Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, March 31, 2023

In This Issue:

Director's Corner

Women's History Month

Poetry Corner

  • The Armful, by Robert Frost
  • Pancake Poem, by Shel Silverstein
  • It's finally springtime in Wisconsin, and that means the sap is flowing in maple trees. What's your favorite use for maple syrup, or do you have an unexpectedly amazing, food/flavor pairing suggestion for maple syrup?
Let Us Know!

Answers from last week: What podcast to you recommend?

  • Aphasia Speaks, Sarah Leineweber
  • Stuff You Should Know- Trivia Knowledge, Kelly Horton
  • Infinite Monkey Cage- Science Knowledge, Kelly Horton
  • Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me or Conan O'Brian Needs a Friend- For the laughs, Kelly Horton
  • Heaveyweight, Sidney Schoenrock
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Director's Corner

Implicit bias and the motherhood penalty – opting out vs. helping out

By Adina Kalet, MD, MPH and Elizabeth "Libby" Ellinas, MD

In this Director’s Corner, Drs. Libby Ellinas and Adina Kalet call for ongoing, proactive attention to the subtle and mostly unconscious gender bias in the workplace that lowers career expectations for women and parental engagement for men and deprives all of us a more equitable world. If you would like to explore ways to mitigate gender stereotypes and second-generation gender bias, please consider making an IWill Pledge...

Dr. Kalet’s story (1993):

When I gave birth to our first child in 1992, my husband and I had parallel jobs -- same hours, same salary, same responsibilities, and we even had offices side by side. Except for the fact our colleagues, students, and staff acted as if my door was “always open” and his was “always closed,” we pretty much had the same daily routines. I took a 6-month, mostly unpaid leave, because there were no formal maternity leave benefits at the time. He took 2 weeks paternity leave and returned to paid work.

Continue Reading


Women & Academic Medicine: Leaning In, Leaning Out, or Leaning Sideways?

By Ann B. Nattinger, MD, MPH, MACP

Women faculty are less likely to be promoted to full professor. How can we best address this? Changing views over time...

When I started my academic career, it was hard to find senior women faculty as role models or advisors. My experience was not unusual. AAMC data shows that in 1990, 10% of women medical school faculty held full professor rank, compared to 32% of men faculty (1). Most women faculty held instructor or assistant professor rank like me. And the situation seemed unchanging. Ten years later, in 2000, only 11.5% of women faculty were full professors, compared to 31% of men faculty.

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When Science Isn't Enough

By Stephanie Kellogg, PhD

What do you do when your spark for a passion fades? Are you sure you fully understand your passion? My journey in biomedical research taught me to be mindful of my authentic self and to meet needs that are important for how I am wired...

There was a time in my life when I would excitedly get out of bed, get to the lab before daybreak, and stay past dinner time. No one told me that was the expected schedule. There was no unseen or unspoken pressure to do that. I just did it, and I was happy doing it.

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How Studying Female Rabbits led to Teaching Sex and Gender Topics to Medical Students


By Sandra Pfister, PhD

“If we don’t look for differences, then we don’t know that there are differences or that sex and gender are relevant.”

-- Juliana M. Kling, Professor of Medicine, Chair of the Division of Women's Health Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic


In the early 1980s, I was figuring out what it meant to be a basic science researcher as a graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio). What I failed to notice was that all the animals I used in my studies were males. On reflection, the only scientists I knew using female animals were those studying pregnancy or reproduction. I was interested in vascular disease and hypertension, so why would the sex of my animals matter? The year I received my PhD (1984), 2 publications in PubMed contained the terms sex and hypertension in the title field. By 1993, NIH had mandated women be included in clinical trials. Yet it took until 2016 for a NIH directive to include sex as a biological variable (SABV) in all studies, including those done in cells/tissues/animals. Fortunately, it did not take me 32 years to see the value of using female animals.

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There is power in sharing your story


By Stacey Drifka, MBA

In telling our stories, we create the power to encourage and inspire change, elevate, and celebrate others, and pave the way for future generations of women...

I have had the privilege of having strong female influences in my life including family, friends, teachers, advisors, bosses, mentors, colleagues, and public figures. I have witnessed firsthand the value of community and learning from others’ stories, and it inspires me to share mine.

Ten years ago, I experienced the power of conversation. A female mentor and I were having what I thought was a casual conversation. Looking back, it was a turning point in my life. You see, a simple discussion around my career plans turned into the nudge I needed to make a change. 

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Kern Institute in the News

-Adina Luba Kalet, MD, MPH is the recipient of the 2023 John P. Hubbard Award

NBME Hubbard Award Video
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The Armful

By Robert Frost

For every parcel I stoop down to seize

I lose some other off my arms and knees,

And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns,

Extremes too hard to comprehend at. once

Yet nothing I should care to leave behind.

With all I have to hold with hand and mind

And heart, if need be, I will do my best.

To keep their building balanced at my breast.

I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;

Then sit down in the middle of them all.

I had to drop the armful in the road

And try to stack them in a better load.

Pancake Poem

by Shel Silverstein

Who wants a pancake, Sweet and piping hot?

Good little Grace looks up and says,

"I'll take the one on top."

Who else wants a pancake,

Fresh off the griddle?

Terrible Teresa smiles and says,

"I'll take the one in the middle."

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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