Year in and year out, Hershel Raff, PhD, consistently receives appreciation from MCW medical students in the form of positive feedback and teaching awards. He is humbled by the accolades, but does have a good sense of their origin.
“Students like enthusiasm and clarity of thought,” said Dr. Raff, who is passionate about his research and educational efforts. “The topic I teach – endocrinology – is so exciting. Medical students like it because I connect the basic concepts to clinical care. I think they sense I like teaching them and am dedicated and enthusiastic about it.”
Dr. Raff has significant experience to share with the students. He, with his wife and son, moved to Wisconsin in 1983 to join the faculty at MCW-Milwaukee. He is a member of the Department of Medicine faculty (in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition), holds secondary appointments in Physiology and Surgery, and serves as Director of the Endocrine Research Laboratory at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. He has held positions of international prominence, including Secretary-Treasurer of the Endocrine Society and leadership positions at the American Physiological Society. He was an inaugural inductee into MCW’s Society of Teaching Scholars in 1991.
Dr. Raff has a large portfolio of published research. Current basic science research he is conducting includes investigating the development of the physiology of the adrenal gland, and current clinical research includes investigating the pathophysiology of critical illness. He has been involved in developing diagnostic tests that directly impact patients.
“What I do is so fulfilling,” Dr. Raff said, smiling. “I have the chance to collaborate with world-class researchers to do translational research that makes patients’ lives better. And then I get to teach our medical students and share my knowledge with them, which I really enjoy. Imparting our knowledge to others is why we exist as an academic institution.”
Contributing to the education of our students is a source of pride for Dr. Raff.
“Whenever I talk to colleagues at teaching hospitals around the country, they tell me our graduates arrive well prepared for residencies. It is rewarding that I meaningfully contribute to their preparation.”
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