Transformational Times

Words of Hope, Character & Resilience from our Virtual Community

Friday, September 23, 2022

In This Issue:

Guest Director's Corner


Poetry Corner

  • Shel Silverstein: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Your Turn

  • Readers respond to last week's reflection prompt
  • This Week's Reflection Prompt: How do you recharge?

Upcoming Events/Announcements

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Guest Director's Corner

In a Time of Divisiveness and Polarization, How Can We Forge a Path Toward Flourishing?




By Cheryl A. Maurana, PhD



We build too many walls and not enough bridges. --Isaac Newton


At this moment in history, we find ourselves in an extraordinary time of divisiveness and polarization. The societal challenges of the past few years have brought an especially sharp focus on issues that are deeply personal for many and often difficult to discuss under the best of circumstances. As a result, it has become even more difficult to hold sustained, rigorous, and vitally important discussions about which actions to take, and when. Open inquiry, diversity of thought, and constructive disagreement are being called into question, bringing unprecedented challenges for both individual and societal flourishing.

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What am I Doing Here? A Narrative on Belonging in the Space of Medical Teaching and Learning


By Kristina Kaljo, PhD; Karen Marcdante, MD and Sandra Pfister, PhD

I frequently wonder … what am I doing here…and am immediately comforted that there are others who share a similar sentiment in their evolving education role …

As we kick off the new school year, many of us may feel a bit of nostalgia. Whether we are reminded of the excitement of purchasing a new backpack or opening the new set of perfectly sharpened Crayola 64s. Perhaps, it is the unmistakable smell of fall in the brisk air warning us that summer was ending. For some of us, we remember teachers or professors asserting course names and learning objectives with the tag line, “if you haven’t signed up for this class, you probably shouldn’t be here”. On occasion, you might watch someone slink away, mortified that they were in the wrong section. After an intense introduction of high-level content, you avoid eye contact with those around you wondering, “What am I doing here?? I do not belong; I am unprepared to participate with this material”.

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Introducing the Active Learning Clinic

By Chelsea Weaver, PhD

Diagnose the (educational) problem. Consult a fellow medical (education) provider. Create your (active learning) treatment plan. Schedule a (facilitator) follow-up. Attend a (teaching) skills lab. All these offerings are part of the Active Learning Clinic: an upcoming collaborative effort between the Kern Institute Faculty Pillar and the Office of Educational Improvement…

The Kern Institute Faculty Pillar and the Office of Educational Improvement are collaborating to develop an Active Learning Clinic (ALC). The focus of the ALC will be to provide hands-on and just-in-time support for educators who are implementing active learning techniques in their learning environments. The clinic, as the ‘pun’ medical theme implies, will have a focus on medical education but equally welcomes all MCW educators. During the first semester of initiation, the ALC will have a spotlight on the development of Patient-Based Discussions (PBDs) for MCWfusionTM. However, the goals of the ALC are to support the implementation of a variety of active learning techniques, including pedagogical practices such as team-based learning, problem-based learning, jigsaw activities, interactive lesson plans, asynchronous modules, and so much more.

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Effective Communication Skills are an Essential Component of Good Patient Care



By Mary Ann Gilligan, MD, MPH


Better communication. Better relationships. Better care.



Over the decades, research has generated evidence to support the role of effective communication on outcomes – outcomes important to patients, clinicians, and healthcare organizations:

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Faculty Roles in the MCWfusion™

By Ali Harrington, MD, MT (ASCP)


It takes a village.


Set to commence in July 2023, the MCWfusion™ curriculum development is enthusiastically underway. The MCWfusion™ project team has grown since the beginning of this year, having completed our hiring and appointment of over fifty faculty for Phase 1 leadership in July. Along the way, we have partnered with the School of Medicine’s Curriculum Evaluation Committee to approve these leaders for curricular development. These curriculum leaders are meeting regularly to organize and integrate content, develop learning objectives and guidelines for assessment, and plan our medical student experience. As a leadership team, we are indebted to the countless hours of collaborative planning, learner-centeredness, and creativity of these faculty leaders.

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Residency Virtual Interviewing: A Love-Hate Phenomenon



By Nabil Attlassy, Paul Beinhoff and Rohan Patnaik - Medical Students

Virtual interviewing for residency is here to stay, for better or worse. Over the past two years, we asked post-Match applicants how they felt about it. Here’s what we found and what you need to know…



           Bright lights shining. Legs bouncing up and down. Ironed suit jackets and blouses. Smiles plastered on faces…unmoving. Cameras perched up and focused on focused faces.

These scenes will be playing out on fourth year medical student computer screens across the country starting in less than two weeks. The virtual interview. What was initially met with reluctance has now become standard format for interviewing residency match candidates. Once it was slowly confirmed the pandemic was here to stay, the early 2020-2021 cycle was hit with a dilemma. How would the whole process move to the virtual world with only a few months of setup? Starting in October 2020, the virtual residency match era began. Whether the transition was done smoothly and efficiently is still to be seen. Many aspects of the interview season had to be revamped. Open houses became virtual, allowing large amounts of people to tune in. Audition rotations were limited to one audition per person. Programs had to start adjusting the number of applicants they interviewed. These changes were novel, and no one was sure what the downstream ramifications would be. Everyone just seemed to “go with the flow” and hope for the best. 

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Still KICSing, One Year In




By Michael T. Braun, PhD

About a year ago, Drs. Amy Farkas, Kristina Kaljo, and I launched the Kern Institute Collaboration for Scholarship with the mission of providing the infrastructure that allows medical education research to flourish here at MCW. We began our work with three activities: a research group to model a lab research structure in medical education, a medical education journal club to encourage and inspire great medical education research and research office hours to provide dedicated time for one-on-one assistance. All three activities flourished through the year and continued into year 2. In our year of activity, what have we learned about medical education research? Here are a few of our thoughts …

1. Let us All Embrace the Unknown!

As we launched KICS, one of our frequent topics of discussion was the differences between PhD programs and MD programs. Both confer the title of doctor (which means "teacher" in Latin), but their environments are notably different. The best way I can summarize it: To a PhD researcher, "I don't know" is exciting! To an MD, "I don't know" is disastrous. This is an oversimplification for the MD, but completely apt for the PhD. "I don't know" may become "We don't know," an invitation for novel research.

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Past Issues

Where the Sidewalk Ends

By Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

and before the street begins,

and there the grass grows soft and white,

and there the sun burns crimson bright,

and there the moon-bird rests from his flight

to cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

and the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow

and watch where the chalk-white arrows go

to the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

and we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

for the children, they mark, and the children, they know

the place where the sidewalk ends.

Submit a Poem for Next Week

Readers Respond to last week's reflection prompt:

What is your favorite trick-or-treat candy?? 

Reese's Pumpkins! So much more peanut butter to chocolate ratio.

 – Denise Curran, Staff

My mom always bought the combo bag of mini Baby Ruth and Butterfingers and 50+ years later still my favorite!

 – Linda Cotton, Staff

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

How do you recharge? 

Share Your Reflection

Congratulations to

Narrative Medicine Competition Winners at ACP Wisconsin Chapter Meeting

Several MCW Attendings, Students and Residents were recognized and published in the 2022 Narrative Medicine Booklet at the American College of Physicians Wisconsin Chapter meeting. These essayists all submitted their work to the first-ever ACP-WI Narrative Medicine Competition.

The Judged Winners: 

Students: Shawna Rivedal, Desiderium

  Honorable mention: Abhishek Janardan, DItto

Residents: Brooke Jennings, I Will Carry You With Me. 

  Honorable mention: James Wu, Don't Stop Feeling

Attendings: Brett Linzer, An Experience Shared 

  Honorable mention: Rebecca Elon, All's Well that Ends Well

People's Choice: 

Winner: Jennifer Woodard, Laughing in the Face of Death

Honorable mention: Matthew Aiken, Haikus to Say Goodbye

Read Essays Here

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 Sandra Pfister

MCW is pleased to recognize Dr. Sandra L. Pfister by bestowing on her the Distinguished Service Award at MCW’s Convocation Ceremony on September 15.

This award is the institution’s highest faculty and staff honor.

Read More Here

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 Connection Cafe: Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured

Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured (SCU) is a primary care clinic run by medical and pharmacy students that offers free health services to the uninsured patients of Milwaukee. SCU strives to provide comprehensive, quality care that empowers patients to achieve their optimal health outcomes through the following initiatives: primary care both in-person and virtually, specialty care access, social determinants of health screening and assistance, clinical continuity, and various committee efforts that contribute to patient care.

Join the Kern Institute and SCU to find out about this longstanding MCW community partnership, followed by information on becoming involved and a Q&A session with current SCU members.

September 27, 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

Read the August 18 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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