Alumni elect new leader
Milwaukee physiatrist elected Alumni Association President
Alumni Association leadership changed hands at the Alumni Weekend banquet May 4. Left to right are outgoing Association President Ronald J. Darling, MD '62, GME '67; College Dean and Executive Vice President Michael J. Dunn, MD '62; incoming Association President Donna D. Davidoff, MD '78, GME '81, Fel '83; and College President and CEO T. Michael Bolger, JD.
As a third-generation physician in Milwaukee, Donna D. Davidoff, MD '78, GME '81, Fel '83, is building on a family legacy in medicine. As the newest President of the Medical College of Wisconsin/Marquette Medical Alumni Association, she is building on the positive alumni relations cultivated by her predecessors.
Dr. Davidoff's grandfather, I.Z. Davidoff, MD, could be found practicing general medicine on the East Side before the days of insurance. Her father, David Davidoff, MD, was a general surgeon in the Cream City. Since completing a fellowship in spinal cord medicine at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in 1983, Dr. Davidoff has maintained a hospital-based physical medicine and rehabilitation practice with Columbia St. Mary's.
Spinal cord injury rehabilitation remains a clinical interest as does the small specialty niche in burn rehab she has developed as a result of St. Mary's regional expertise in burn care. She enjoys the work as her team of therapists challenges her to stay sharp in all areas of practice, while helping patients is its own reward.
"As rehab often deals with injuries or illnesses that do not get better or heal, it is most rewarding to see people go through therapy and maximize function and continue to find a meaningful purpose in life," she said. "It is very rewarding to feel that I have been a small part of that process."
As of the Medical Staff of the St. Mary's campus, Dr. Davidoff has also been deeply involved with the ongoing construction of a new $417 million Columbia St. Mary's hospital that will combine its Milwaukee campuses into one. She has spent a lot of time poring over detailed plans for the 835,000-square-foot project with architects and appreciates their foresight in involving the end users in the process.
Meanwhile, the renovations taking place around her present their share of challenges, especially pertaining to rehab patients who need accommodations to navigate the chaos. Dr. Davidoff is also providing leadership for the eventual merging of the campuses' medical staffs.
Her new leadership role with the Medical College comes just three years after joining the Alumni Association Board. As President, Dr. Davidoff hopes to maintain the Association's growth and is motivated to do so by her strong ties to the community and school.
"I have a deep commitment to Milwaukee and the institutions that have educated me to become what I am," said Dr. Davidoff, who also chaired her class's 25-year reunion committee. "I felt that I had reached a point in my career where I could begin to focus on other aspects of medicine rather than just clinical practice, and the Alumni Association was a natural fit."
Dr. Davidoff has particular goals of increasing the Association's involvement and visibility with medical students.
"When I was a student, the Alumni Association had very little to do with us. We were not really aware it existed," she said. "In the years since, its presence has been felt more, with student representatives on our board and our sponsoring of activities that students enjoy. The challenge will be to identify more activities or services we can offer so when students become alumni, they will be compelled to become active with the Association."
Outside of medicine, Dr. Davidoff spends a few hours each week working on tedious needle point tapestries. Her current project spans about six square feet, with 22 holes per square inch. She has been crafting it for more than three years, though she expects 2007 will mark its completion.
She and her husband, Michael Hansen, live in Mequon, Wis.
Alumni Association Board update
President: Donna D. Davidoff, MD '78, GME '81, Fel '83
President-elect: Paul S. Fox, MD '68, GME '73
Secretary-Treasurer: Thomas G. Wittman, MD '84, GME '87
New directors elected to three-year terms:
John T. Bjork, MD '71, Fel '76
Alexander J. MacGillis, MD '56
Kathleen S. Stokes, MD '87, GME '91