Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, May 19, 2023

In This Issue:

Guest Director's Corner


Poetry Corner

  • It Couldn't Be Done, Edgar Albert Guest

Call For Submissions!

Transformational Times will have another parent issue this year around Fathers Day. We are looking for a variety of submissions ranging from untraditional families, advice, what you wish you knew, or anything else folks might like to share around parenting. If you are interested, please reach out to the email below.

Reach Out

The Transformational Times Wishes to thank our graduating and continuing student editors for their contributions throughout the academic year

Nabil Attlassy

Eileen Peterson

Wolf Pulsiano

Anna Visser

Julia Bosco

Linda Nwumeh

Sophie Voss

Emelyn Zaworski

Do you have a favorite graduation memory or mantra? Tell us about it!

Share Here

Answers from last week: With warm weather and summer days ahead, we'd like for you to share your favorite picture of nature that you have taken!

  • Parrot from a recent family trip to Costa Rica. -Jeff Fritz, PhD
  • We had three Great Horned Owls owlets in our backyard this spring.- Bruce Campbell, MD
LinkedIn Share via LinkedIn
Add me to the T. Times mailing list

Guest Director's Corner

“Midwest Nice” and a force of nature: 2023 Commencement speaker Dr. Julie Freischlag returns to MCW to share what she has learned

By Bruce Campbell, MD FACS

Dr. Campbell, one of the Transformational Times editors, provides some reflections on why his medical school classmate and friend, Dr. Julie Freischlag, is an exceptional role model. He also offers a sneak peek at her May 19, 2023, Commencement Speech...


MCW-Milwaukee’s 2023 Commencement Speaker, Julie A. Freischlag, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), DFSVS, MAMSE, has had a remarkable, glass-ceiling and barrier-breaking career. Happily, a portion of her world-class calling was spent on the MCW faculty in the 1990s. At MCW, we are delighted that she has returned to inspire our 2023 graduates and send them out into the world. 

Continue Reading



By Joseph E. Kerschner, MD

Dr. Kerschner shares excerpts of his 2023 graduation address, offering his reflections on MCW (Medical College of Wisconsin) as a “family,” and some reasons why he is optimistic for the future ...

“Family” was a common theme about which faculty and staff wanted to talk when I interviewed to be Dean of the School of Medicine at MCW. I often heard MCW was characterized by having a “family atmosphere.” As I progressed in my leadership journey, it has become abundantly clear to me that two things matter far more than any other in the success of an organization: its PEOPLE (family) and its PRACTICES (culture).


With outstanding people and practices, organizations can overcome almost any obstacle.


It is with utmost confidence that I know our graduating students will bring their excellence to many organizations across the globe—to become the people of each of those organizations. It is my profound hope that you will also carry the culture and practices that MCW strives to embody—the PRACTICESwhich reflect the best parts of being a family.

Continue Reading


Karmanye Vaadhikaraste

By Himanshu Agrawal, MBBS, DF-APA

Who are we learning from, anyway? Is there a place for medical students to teach their teachers? Dr. Agrawal thinks there is. He shares a few lessons he has learned from his students…

In the Hindu Epic text, the Mahabharat, it is said that the warrior Abhimanyu learned war tactics and strategies while in utero, as his warrior father, Arjun, explained them to his (understandably disinterested) mother, Subhadra.

I am not certain who I learned from when I was in my mother’s womb. I do, however, recall that in childhood, I learned from my mother, my father, then my grandmother, then my friends, and then my schoolteachers. In medical school, I learned from my professors (mostly how not to teach). During my postgraduate training, I learned from my patients and my preceptors. More recently, I have been learning from my wife and my son.

Through my psychoanalyst, I have finally begun to learn how to learn from myself.

Continue Reading


A reflection on four years of medical school

By Sharadhi Thalner, MD 

In this essay, Sharie reflects on her experiences both personally and professionally as a first-year versus a fourth-year medical student and the transformation that these four years have elicited.


“Sharie, I think it’s time you saw your first patient,” my clinical apprenticeship mentor declared one morning in the middle of my first year of medical school. I remember the rush of adrenaline that overcame me at those words. I rifled through the collection of notes and worksheets I had stuffed in my backpack, all detailing the right questions to ask during an interview and the format of an H&P. I desperately tried to cram the H&P template that had recently been introduced to me into my brain. Was I ready? What if the patient noticed that I had never done this before? I mean, I had never done this before.

I took a deep breath, looked at my mentor with an expression that must have resembled sheer terror and said, “Sure…but can you give me the easiest patient on your schedule?” 

Continue Reading


Part 3: You can have it all

By Bryan Johnston, MD

In this essay, Dr. Johnston draws from his clinical experience to describe his lived experiences of meaning through being of use to others. He provides a hopeful message to notice and lean into however you feel you can be of use to have a meaningful career...


“Not doing too good, doc. I buried my cousin last week,” he said, slouching in his chair. “What happened?” I asked grimly. “It was sudden, I don’t really know what happened.”


I murmured my regrets and a pause drifted over us. He and I had been meeting monthly for over a year and these moments had become part of our rhythm. He was still recovering from the loss of his son a few months ago, of an aunt last year. His tibia was still healing after a recent assault, his left orbit finally felt better after a pistol-whipping last year. His assailants had been after the most valuable thing he owned—the buprenorphine that felt like a firewall against the cycle of withdrawal and use he had clawed his way out of.


Trauma within trauma, grief upon grief. 

Continue Reading
LinkedIn Share via LinkedIn
KI Medical Education Matters Podcast
KI MedEd Blog
Past Issues
Contact Us
Kern Bookstore

Pictorial Reflection on Parenting and Doctoring

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." -Mother Theresa

Being a mom makes me a better doctor and being a doctor oftentimes makes me a better mom. I like to think that I have the honor of changing the world in both spaces. - Kate Dielentheis, MD

Submit Your Art Here

It Couldn't Be Done

By Edgar Albert Guest 

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

     But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

     Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

     On his face. If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

     That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

     At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat

     And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

     Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

     There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

     The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

     Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

     That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

Leveraging Your Strengths, Talents, and Lived Experiences to Promote Excellence across the Medical Education Continuum

Monday, May 22, 2023

10:00am - 10:50pm


Kristina Kaljo, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty Pillar Director, Kern Institute; Co-Director, SPARCC Program

In recent years, we have observed a shift away from the traditional understanding of "excellence", i.e. perfect grades, high test scores, or number of publications. Join this panel discussion as we explore the evolution of excellence in medical education and collaboratively identify strategies to better recognize excellence among our colleagues, learners and ourselves.

Register Here

Inaugural William Choi Lectureship

Humility, Creativity, Allyship, and Justice

Rita Charon, MD, PhD

Friday, June 2, 2023

8:00am - 9:00am

Bolger Auditorium- H1400 & Zoom

The Department of Medicine and Kern Institute present the William Choi Lecture Series. This series aims to establish an annual visiting lectureship focusing on the intersection between medicine and the humanities. The inaugural speaker for this series is Dr. Rita Charon.

Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, narrative medicine pedagogy, and health care team effectiveness. She has lectured and served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the US and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice.

KICS Medical Education Journal Club 

Friday, June 14, 2023

12:15pm - 1:00pm


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. This month Dr. Anthony Artino the Associate Dean for Evaluation and Education Research at George Washington University will be discussing how to develop effective surveys for medical education research.

Register 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, Linda Nwumeh, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen PetersonAnna Visser, Sophie Voss, & Emelyn Zaworski

Not getting our newsletters? Sign-up today!
Mailing List Sign-up
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram