Transformational Times
Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community
Friday, May 22, 2020
In this Issue:

  1. Director's Corner by Adina Kalet, MD: How Will We Return in Fall?
  2. Graduation Perspective from Cassie Ferguson, MD: Joy
  3. Graduation Perspective from Jose Franco, MD: Family
  4. Graduation Perspective from Marty Muntz, MD: Stages
  5. Perspective from David Nelson, PhD: The Gathering
  6. Perspective from Christopher Davis, MD, MPH: MaskUpMKE
  7. Reflections: What are some of the new habits you've picked up?
  8. Links | Resources | Ways You Can Help
Director's Corner
How Will We Return in the Fall? Back to Normal? I Hope Not.

by Adina Kalet, MD, MPH

Engaging learners and teachers is critical even in times of social distancing. Dr. Kalet explores what we learned from an all-class online M1 session on SARS-CoA-2 and how it will help shape MCW’s teaching and learning…

As one academic year closes and another approaches, educational news is unsettling. Graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Harvard medical, dental, and graduate students will not return to classrooms in the Fall. Schools around the world are scrambling to move classes online. Those of us with college students at home watch with trepidation.

MCW too, plans a return with “safety-first” in-person and online strategies. While there is grief over the losses of campus communal life, informal relationships with students, and opportunities for non-verbal communication, I am optimistic that – if we embrace this opportunity and do it well – a more effective, engaging, optimistic, and evidence-based medical school curriculum will emerge in less than one year.
What are your thoughts?
Graduation Perspective

by Cassie Ferguson , MD

“For the head will explain but the final common pathway is the heart.” Dr. Ferguson reflects on how the hardship and stress of medical school and training have not overwhelmed her sense of Joy. She leaves the MCW Class of 2020 a few final thoughts. “Let us, therefore, rejoice…”

I applied to 26 medical schools. Twenty-six. I was not accepted to any but was waitlisted at one.

And when I got the call from the MCW Office of Admissions in the summer of 2000, I packed up the few pieces of Ikea furniture I owned and bought actual paper maps of the states between California and Wisconsin. A week later, my sister and I hopped in my green Plymouth Breeze and took off for Milwaukee. And in the 20 years since that day, my life has changed in ways I could never have expected.
Dr. Ferguson's Video for the Class of 2020
Graduation Perspective
Graduation and Family

by Jose Franco , MD

Dr. Franco recalls some – but not all – of his medical school graduation as he watches his daughter receive her law degree...

My daughter graduated from law school last weekend. Listening to her mom talk about mucus and her dad about poop at dinner had long soured her on a medical career. The ceremony was virtual and, I am sure, disappointing to many, but necessary during these challenging times. As the Dean delivered his opening comments, I found myself becoming both proud and teary-eyed.
Graduation Perspective
All the World is a Stage

by Marty Muntz , MD

Dr. Muntz invokes Broadway as he bids farewell to the MCW Class of 2020…

I am really going to miss going to graduation this year. But obviously, it’s not about me – it’s about you all. Add it to the list of experiences you missed out on over the last couple of months. Don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t a big deal – it is. It sucks that you will miss it; if you’re feeling that way, you should take some time to mourn.
The Gathering
by David Nelson, PhD, MS
Dr.Nelson watches as people prepare for the opening of another day at the food pantry...

The place will not be open for another four hours and yet the people gather. There are three sets of numbers labeled “1-100” in colors of green, yellow, and blue. On a “normal” Saturday, several hundred would be served three to five days of food for every member of their family. Everyone desires the green numbers as they signify those that will be served first. Pre-COVID-19, all three sets of numbers would be used. Now, the community is hesitant and even scared of leaving the house. Nobody can afford to be sick these days.
#MaskUpMKE - Saving Lives, Building Trust, and Moving Forward

by Christopher Davis , MD, MPH

Dr. Davis tells the story of how #MaskUpMKE came to be and how building community partnerships will change what we do…

During this academic year, I participated in Kurt Pfeifer, MD’s pilot program to coach groups of first-year medical students (Coaching for Character, Caring, and Competence – or “4C”). In addition to working through the nuances of coaching rather than mentoring, I suspect that the majority of other volunteer coaches felt enriched by the experience in being able to guide students through their transition to medical school and then helping to shape their professional identities moving forward. Certainly, this was rewarding to me.

One dynamic we worked through in the coaching program was to explore what the students viewed about expectations of themselves as medical students and future doctors, as well as how they felt about expectations of them from both the medical profession and society.
"I'm hoping that my new good habits negate my new bad habits!

On the positive side, I'm working out more than I used to. I connect with a friend on facetime 3-4 times per week and we switch off leading each other through workouts we find online. My friend has been a great motivator for me to workout, and we usually have time to talk over coffee afterwards.

Unfortunately, I've also been eating a lot more unhealthy foods than I normally do. Working from home means that I have constant access to my kitchen, and with teenagers at home there's no shortage of high-carb, high-sugar snacks lying around to tempt me!"

Anonymous Staff, MCW-Milwaukee

Respond to next week's reflection prompt:
As businesses begin to reopen, what do you hope to see and what are you worried to see?
"[During] all of my medical training, [all] of my firsts—first paracentesis, first arterial line, first lumbar puncture, first bone-marrow biopsy, first nasogastric tube, first pelvic exam, first end-of-life discussion, first diagnosis of cancer—all were done on real people ... When I look back at this now, I’m frankly horrified..."

-Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD

reflecting on how COVID-19 will push medical education
and simulation in her recent article "Trial and Error."  
Sign-up for this virtual workshop:

The Power of Choice in Times of Uncertainty: Exploring Gender Choices Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
Wednesday, May 27 | 1pm CT

Get your free membership:

GetAbstract is Free for all MCW
Faculty, Students & Staff until July 31
COVID-19 Resource Center
Be a Hero - Donate Blood!
The Transformational Times publishes weekly, delivering stories of hope, character and resilience to our virtual community.
Bruce Campbell, MD, Editor-in-Chief
N ot getting our newsletters? Sign-up today!