Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, October 7, 2022

In This Issue:

Director's Corner


Poetry Corner

  • Mary Oliver: A Song for Autumn

Your Turn

Upcoming Events/Announcements

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Director's Corner

Visiting the Professors



 By Adina L. Kalet, MD, MPH

As she anticipates going back on the road to do “visiting professorships,” Dr. Kalet honors two colleagues, professors who have made careers in medicine devoted to excellence and caring in medicine and medical education…



You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it (2:21).


The Ancient Jewish Text, Pirkei Avot, “Ethics of Our Fathers”

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be paying homage to Professors William T. Branch, Jr., M.D, MACP and Dave E. Kern, MD, MPH. Drs. Branch and Kern have each had a huge impact on the transformation of medical education over the past half-century. Ostensibly, I will be the one professing, since I have been invited to serve as the third annual William T. Branch Innovation in Primary Care Series Lecturer at Emory University School of Medicine, and then the inaugural David E. Kern Visiting Professor for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In the coincidental back-to-back scheduling of these visiting professorships, I have had the opportunity to study these two men and their inspiring careers.

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NYU-UCSF Collaboratory to Advance URiM Faculty in Academic Medicine

By Richard E. Greene, MD, MHPE; Sarah Schaeffer, MD and Walter Parrish, MA

In this essay, principal investigator Dr. Richard Greene, Dr. Sarah Schaeffer and Mr. Walter Parrish describe their collaboratory project to cultivate the talent and expertise of faculty who are URiM to meet the critical needs of our patients and our learners…



Why Implement Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) Leadership Programs?

In academic medicine, we have an urgent need to cultivate the talent and expertise of faculty who are URiM to meet the critical needs of our patients and our learners. While many institutions have implemented leadership development programs, few have implemented them specifically aimed at faculty who are URiM. Fewer still have been able to study the impact of these programs on the participants and the senior institutional leaders who sponsor such programming in more than one context. For this reason, we joined together as a collaboratory of experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion at two leading institutions, NYU Grossman School of Medicine (NYU) and the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine (UCSF). We planned to synch up and study the impact of two such programs.

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Creating a Collaboratory to Map Medical Education’s Blind Spots



By Sean Tackett, MD, MPH; Yvonne Steinert, PhD; Cynthia R. Whitehead, MD, PhD; Darcy A. Reed, MD, MPH and Scott M. Wright, MD

In this essay, principal investigator Dr. Sean Tackett and team describe their collaboratory project to map the blind spots in medical education in order to create a shared model that would encompass the issues that require more attention and hold medical education back…

Thousand-Year-Old Parable


There’s a well-known parable where several blind men are told of a new animal called an elephant. Trying to understand what an elephant is, each touches a different part and comes to incorrect conclusions (touching a tail – “it’s a rope,” touching the elephant’s side – “it’s a wall”). They never come to understand the true nature of the elephant, but rather argue perpetually over who is right.

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Transforming Healthcare Education by Educating Faculty Leaders in the Post-COVID Era


By William T. Branch, Jr, MD, MACP (PI of the grant); Corrine Abraham, DNP; Elizabeth A. Rider, MSW, MD; Debra K. Litzelman, MA, MD; Richard Frankel, PhD and Calvin Chou, MD, PhD

In this essay, principal investigator Dr. William Branch and team describe their collaboratory project to study professional identity formation and professional growth among faculty leaders, a group whose growth is seldom explored…

We are members of a group that has taught physician and interprofessional faculty leaders humanistic skills, values and attitudes using small group methods at more than 30 healthcare institutions. We have worked together for over 20 years to reach as many faculty as possible with our small group learning methods because we believe that great faculty role models ultimately influence students, residents, and others to treat their patients, colleagues, and themselves with compassion, appreciation, and respect. The idea of positive role models is based on the notion that the good components of the “hidden curriculum” have profound influences, and role models have their impacts within the hidden curriculum. Lately, we began to teach interprofessional groups. This has added new complexities and rewards to our teaching and facilitating, such as being able to help learners to overcome implicit bias toward other professionals. We have found the new challenges invigorating.

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Laying a Strong Foundation: How Do Medical Schools With and Without Learning Communities Promote Character, Caring and Professional Identity Formation During Students' Pre-Clerkship Years?


By David Hatem, MD, Principal Investigator and Jennifer Quaintanace, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator

In this essay, principal investigator Dr. David Hatem describes his collaboratory project to assess the role of learning communities in the development of character, caring, and professional identity formation for undergraduate medical students…


Transforming Medical Education


We aim to develop a full picture of how learning community and non-learning community schools help or hinder PIF and suggest programs and approaches to help advance student PIF. This focus on PIF will transform medical education by putting this key outcome front and center, no longer a consequence of medical education, but a deliberate aim. The intent will be to depict PIF choice points and dilemmas designed to prompt student reflection, individually and with others so that PIF can be transformed from what has been a solitary process for many into a deliberate, purposeful, accompanied, facilitated and developmental journey.  

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Cultures of Mattering in Healthcare Education



 By Julie Haizlip, MD, MAPP; Natalie May, PhD and Karen Marcdante, MD

In this essay, Drs. Julie Haizlip, Natalie May and Karen Marcdante describe their collaboratory project to explore cultures of mattering among medical and nursing students…

Why Does It Matter?

Many of us can remember a time during our educational journey when we felt superfluous, unimportant, or as if we were a burden. This feeling is identified as a state of “not mattering” and is, unfortunately, common during health professions training. When students feel that they do not matter, they become disengaged, learn less, are more likely to become depressed, and may even end up leaving their training program. On the other hand, when people feel that they matter, the opposite is true – they learn more, stay engaged, can pursue their passions and may exhibit less burnout. Thus, creating a learning environment that makes all learners feel like they do matter is the focus of a multi-institutional collaboratory entitled “The Culture of Mattering in Medical Education.”

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The Data Science of Character




By Debra Klamen, MD

In this essay, principal investigator Dr. Debra Klamen describes her collaboratory project to use data science to unpack the concept of character, a novel use of advanced computing to assess a philosophical and psychological construct…

The Data Science of Character Collaboratory


Character or virtue is our learners’ greatest need and is our greatest contribution to their development.” – John Mellinger, 2014


Why Study Character in Medicine Now?

We need to study this construct to help prepare doctors to retain their moral agency within systems characterized by rapid change and great uncertainty (COVID, reckoning with racism, health impacts of climate change) and new expectations to engage in advocacy, resistance, and social justice. Character goes beyond professionalism.

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Past Issues

Song for Autumn

By Mary Oliver

In the deep fall

don’t you imagine the leaves think how

comfortable it will be to touch

the earth instead of the

nothingness of air and the endless

freshets of wind? And don’t you think

the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,

warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come – six, a dozen – to sleep

inside their bodies? And don’t you hear

the goldenrod whispering goodbye,

the everlasting being crowned with the first

tuffets of snow? The pond

vanishes, and the white field over which

the fox runs so quickly brings out

its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its

bellows. And at evening especially,

the piled firewood shifts a little,

longing to be on its way.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

For this week's reflection prompt, please answer the following question:

What's your go-to dance move? 

Share Your Reflection

Current Medical Students

Learn more about the MCWfusionTM curriculum and help improve plans

Current Medical Students interested in learning more about the MCWfusionTM curriculum: please sign up for a design sprint describing proposed assessment models and provide your feedback. 

Session Dates: September 23, 26 & 27 and October 13 & 20, 2022

The September sessions will focus on assessment during the initial foundation science phase 1 of the curriculum including the patient-based discussions and the coaching program. The October sessions will focus on assessments during the Clerkship phase of the curriculum and would be most appropriate for M3 and M4 students.  


Email [email protected] with any questions.

Sign up for a Session

Congraulations to Kristina Kaljo, PhD

Dr. Kaljo has been awarded the 2022 MCW Innovations in Healthcare Education Research Annual Conference Innovator of the year!

She is contributing two oral presentations, two roundatbles, one poster and one Kern Institute Transformational Ideas Intiative Project at the 2022 MCW IHER conference.

Please Join Us!

KICS Journal Club with Jeffrey Wilhite, MPH

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.

In October, Jeffrey Wilhite will be discussing the development and maintenance of the NYU medical education registry as we prepare to launch our own registry at MCW.

Jeffrey Wilhite is the program manager for NYU Langone’s Program for Medical Education Innovations and Research (PrMEIR) and serves as an honest broker for the NYU Medical Education Research Registry.  

October 12, 2022

12:15 - 1:00 pm CT

Live Via Zoom

Register Here

Please Join Us!

Kern Grand Rounds: Maximizing Your Mentoring Relationships

with Melissa McNeil, MD, MPH

Mentoring is vital to the success of academic physicians, and yet, it is both hard to get and hard to do well. 

This talk will address strategies for successful mentor-mentee relationships highlighting the following:

What makes a good mentor?

What makes a good mentee? and

The strategies for maximizing the relationship to make sure that both parties are satisfied and successful.

Dr. McNeil received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, her MD degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. She is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and has recently joined the faculty at Brown University as a Professor of Medicine where she is a member of the Division of General Internal Medicine and will serve as an academic hospitalist. She serves as a Senior Consultant to the Women’s Health Education Group at VA Central Office.

November 3, 2022

9:00 - 10:00 am CT

Live Via Zoom

Register Here

October Kaleidoscope

Unseen but not Unspoken: Giving Voice to Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity is the concept of natural differences across the spectrum of human brains. It can include individuals across the spectrums of Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia etc. Although neurological differences aren’t visible it is important to acknowledge and understand them. Please join us as we define neurodiversity, raise awareness, draw on lived experiences, clear up misconceptions, and explore ways to better support neurodivergent individuals. 

October 12, 2022

12:00 - 1:00 pm CT

Live Via Zoom

Register Here

The Transition to Residency Symposium 

Night-onCall, co-founded by Dr. Sondra Zabar and Dr. Adina Kalet, is an immersive, clinically- authentic simulation experience for near-graduating medical students that provides the student, and the medical school, with comprehensive, debriefed feedback on readiness from multiple perspectives. Please join the NOC Symposium for a virtual interactive discussion on communication and clinical competency during the transition to residency. 

During this Symposium, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Hear from Dr. Holly Humphrey, the President of the Macy Foundation, on how consortia like Night-onCall contribute to the future of medical education
  • Learn about the impact of simulation from medical schools that have implemented Night-onCall
  • Understand how using data-rich feedback for learners can help your curriculum and learners' transition into residency 

October 28, 2022

10:00 - 2:00 pm CT

Live Via Zoom

Register Now


Join the Next Med Moth Event

Come to MCW’s Med Moth, a storytelling event with faculty and students sharing their own true experiences in the world of medicine. Inspired by The Moth, this event will entail authentic storytelling and an enlightening audience experience.  

November 17, 2022

6:30 pm CT

Alumni Center


Educating Character Across The University

Dr. Cornel West - author, activist, philosopher, public intellectual, and civil rights leader, will kick off a major conference at Wake Forest University entitled "Educating Character Across The University" on December 1-3. The Program for Leadership and Character has invited him to take part in a moderated discussion about character and education. The event will be free and open to the public.

Over the following two days, the conference will highlight promising work on character education in the university context and strengthen a community of scholars across institutions and academic communities. Co-sponsored by the Oxford Character Project at the University of Oxford, the conference will feature presentations, panels, and workshops focused on integrating character into courses, designing character-related co-curricular programming, assessing character-related curricula and programs, and building a culture of character within colleges and universities.

While the keynote with Dr. West is open to all and requires no advance registration, the conference itself is aimed at educators and administrators from colleges and universities across the nation and the world. Workshops, panels, and networking events are scheduled from the morning of December 2 until noon on December 3.

December 1-3, 2022

Wake Forest University

Pre-Register Here
Read the October 6 Issue 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, Erin Weileder, Nabil Attlassy, Julia Bosco, Ana Istrate, Wolf Pulsiano, Eileen Peterson,  Anna Visser, James Wu & Emelyn Zaworski

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