In early August 2017, a group of 25 first-year medical and pharmacy students participated in a pilot Acute Care Workshop to learn how to respond to select medical emergencies.

The workshop was developed in response to an event experienced by fourth-year medical students who were on a one-month rotation in Nepal designed to introduce them to global health. When a devastating earthquake in 2015 put them on the front line of an emergency medical situation, the students expressed that their MCW medical education prepared them well to assist in a hospital setting, and they were able to step in where needed when high-tech resources were not readily available.

Upon returning to the United States and debriefing with educational leaders on their experience, the students shared that having basic assessment and triaging skills as a first-year student would equip them with the basics and jump-start their practical learning experience.

Bill Hueston, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs and Stephen Hargarten, MD, MPH, chair and professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, associate dean, global health; and director, Injury Research Center brought together a team of MCW faculty members at all three campuses who developed the pilot program. Under the direction of Jason Liu, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, the team developed two 4 hour sessions that were offered to medical and pharmacy students the week before orientation in Milwaukee.

Offered this year on the Milwaukee campus, over the course of two half-day sessions, students learned and practiced skills in assessing the scene and protecting their personal safety; basic techniques and hands-on practice for assessing patient stability and vital signs; level of consciousness and level of blood loss; and spine immobilization and splinting. Students also learned signs, symptoms and responses to acute cardiac distress, choking, low blood sugar and serious allergic reactions.

“There is a perception and expectation that if you are a medical student training to become a doctor, you should be able to respond if there is a medical emergency at a family gathering or the scene of an accident and assist until emergency teams arrive on the scene,” shared Dr. Hueston. “We hope this workshop will give incoming students practical skills and a boost of confidence as they begin their rigorous studies as medical and pharmacy students.”

Student evaluations of the workshop were uniformly positive and students recommended this be offered every year. The team hopes to expand this next year to include the regional campuses as well as a larger cohort of students in Milwaukee.


Sterile LabYou won’t find students in the MCW School of Pharmacy hiding out in the very back rows of the classroom. It’s hard to, when rows don’t exist. 

Known as the “Digital Classrooms,” the new pharmacy classrooms were intentionally designed in the round. Here, you will find a supportive, approachable and innovative learning environment.   

Tables are set up in pods facing the center of the room where the podium is situated. There is no back seat, and every student is visible to the instructor.

“The flower petal design is really unique in that it offers the lecture material and the presenter as the center focus of the class. I have really enjoyed learning in this type of environment as it differs from the traditional norms of classroom rows and provides students to have a more comfortable relationship with the topics and instructors,” shared Christopher Tran, MCW pharmacy student.

Each table pod is outfitted with a wireless microphone as well as VGA and HDMI inputs so students can plug in their laptop, projecting on the six 98” monitors in the room, becoming the instructor at any time. “It is a really great platform that caters to our didactic lessons but, also has the flexibility to transition to suit our team based learning curricula,” Christopher explained.

The ability to comfortably and quickly work in groups allows students to spark conversations and help others in understanding the material.

George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh, FASHP, founding dean and professor of the MCW School of Pharmacy shared insight into the room set-up. “We designed the room for group movement, keeping in mind the Think, Pair, Share learning method. Meaning, think – you, pair - with a colleague, and share - with the group. This method cannot work in a traditional tiered lecture hall,” said Dr. MacKinnon.

Not only does the room allow students to learn differently, but also enables faculty to think differently about how they teach.

Faculty have the ability to present wirelessly via iPad so they are not tied to the podium, enabling them to walk around the classroom. Because of this ability, faculty have changed their approach to incorporate a lot of interaction and student participation.

Abhay Singh Chauhan, PhD, MPharm, BPharm, shares his approach to teaching in the new Pharmacy classroom. “The digital class room design helps to create a two-way communication channel between professor and students.  Advanced tools are used for team based learning and assessment. After each lecture, students played different role in a ‘Skit’ to reinforce the concept in an entertaining way,” he explained.

The laboratory space is equally as contemporary while adhering to pharmacy standards. The sterile compounding lab has cameras at each lab hood, allowing instructors to monitor each student in real time via a tablet or re-visit the recording at a later date. The lab space also includes a telehealth lab that simulates professional teleconsult environments, preparing students for the future of pharmacy. Only a few months into the academic year, Christopher already really enjoys the laboratory space.

“It is great to have classrooms that mimic the actual sterile compounding room experience. I believe that with this state-of-the-art facility, we are able to have experiential education in the classroom to foster competence and confidence complementing our training during our rotations,” he expressed. 



Second-year Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) student Sai-Suma (Suma) Samudrala is completely committed to receiving both her MD and PhD so she can help patients from multiple angles.

“I want to be comfortable and confident in my ability to treat any patient who comes through the door or help them find an answer,” said Suma.

Suma’s path through the MSTP program will include two years in medical school, then four years in the MCW Graduate School to earn her PhD, and then two more years in medical school to finish her MD. She expects to complete the program in 2024.

The MCW MSTP MD/PhD Program was established in 1983 with the mission to support medical and research training culminating in the receipt of both an MD and a PhD degree while assisting to reduce the cost associated with students’ training experience.

Suma has been working in Dr. Aoy Mitchell’s lab since she came to MCW, helping with pediatric cardiology research, and worked in several research labs while earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and this work helped her to realize her dream was to pursue the dual degree.

“In a clinic setting, you get to treat the patient and treat the disease, but I also want to be involved in improving the care we can provide patients,” Suma said.

Suma, who is from Brookfield, WI, said she is happy to be at MCW.  

“Everyone at MCW is so caring, and I knew I’d fit in and be able to pursue my dreams here,” she said. “People make themselves available to guide you the entire way.”

In addition to her class work and research, Suma also serves as a student manager for the Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured, volunteers at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in its Art on the Plaza program for patients, and writes a student-perspective column for MCW Magazine, MCW’s donor and alumni publication.


Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Mentor

Andrew S. Greene, PhD

The recipient of this award is recognized as an outstanding research mentor by the graduate students. 




Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Teacher

Linda J. Olson, PhD

The recipient of this award is recognized for outstanding teaching of graduate students. 



MCWAH Housestaff Award for Excellence in Teaching

Kaitlin McKenna, DO (Pediatrics)

Thomas Grawey, DO (Emergency Medicine)


The recipients of this award are residents of the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc., who have been recognized by the senior class and graduate medical education program directors for their outstanding contributions to the education of medical students at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the course of 2014-15 and 2015-16 Academic Years. 

Harry Beckman Basic Science Teaching Award


Beth B. Krippendorf, PhD (Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy)

Selection is made by the Senior Class. 



Ernest O. Henschel Clinical Teaching Award

Martin Muntz, MD (Medicine)

Selection is made by the Senior Class. 




The Milwaukee Academy of Medicine Award for Excellence in Teaching

Matthew Lee, MD (Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Joseph Hospital)

This award is presented annually by the Milwaukee Academy of Medicine to a community physician in private practice who distinguishes himself/herself by exemplary teaching and serves as an outstanding role model for medical students. Selection is made by the Senior Class. 

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Page Updated 11/30/2017