Inspiring Alumni

on this article

Summer 2014 issue (pdf)

Jerry R. Youkey, MD ‘74
Jerry R. Youkey, MD ‘74, Medical School Alumnus of the Year
Each year, the Medical College of Wisconsin/ Marquette Medical Alumni Association selects several alumni for its highest honors in acknowledgement of their contributions to medicine, science and the community. Meet the 2014 class. Sarah England, PhD ‘93
Sarah England, PhD ‘93, Graduate School Alumna of the Year
Laurel M. Bear, MD ’84, GME ‘87
Laurel M. Bear, MD
’84, GME ‘87
, Humanitarian Award
Steven C. Bergin, MD ’74, GME ‘78
Steven C. Bergin, MD ’74, GME ‘78, Distinguished Service
Thomas G. Wittmann, MD ’84, GME ‘87
Thomas G. Wittmann, MD ’84, GME ‘87, Distinguished Service


His inspiration
“Ancient medicine generally involved provision of comfort care and trying to ‘do no harm.’ Modern medicine provided my generation ability to actually ‘do good’ through illness cure.  On the horizon is a coordinated system delivering patient-centered health care encompassing risk assessment, prevention, wellness and chronic disease management, along with ever more successful acute interventions.  Now that is exciting!”

His profession
Currently: Dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville; Executive Vice President of Medical and Academic Services at Greenville Health System; Dean and Professor of Surgery at University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.
Path to present: From MCW (MD in 1974) to William Beaumont Army Medical Center (general surgery
residency, 1974-79) to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (peripheral vascular surgery fellowship, 1981-82) to Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (surgery faculty, 1982-88) to Geisinger Medical Center (Vascular Fellowship Director and Chief of Surgery, 1987-98). Joined Greenville Health System and University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville surgery faculty in 1998, became Interim Dean in 2010 and Dean in 2011.

His unique contributions
As Dean, welcomed charter class of medical students to University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville in 2012 Overseeing operational initiatives and strategic direction of all graduate and professional studies at Greenville Hospital System Authored nearly 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters


Her inspiration
“In research, I find inspiration in the process of dissecting a problem and working toward a solution by acquiring new knowledge through discovery. I also enjoy the incredible blend of intellectual pursuit, collaboration, and education that are part of research. Finally, I hope that our discoveries will lead to a better understanding of
why preterm birth occurs and how it can be prevented.”

Her profession
Currently: Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Path to present: From MCW (PhD in physiology, 1993) to Vanderbilt School of Medicine (Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1993-97) to The University of Iowa (physiology and biophysics faculty, 1997-2011). Joined Washington University School of Medicine faculty in St. Louis in 2011.

Her unique contributions

  • Investigating the role of potassium channels in regulating both vascular and uterine smooth muscle excitability, relevant to the treatment of uterine dysfunction such as pre-term labor
  • Drafted national legislation signed into law in 2008 as the Newborn Screening Saves Life Act
  • Authored more than 75 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts

Laurel M. Bear, MD ’84, GME ’87 - HUMANITARIAN AWARD

Her inspiration
“My humanitarian work has taught me a few important universal truths. Perhaps the most significant is the importance of family and the simple joys that it can elicit. People everywhere want to be healthy and provide for their family. Also, the strength that can be obtained by the support of community and personal faith.  I have been inspired by the lengths people will go to get health care and provide for their families.”

Her profession
Currently: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Special Needs) at the Medical College of Wisconsin
Path to present: From MCW (MD in 1984; pediatrics residency, 1984-87) to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Milwaukee (1987-2001, first as the Medical Coordinator-Pediatric Services, then Coordinator for the Perinatal Follow-Through program while staffing the NICU Developmental Follow-Up Clinic. Joined MCW pediatrics faculty in 2001.

Her unique contributions

  • Nine years of medical missions to Honduras and Nicaragua with husband Brian Bear, MD ’84, GME ’89, to care for disadvantaged populations
  • Clinical Professor at Marquette University providing mentorship of MU students through Global Brigades humanitarian trips
  • Created a pioneering developmental follow-up program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Herma Heart Center

Steven C. Bergin, MD ’74, GME ’78 - DISTINGUISHED SERVICE

His inspiration
“My professional career has been satisfying and successful due to the exceptional scientific instruction and clinical mentoring I received at the Medical College of Wisconsin. It is this personal experience that motivates me to advocate for and support the MCW mission.”

His profession
Obstetrician/gynecologist with Aspirus OB/GYN Associates, Stevens Point, Wis.

His service to MCW
Alumni Association Board (including President), MCW-Central Wisconsin Community Advisory Board, institutional committees, reunion committees, volunteer clinical faculty, Zeit Fellow, Legacy Society

Thomas G. Wittmann, MD ’84, GME ’87 - DISTINGUISHED SERVICE

His inspiration
“My wife and I, first generation physicians in our families, feel very strongly about supporting MCW.  We are grateful for the opportunities given to us and are committed to providing the same exceptional training to deserving students today.”

His profession
Family medicine physician with ProHealth Care Medical Associates Moreland Family, Waukesha, Wis.

His service to MCW
Alumni Association Board (including President), MCW Board of Trustees, reunion committees, institutional committees, volunteer clinical faculty, Zeit Fellow


Comments are subject to approval. The Medical College reserves the right to edit comments for length, grammar, clarity and appropriateness.

Please include your first and last name. Alumni, please also feel free to include your class year(s). Your e-mail address will not be published.

Comments / Ratings

The following required items were not provided or are in the wrong format. Please provide the required responses and submit again:

  Please enter your name
  Please enter a valid email
Comment Title:
Comment: 550 characters left
  Please enter a comment