she had over 60 tubes of lipstick) and knew how to apply it well. I still don’t know much about makeup, but I have learned how to apply lipstick and I wear a different shade each day in her memory. I’ve even had to buy my own shades of lipstick now that I’ve used most of hers. Lipstick is often considered feminine and earlier in my life I tried to steer clear of outward displays of femininity. However, the performative nature of gender made it so I could switch to lipstick and still keep my identity in-tact.

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A Vision for the Future: What Would a Design Space Look and Sound Like?


By Lana M. Minshew, PhD, MEd, Assistant Professor, and Director of the Kern Institute Human-Centered Design Lab

How does the physical space and the culture fostered by the individuals who inhabit it influence the creativity and collaboration generated?


Imagine one of the study rooms on MCW’s campus, they are typically small, sometimes windowless rooms with a single table and only 1-2 chairs placed around the table. What is the first thing that pops into your head about these spaces? One may be that these are spaces for quiet, individual, or solitary work and groups larger than two are discouraged. 

The physical space we inhabit influences our mood, productivity, creativity, and even how we interact with others. The space described above may evoke one mindset, whereas a large open space, with lots of natural light, that has dry erase boards on wheels and brightly colored furniture at varying heights that is easily moved about the room evokes a different feeling and mindset.

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A Room With A View: Strategies to Care for Yourself and Use Screens Less When Working From Home


By Michael T. Braun, PhD



In this essay, Dr. Braun considers options for remote work that does not involve staring into a screen…



Recently, at 3:30 in the afternoon, I stumbled (yes, literally stumbled) my way upstairs from my basement where my desk lives these days. I was having trouble focusing my eyes and felt nauseous. What was this? The flu? Yet another cold my children are desperate to spread to me? (My three-year-old son now knows the word “communicable” because I had to explain to him why I keep getting sick after he and his sister are ill.) Thankfully not, but it was another disease: Screen Strain Syndrome. 

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Past Issues


By David Nelson

36 degrees Fahrenheit.


Breathe that stands out.

Feet to stand on – cold.

Concrete to stand on – cold.

It rains, and the feet on the concrete – are cold.

Head, shoulders, arms, waist, legs, wet and cold.

You are out and in need of everything.

Gratitude for those that come along to support.

Holding a sign with shaking hands from the cold.

Breathe or fog – we do not know.


36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Author’s Notes

This day was memorable for all the wrong reasons. There are days in the city that are just glorious. Bluebird days with blue skies and moderate temperatures and a shining sun. Then, there are days like this one. Gray clouds, frosty-just-short-of-freezing air and rain. I do not remember exactly if the forecast predicted a day of the weather, but having been out on the streets doing outreach for many years, I thought it could be just like this all day long. I snapped a picture with my phone of the digital thermometer in the truck while stopping for a coffee up a coffee and it stood out. Only the temperature showed on the digital thermometer. For some reason I thought it might be the same temperature all day long and it turned out to be so. It was going to be a crap weather day.

A recurrent theme of the streets are shoes. Community members walk a lot. It is not unusual to for someone to walk five or six miles on a given day. On outreach, I look at a person’s feet first. The shoes tell me a lot about the person. I can also know their size and if they have feet issues by seeing how they wear their shoes out. Worn heels signify one issue, toe sticking straight up or to the side another issue and so on. The size comes from changing a lot of shoes over the years – the benefit of working in a shoe store for a season.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

Readers share their responses:

What is your new year's resolution?

Here are two of mine: To pack and bring my lunch to work 10 times a month. To pause before responding to people.

– Kathlyn Fletcher, MD, Faculty

I'm going to stop declining help when it's offered. Even if I think I know my solution, sharing my challenges with another person will not only open an opportunity for community and camaraderie, but I think I will have an additional perspective on how to resolve my issue. I had this happen to me yesterday while at the store. A fellow customer observed me looking up an unfamiliar item and offered his assistance. Although I initially was tempted to decline, I said yes. Not only did he help me tremendously, but we talked for over 20 minutes about our mutual hobby and exchanged contact info. To think, I made a new friend when I almost said no thank you.

– Molly Liddell

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

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

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:

Friday, January 6, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

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!

KICS Journal Club with Eloho Ufomata, MD, MS and Sarah Merriam, MD, MS

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.

In January, Drs. Ufomata and Merriam will be discussing working with your national society policy papers. 

Eloho Ufomata is an assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and serves as an advisory dean in the Office of Student affairs. Sarah Merriam is a physician at the VA Pittsburgh and serves as a senior consultant to the VA Office of Women's Health.

January 11, 2023

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM

Live via Zoom

Register Here

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

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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