Transformational Times
Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community
Friday, November 20, 2020
In this Special Thanksgiving Gratitude Issue:

Director's Corner
  • Adina Kalet, MD, MPH: Thanksgiving is a Time for Gratitude and a Commitment to Making a Difference

  • Karen Marcdante, MD: A Thanksgiving Reflection
  • Jennifer Mackinnon, MD, MM, Jennifer Hollis, CM-Th, MDiv, Julia Reimann: Harps of Comfort at Froedtert Hospital: A Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Melech Lensky, JCC, JD: A Gratitude Perspective
  • Michelle Minikel, MD: No Words Can Describe This Experience

  • Kathlyn Fletcher, MD, MA: Real Time Feedback

Poetry Corner
  • Billy Collins: As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse

Your Turn
  • See how readers answered last week's prompt: What health care team or individual would you like to send a special thank you to this week, and why?
  • Respond to this week's prompt: If you could only have three of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, which would you choose?
  • Respond to this week's character question: What are you thankful for today?

Announcements & Resources
  • Register for Kern's Upcoming Virtual Events
  • Submit to Auscult: MCW's Literary Journal
  • Congrats Sondra Zabar, MD: 2020 Abraham Flexner Award Winner
  • Respond to Kern's Request for Student Representatives
  • Respond to Kern's RFP to build Transformation Collaboratories
  • Learn How You Can Be Involved in the 2020 MCW Common Read
  • Kern National Network Connections Newsletter - November 2020
Director's Corner
Thanksgiving is a Time for Gratitude and a Commitment to Making a Difference

by Adina Kalet, MD, MPH

Inspired by virtually attending the AAMC meeting this week, Dr. Kalet reflects on how the medical profession is embracing this transformative moment and why, after expressing thanks and gratitude, it’s time to roll up our sleeves up and do the hard and meaningful work ahead …

It is gratefulness that makes the soul great. 
-Abraham Joshua Heshel

How do we endure what we witness?
-Ann Curry

Thanksgiving 2020 will be unprecedented. Traditionally, Americans mark Thanksgiving with deep family connections, too much food, football, and moments of gratitude. This year, though, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and health care professionals will be working harder and under harsher circumstances than ever before. We will all be socially isolated. The adjustments will be difficult and promise to worsen. Because our residents are working incredibly hard, we want them to know how grateful we are for them. In collaboration with MCWAH, the Kern Institute will be providing “to-go” meals for our trainees on Thanksgiving. Oh, and we will be sending our amazing Kern cookies along, as well.
A Thanksgiving Perspective

by Karen Marcdante, MD

"At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." 
-Albert Schweitzer

These days, it seems that there are lots of light to be rekindled. Who knew that our lives would change so much due to a microscopic organism? I don’t know about you, but I have recognized that I am grieving the loss of our former lives. It is the little things. I miss the drive to and from work, when I had a chance to plan and reflect on my day. I really, really miss, terribly, those moments in the hallways when I passed colleagues. Whether it was a smile and a quick hello or stopping the other person for a quick chat or some problem solving, those moments of connection were there – but now no longer occur without planning. Acknowledging that I am, in fact, grieving is a good first step. And recognizing that it was grief resulted in returning to a time when I grieved the most. 

Harps of Comfort at Froedtert Hospital:

A Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Jennifer Mackinnon, MD, MM, Jennifer Hollis, CM-Th, MDiv, and Julia Reimann

Dr. Mackinnon, a musician and MCW physician, shares how she brought harp music to hospitalized, isolated patients suffering from COVID-19 …

Harps of Comfort began with a tweet. On March 31, 2020, Dr. Jennifer Mackinnon of Froedtert Hospital and The Medical College of Wisconsin reached out to music-thanatologist and author Jennifer Hollis on Twitter, saying, “I am a harpist and doctor. I want to see how we can bring music into the ICUs when patients are dying alone. Let’s work together and see if we can make this happen.”

Shortly thereafter, we brought a group of harpists – all highly trained palliative musicians – together to meet weekly on Zoom to discuss this possibility. These harpists come from all across the United States, Canada, and Australia, and many have decades of experience offering live music in medical settings.
A Gratitude Perspective

by Melech Lensky, BCC, JD
Chaplain, Froedtert Hospital

Rabbi Melech Lensky is a board certified chaplain who has served at Froedtert Hospital for over 15 years. He is known for his calm demeanor, caring, and ability to connect across differences in his support for patients and families.

Gratitude – to step outside of myself

to have the humility to see

what the One and others have bestowed upon me ---
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Quote shared by Joan Weiss
What person or group at MCW, Children's, Froedtert, or the VA has made a big impact on you during these challenging times? They can be a student, resident, fellow, faculty, staff, provider, nurse, tech, environmental staff, transporters, therapists, cafe workers, medicine teams, groups, divisions, departments, etc.
No Words Can Describe This Experience

by Michelle Minikel, MD – Bellin Health

Dr. Minikel works as a primary care physician in Green Bay, WI, a COVID-19 hotbed. In this essay, she shares some of what she has experienced over the past nine months …

Over the past few months I’ve been asked to be interviewed, and to serve on a panel discussion, and to give a lecture, and to write a piece about what it was like to care for a “disadvantaged” population during a major COVID outbreak in Green Bay. I want to say “yes,” but it’s hard. I don’t usually feel up for the task. I don’t know if I can really put to words what this pandemic has been like. 

Real Time Feedback

by Kathlyn Fletcher, MD, MA

This week, we're proud to share a podcast interview with Dr. Fletcher, a member of the Editorial Board of the Transformational Times. Dr. Fletcher was interviewed by The Medicine Mentors on how she practices giving feedback in real time for her students and mentees. She takes advantage of small coaching moments that occur throughout the day as she guides her students to reach the next level of competency by leading with character, caring, positivity, and encouragement.
"I know you’re tired of being cooped up inside. I know you’re tired of wearing masks and social distancing. I know parents are tired of virtual learning at home, and I know your kids are tired of not being able to play with their friends. Believe me when I say that no one is more tired of this pandemic than my colleagues and me."

by Brady McIntosh, MD, FAAEM
Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine,
Medical College of Wisconsin

We Health Care Workers Need Help
Urban Milwaukee | November 12, 2020
This week we’re featuring a poem written by Billy Collins titled As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse, submitted by Dr. Bruce Campbell.

This poem first appeared in Nine Horses (Random House, 2003).
Collins is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse
by Billy Collins

I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.

I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,

and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow

so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.

Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,

singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.

A big shout-out to our MCW Palliative Care Team. Can't wait for in-person team events like the one pictured here, doing Improv with Dr Chou. Words are not enough to acknowledge your grit during exceptional times. So lucky to be part of this team!

- Wendy Peltier, Faculty

I would like to send a special Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving out to Dr. Bruce Campbell and Dr. Wendy Peltier who have diligently worked to publish the weekly Transformational Times since the start of the pandemic - 34 weeks and counting - in addition to all their increased clinical responsibilities. They are two of the most hard-working and compassionate people I know! Thank you!!

– Julia Schmitt, Staff

I would like to send a special Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving out to Dr. Chris Decker for all of his long hours and hard work during this pandemic. No matter how many clinical and operational responsibilities he is managing, he always takes the time to check in on how his colleagues are doing and is completely present for those he is with. He is one of the most equiniminous and kind people I know! Thank you!!

- Julia Schmitt, Staff

I would like to thank my outstanding Team in the Froedtert Emergency Department. Everyone has stepped up to the challenges related to the pandemic and have displayed true character and compassion to patients and each other. Proud to work with this team of amazing individuals!

- Alicia Pilarski, Faculty

Respond to next week's reflection prompt:

If you could only have three of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, which would you choose?
Kern Grand Rounds Presentation
Women and COVID-19: 
Challenges, Opportunities, 
Thoughts for the Future

Please be sure to join us for Grand Rounds with Elizabeth Ellinas, MD,
Director of the MCW Center for the Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM), Associate Dean for Women's Leadership, and Professor of Anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The COVID-19 crisis has found women in the forefront of the battle against the pandemic both at work and at home. Please be sure to join as we consider the effects of COVID on women and their careers and share challenges by gender.
January 21, 2020
Live Virtual Presentation
9:00 - 10:00 am CT
Submissions Open to Auscult: MCW’s Literary Journal

Deadline 11/25/2020

Auscult, MCW's literary and arts journal, is seeking submission in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography for this year's issue! Submissions are open to people affiliated with our campus institutions, including MCW, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Wisconsin, Versiti, and the Zablocki VAMC. 

For more information, listen to the first episode of the Auscult Podcast below, where you'll meet former student editors and current MCW residents, Marc Drake and Kim Tyler, as well as Auscult's faculty advisor, Dr. Bruce Campbell. You'll learn the purpose the journal serves in the MCW community, why story telling matters in medicine, and the therapeutic benefits of sharing one's experiences through art. Dr. Campbell also offers a bit of advice for new writers considering submitting to our journal. 
Congratulations to
Sondra Zabar, MD

2020 Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education

We are pleased to share that Sondra Zabar, MD, Kern Institute Affiliate Professor, has been award the 2020 Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education.
Students: Are You Interested in Being Involved in the Kern Institute?

We are seeking student representatives with an interest in medical education to help guide our Kern Institute programs and initiatives at MCW. We are very interested in student voices and perspectives to help us with our work!

Your time commitment would be participation in monthly or bi-monthly meetings, with opportunities to participate on special projects. Please select the area (below) you are most interested in to send a message to that leader.
Kern Institute Announces Request for Proposals
LOI Due December 23, 2020

The Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education at the Medical College of Wisconsin is pleased to release this request for proposals to build Medical Education Transformation Collaboratories, cross-institutional, multi- and inter-disciplinary, multiple stakeholder communities of practice that work together in a sustained effort around a shared project to transform medical education by engaging in both innovation and scholarship.
We seek submission from teams of 3 to 5 individuals who will devote compensated time to build a community of practice around medical education transformation. These collaboratories will serve as incubators for the creation of generalizable knowledge as we move rapidly into a new era of medical education. Eligible groups must include at least one member employed at an LCME-accredited medical school, with other members currently affiliated with institutions or organizations with a stake in health and healthcare. Please click the link to view the RFP.
Participate in the MCW Common Read!

We are extremely moved by the overwhelming interest shown in this year’s Common Read program, featuring How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. It is a true testament to your devotion to racial equity and determination to make the MCW community a safer and more inclusive place for all.

We understand that many of you are eager to get involved, so we have outlined some ways that you can participate via the link below.
The Kern National Network
Click anywhere on the image for the KNN's current newsletter
MCW COVID-19 Resource Center
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