Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, March 24, 2023

In This Issue:

Guest Director's Corner

Podcast Launch

Friends of the Kern Institute

Poetry Corner

  • Spring, The Sky Rippled With Geese, Ted Kooser
  • What podcast do you recommend?
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Guest Director's Corner

The Kern Institute Launches Podcast, Medical Education Matters

By Michael Braun, PhD

In this guest director’s corner Dr. Braun announces the launch of the Kern Institute podcast

“Medical Education Matters” and discusses the hopes that this will enhance our ability to communicate with all the stakeholders in our community as we work to transform medical education.

Greetings from Kern Institute podcasters Michael T. Braun, Jeff Amundson, Anita Bublik-Anderson, and Herodotos Ellinas.

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Podcast Launch

Our Biggest Podcasting Influences


By Jeff Amundson, PhD, Michael T. Braun, PhD, Anita Bublik-Anderson MD, and Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE

Nobody podcasts in a vacuum, though do check out the show This Really Sucks if you want to get into vacuum-related podcasting. In this piece, we pay tribute to the folks hosting podcasts, radio shows, and TV shows who shape our approach to podcasting...

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Friends of the Kern Institute

Addressing Food Insecurity at MCW-CW

By Christopher Knight, MA

Food insecurity is real, including for some of our students. It is time to make sure these conversations are no longer in hushed tones, and that no one goes hungry...

I do not trust skinny chefs. One look at me and you get it. And if I am going to be completely honest, I am a bit of a food-pusher, too, surrounded by mothers on this campus who express their love language in gastronomic terms (Dean Dodson and most of our staff, from Campus Administrator on down).

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Spring, The Sky Rippled With Geese

By Ted Kooser

Spring, the sky rippled with geese, 


but the green comes on slowly, 


timed to the ticking of downspouts. 


The pond, still numb from months 


of ice, reflects just one enthusiast 


this morning, a budding maple 


whose every twig is strung with beads 


of carved cinnabar, bittersweet red. 



From the book, Winter Morning Walks (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2001) which was written in the early days after Kooser's cancer treatment. He wrote “postcard poems” to a friend after a walk every morning during his recovery. The book is the compilation of 100 such poems. 

Submit a Poem for Next Week

Please join us to explore, discuss, and align our efforts

to ADVANCE equity-focused initiatives in the learning


Thursday, April 20, 2023

9:00am - 1:00pm

MCW Alumni Center

The summit will highlight how MCW uses data to advance equity in the learning

environment with a focus on learners in three different stages:

1. Aspiring Health Science Learners

2. Health Science Students (e.g. medical, pharmacy, graduate)

3. Post Graduate Learners and Trainees

Target Audience

This summit is intended for faculty, staff, trainees, and students who are interested in

learning and discussing how the use of data can advance equity in the learning


Learn More
Register Here

Understanding Medical Professional Identity and

Character Development

April 28, 2023

8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CDT


Professional identity formation (PIF), as defined by the Carnegie Foundation, is the “ongoing self-reflective process involving habits of thinking, feeling, and acting” as a physician. The holistic development of these capacities of PIF can be interpreted as essential qualities of one's character and integrity.


Education in the professions must design learning environments that center self-reflection within the PIF curriculum and provide growth opportunities that challenge while offering support and guidance for PIF growth, as well as the learner's well-being. In this symposium, we aim to convene medical education researchers, instructors, and others to engage on the state of PIF research, the goals, and interests of attendees, going beyond the confines of reductionist approaches. Our overarching goal is to transcend to holistic and humanistic integration spaces, weaving a central thread that is crucial to the person’s professional self.

Keynote Presentation

Can You Imagine How Far They've Come?:

PIF As Immigration

Presented by

Lara Varpio, PhD 

Visit our website for more information about the program, including agenda, topics, and presenters.  

Register Here

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 12-12:30 pm
  • March 10th from 11-11:30 am 
  • March 15th from 12:30-1 pm
  • March 23rd from 12-12:30 pm  
  • March 27th from 12:30-1 pm  


ALL VIRTUAL ON MS TEAMS. Please email [email protected] for a calendar invite.  


Applications are OPEN for our Excellence in Teaching Track. We will close applications on March 31, 2023.


If you have any questions about the program, please don't hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. We look forward to your application!

Check out the Website

Call for Transformational Ideas!

Designing New Innovations in Medical Education


The Kern Institute invites all MCW faculty, students, staff, residents, postdocs, and fellows to submit ideas for funding through the 2023 Transformational Ideas Initiative (TI2) Program.

This program focuses on innovating and transforming medical education. We are looking for ideas that improve the learning environment for students, residents, and/or fellows at MCW.



Who is this for? Anyone who is…

  •  Interested in experimenting
  • Open to exploring new ideas and reimagining existing ideas or programs
  •  Curious, compassionate, change-makers
  • Truly interested in transforming medical education for the future

Project teams will be guided through the development of their idea through summer workshops, one on one coaching, and character mentorship through the Kern Institute’s Human-Centered Design Lab.

Each project will be implemented throughout the 2023-24 academic year. Funding for each project will be individually granted at the conclusion of summer workshops based on the needs of each project. For more information about the program, visit our website.

Applications will be accepted until Monday, April 3, 2023.

Submit Your Idea 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, Linda Nwumeh, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen PetersonAnna Visser, Sophie Voss, James Wu & Emelyn Zaworski

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