Transformational Times
Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community
Friday, March 11, 2022
In This Two-Year Anniversary Issue:
Director's Corner


Take 3

Outside Links

Poetry Corner
Your Turn

Upcoming Events/Announcements
Director's Corner

Post-Pandemic Life is Precarious, but We Aren't Going Anywhere

By Adina Kalet, MD, MPH

In this week’s Director’s Corner, Dr. Kalet marks the second anniversary of the Transformational Times with an exploration of lessons from a fictional pandemic world that tells us about ourselves and how to remain optimistic in the coming days …

Twenty years after the fictional Georgia Flu Pandemic, only small bands of humans are left on Earth. How these people survive, adapt, and rebuild is the premise of the magnificent HBO miniseries, Station Eleven. The show is based on the award-winning 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel which was written well before our very own non-fictional pandemic.
I read Station Eleven in March 2020, on the recommendation of a colleague (Thanks, Jake Prunuske, MD of MCW-Central Wisconsin!) who had picked it up in an airport bookshop, ironic since a Michigan airport figures prominently in the story. The lessons continue to ring true.

“We Ask for Your Help”: Reflections on Asking Medical Students to Graduate Early to Serve in the Pandemic

By Linda Tewksbury, MD, MPHE; Lynn Buckvar-Keltz, MD; Molly Poag, MD and Victoria Harnik, PhD

Reflecting on an email sent to their M4 medical students on March 24, 2020, Drs. Tewksbury, Poag, Buckvar-Keltz, and Harnik—educational deans and directors at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine—share their experiences of asking senior medical students to consider graduating early and serving in a “COVID Army” in the early days of the pandemic …

This is the email we sent to the NYU M4 students in March 2020:
Dear Class of 2020,
With the growing spread of COVID-19, our hospitals inundated with patients and our colleagues on the front lines working extra-long hours, we are still short-staffed in emergency and internal medicine. Burnout of our doctors has become a growing concern.
We ask for your help. The medical school and the university have agreed to permit early graduation for students who agree to begin working as an intern now. This is consistent with a national discussion regarding the early graduation of eligible medical students so they can join the healthcare workforce prior to the typical July 1 starting date.

“Apathy, Ignorance, and Intimacy”

By Christopher S. Davis, MD, MPH and Kate Stark

A few weeks ago, we were asked to write about what we have learned from the pandemic in the sense of what surprised us, what has or has not changed, what we need to do to be ready for next time, what sticks with us, etc.; in essence, to distill a collective reflection of the past two years of pandemic life in the 21st century into a short essay. Ok. On it…
As Kate and I reflected there was a clear theme leading to failure in response to the pandemic pointing to both disinformation and societal ignorance. Although the recipe for success to combat the pandemic was understood and proven over a century ago, the contemporary hole dug by unchecked, unverified, and purposefully fueled conspiracies, myths, and fears has led to the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Read that again. This is a FACT, now needlessly and sadly verified by THE FACTS, of which the course was entirely known and predicted by physicians, scientists, and public health professionals in even the first few days of the pandemic. In that context I have no way to explain (i.e., excuse) the failure of the will to preserve human life other than blatant apathy and/or ignorance to the human condition of suffering (where greed fits into this I have yet to place – but I would suggest that apathy is a pre-requisite of greed).

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end”

By Joan Weiss

Joan Weiss, recently retired Program Manager for the Kern Institute, reflects on the last two years…

Two years ago this month, we saw the first haunting images flash across our tv screens as we listened to the reports that conveyed the pandemic had begun its spread across the globe. Every corner of the world was impacted leaving us feeling shocked, confused, and helpless. All that changed when masks were found to be one of the most effective tools at deterring the transmission of the virus. Enter Rebel Converting, the Saukville-based manufacturer of hospital-grade disinfectant wipes. Upon learning that there was a shortage of PPE, they devised a way to make masks at home from the same material used to make their wipes. Rebel made a commitment to provide all of the materials necessary to get masks into the community, we just needed to find the volunteers. Without hesitation, volunteers from MCW, Children’s Wisconsin, Froedtert Wisconsin, and the community rose to the challenge resulting in millions of masks being provided to clinics, social services agencies, essential workers, and the homeless. Student volunteers delivered them across the city and to our surrounding communities, all while using their own vehicles and refusing to accept any compensation for fuel. I had never before witnessed such courage, commitment, and cooperation.

Students of Medicine

By Andrew Kastenmeier, MD

“I apologize for the brevity of this message, but I wanted to disseminate this information as quickly and clearly as possible.”

This was the first line of a message that I wrote to the surgery clerkship students on March 13, 2020. Reading this message 2 years later transported me back, and I could sense the uneasiness that I felt at that time welling up. At the start of each surgery clerkship, I explain to the students that I want their experience to be challenging. However, I would never have expected or wished for the challenges that arose in early 2020. It has only been 2 years, but I had already forgotten the context of our lives and the uncertainty that existed on that date. There were not yet any recommendations regarding masks, and in fact there was such a shortage of masks that most of the public could not get one even if they wanted. COVID testing had been around for about a month and was not widely available, there were no restrictions on gathering in groups, and neither treatments nor vaccines were on our radar yet.
Take 3 with Jennifer Popies

It's been two years with COVID in the CVICU

Jennifer Popies, MS, RN, CCRN-K AGACNP-BC, ACNS-BC, is a clinical nurse specialist in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Froedtert Hospital, and reflects upon the early days of the COVID, as well as new habits and wishes she will bring forward as we emerge from the pandemic.  She recently connected with Wendy Peltier, MD, co-editor of the Transformational Times...

Ms. Popies answers the following questions:

  • Looking back on the early days of the pandemic, what was one of your biggest challenges as a leader?
  • What is an important lesson that COVID has taught you?
  • Is there a new habit you have developed, personally or professionally, that you will carry forward?

Take 3 with the Transformational Times Editorial Board

On the 2nd Anniversary of Transformational Times, Adina Kalet, MD, MPH, Director of the Kern Institute; Bruce Campbell, MD, FACS, Editor-in-Chief; Wendy Peltier, MD and Kathlyn Fletcher, MD, Editorial Board members; Erin Weileder, Managing Editor and Eileen Peterson, student member of the editorial board reflect on the last two years of Transformational Times and COVID-19…

The group answers the following questions:

  • What do you find unique about the Transformational Times?
  • Why do you think we've been able to keep it going for two years?
  • Have you developed a new habit during the pandemic that you will carry forward?
  • Would you recommend service to the T. Times Editorial Board to others, and why?
by Julie Sheldon

Some of us must stay at home
And not go out the door
Some of us are working
Like we’ve never worked before

Some of us are falling out
With siblings, Dads, and Mothers
Some of us are reaching out
And looking after others

Some of us are keeping busy
Doing lots of jobs
Some of us have given up……
We’re turning into slobs

Some of us are playing games
And learning brand new hobbies
Some of us are still ‘no good’
And watching out for Bobbies

Some of us have lots of friends
To text with and to phone
Some of us have no one
And feel that we’re alone

Some of us feel positive
And think that we’re in charge
Some of us feel anxious
And fear the world at large

Some of us have footpaths
To cycle, walk, and jog
Some of us have nowhere nice
To even walk the dog

Some of us are welcoming
New babies being born
Some of us have lost loved ones
And cannot truly mourn

None of us will ever know
What’s really going on
None of us will think the same
When all of this is done

All of us can choose to spend
Our days in fear and dread…..BUT
All of us can choose to plan
For better days ahead
What Has COVID Taught you?
Words from our readers...
For this week's reflection prompt, please answer the following question:

What is your favorite mobile app and why?

Many individuals have expressed desire to support humanitarian relief in Ukraine. If you wish to support humanitarian efforts for the people of Ukraine, the Office of Global Health has endorsed an on-the-ground organization Razom for Ukraine. Here are some additional organizations that have established relief efforts underway currently:

MCW does not solicit for, advocate or endorse any particular aid organization, and employees are responsible to select organizations to support.
Register Now
A Tale of Two Pedagogies: Will Pathology Education Ever Be the Same?
Presented by Kamran M. Mirza, MD, PhD

The Department of Pathology is pleased to present a Grand Rounds presentation today, March 11, 2022, from 12:00 - 1:00 PM via WebEx.

Dr. Mirza will be discussing social media as a mechanism for (pathology) education, how to knowledge to create new modes for teaching in practice, and using as a supplemental tool in pathology electives.

March 11, 2022
12:00 - 1:00 PM
Virtual via WebEx
The Unfit Brain and the Limits of Moral Bioenhancement
By Fabrice Jotterand, PhD

This important and timely book fills a gap in the literature to inform the scientific and medical community, and society at large, on the potential use of moral bioenhancement techniques in clinical psychiatry. The book offers a critical examination of the neuroscientific realities of altering or manipulating moral behavior through technological means and argues that more conceptual work is required before potential implementation in clinical practice.
Register Now
March Kern Grand Rounds:The Hidden Impact of Segregation and How it Contributes to Healthcare Disparities in Metro Milwaukee
presented by Reggie Jackson

This presentation will take a look at how government and private sector institutions created segregated spaces in metro Milwaukee and how those policies and practices have contributed to the current long-term health care disparities in the African American community which make Milwaukee one of the least healthy places in the country to live.

March 17, 2022
Zoom Presentation
9:00 - 10:00 am CT  

Please complete this anonymous survey on what an antiracist medical school curriculum might look like at MCW

We have designed a short survey for both students and teaching faculty. It should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. The data will be combined with data from the Design Sprint held on January 20, 2022. Your voice matters. The more perspectives, the better!
Follow the QR code or use the button below to fill out the survey.

The survey closes on March 19, 2022. 

Register Now
March Kern Connection Cafe: A Letter to my Future Self...
Moderated by Cassie Ferguson, MD

Come hear our graduating students read and reflect on letters they wrote to themselves nearly three years ago at the end of their REACH curriculum. What character strengths did they hope would guide their actions moving forward? What were they grateful for? What brought them joy? What kind of doctor did they want to become?
So much has changed for these student doctors since writing those letters. How have the values they wrote about then helped them to navigate the unprecedented changes that have marked the last three years? And what can we learn from their reflections that will help us to support the character and professional development of all of our students? 

March 24, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
4:00 - 5:00 pm CT  
March Kaleidoscope
Ni de Aquí, Ni de Allá: The Bicultural Latinx Experience in Medicine 

Generational differences exist among individuals within the Latinx community. Many Latinx individuals straddle two worlds, trying to navigate their bicultural identity and find their sense of belonging. Please join us as we discuss what a Latinx bicultural identity is, explore the experiences and challenges faced by bicultural Latinx individuals in medicine, and discuss the importance of recognizing biases and preconceived notions to establish a safe space and build community.

March 24, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
12:00 - 1:00 pm CT  

Join AWSM on March 31, 2022 for the following sessions:

  • 12:00 pm: Administrative Professionals – Past, Present, & Future 
  • 2:00 pm: Strategies to Increase Your Publishing Success & Accelerate Promotion in Academic Medicine with Julie Silver, MD  
  • 4:00 pm: How to Make Science More Exciting and Accessible: Creating Compelling Scientific Figures and Graphs with Laura Flores, MD-PhD candidate 
March 31, 2022
Zoom Presentation
12:00 pm CT  

Call for Submissions for 2022 KNN Conference

Faculty, staff and learners at KNN founding member schools are invited to submit a proposal for various presentation types and a poster session at the 2022 KNN Conference.

The theme is "Connect, Convene, Catalyze Toward Flourishing" and submissions should emphasize caring, character, practical wisdom and/or human flourishing in medicine.

Submissions are due before Midnight PT on April 1, 2022.

The Kern KINETICTeaching Academy is Recruiting for the
2022-2023/4 Cohorts

The Kern Institute’s KINETIC3 Teaching Academy is a professional enrichment program to support thriving, confident educators across the health professions by integrating the 3C’s of character, caring, and competence with a deep understanding of effective pedagogy. In this, we aim to foster a regional and national network of professionals who, collectively, will transform medical education.

All faculty, APPs, staff, senior residents and fellows are encouraged to apply! 
The Excellence in Teaching Track (EiT) 2022-2023 
  • Year-Long Track
  • Equip Participants with teaching skills for the classroom and/or bedside
  • Our core 3Cs curriculum (Character, Caring, Competence)
  • Interactive curriculum through monthly workshops
  • Teaching observations, in which experienced coaches will identify in real-time opportunities to strengthen teaching skills and provide constructive feedback
  • Creation of a professional Teaching Portfolio

The Medical Education Research (MER) Track 2022-2024
  • Two-year long track
  • Goal to develop skills in educational scholarship and pedagogy
  • Participants will produce a medical education capstone project
  • Guided by structures educational research and human-centered design curriculum with the support of a mentor
  • Delivered in day-long boot camps
  • Complimented with rotating monthly writing circles to provide time focused on capstone work

Applications are OPEN and are due on March 31, 2022 by midnight

Do you have more questions about KINETIC3?

Four lunchtime information sessions will be held for anyone interested in applying but may still have questions. These sessions will be held from 12:00 - 12:30 pm via Zoom on:
  • March 8
  • March 10
  • March 16
  • March 22 

Email Vivian Dondlinger or to register and receive an Outlook calendar invitation for the session you would like to attend.
Register Now
2022 Well-Being Summit: Inhale, Exhale, and Engage: Harnessing Happiness, Joy, & Resilience in Healthcare
Proudly Sponsored by the Kern Institute

Please join us for the 2022 Well-Being Summit!
David Weill, MD, author of the book Exhale: Hope, Healing, and a Life in Transplant will be providing the keynote address on the topic of burnout.
This event is open to all and anyone interested is welcome and encouraged to attend.

April 5, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
9:00 am - 12:00 pm CT  

Please email Venus Coates with any questions.
Register Now
April Kern Connection Cafe: Finding Joy, Resilience and Character: My Medical Education Journey
With panelists Hallie Tolo, Morgan Ashley Craft, Sarah Torres and Peter Nguyen
Moderated by Malika Siker, MD

From serendipitous encounters to unexpected challenges, the path to becoming a physician is unique for each of our learners. While our students face academic rigors and clinical demands, they also find deep purpose and wonder in the pursuit of healing humankind. Join us as we hear how four of our M4 learners forged their resilience, built their character, and found joy during their journey in medical education, followed by a Q&A where they share their secrets to success.

April 14, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
4:00 - 5:00 pm CT  
Register Now
2022 Understanding Medical Professional Identity and Character Development Symposium

Join us for the second annual Understanding Medical Professional Identity and Character Development symposium. This year's half-day event will be held virtually on April 22, 2022. We will welcome keynote speaker Dr. Tasha Wyatt of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and also host workshops and discussion groups on major topics on PIF and character development. 
April 22, 2022
9:00 am - 2:00 pm CT  

Please email Michael Braun or Penelope Lusk with any questions.
Register Now
2022 Summit on Advancing Equity in the Learning Environment

Please join us to explore, discuss and align our efforts in equity-focused initiatives in the learning environment! The summit will highlight how MCW incorporates equity into the learning environment while examining four areas: (1) Curriculum (2) Equitable Assessment and Mitigating Bias (3) Learning Environment Culture and (4) Equity in Research Education.
April 28, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
9:00 am - 1:00 pm CT  
Please email Devarati Syam or Malika Siker with any questions.
Register Now
Curriculum Planning Virtual Retreat

The Curriculum Innovation team invites you to register for a virtual half-day retreat on Monday, May 2, from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. We invite all faculty, staff and students to attend and share feedback on some of the curricular models. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. We hope you'll join us!

May 2, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
8:00 am - 12:00 pm CT  

Register Now
Faculty Development Day: Thriving at All Stages of Your Career

The Office of Faculty Affairs is thrilled to host an all virtual Faculty Development Day: Thriving At All Stages of Your Career. This annual one-day event provides resources to enhance overall faculty professional development in a variety of areas, with a special keynote address at noon.

Many Kern Institute faculty are contributing to sessions at this event, with Dr. Adina Kalet facilitating a Mentoring Intensive Workshop. Registration for this Workshop is limited and only open through the end of March.

May 12, 2022
Virtual via Zoom
8:00 am - 5:00 pm CT  

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