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    Medicine e-Connection

    Ann Nattinger, MD

    The Department of Medicine has a significant presence at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, which along with FMLH, constitute the two major adult hospital affiliates of the Medical College. The VA – the largest integrated healthcare system in the USA – has multiple missions, including clinical care for veterans, funding of biomedical research, education and back-up to the Department of Defense (indeed, the entire community) in a time of war or domestic disaster. Specifically, the Milwaukee VA is included in the category of most complex VA hospitals (a so-called 1A facility) based on size and the range of clinical services (the Hines VA in Chicago is similarly characterized). The Milwaukee VA serves about 60,000 enrolled veteran patients (10% are women) at the main hospital facility and its four affiliated VA community clinics.

    The Department of Medicine at the Milwaukee VA is represented by the Medicine Chief Resident, an Associate Program Director (Dr. Susan Davids) and a Vice Chair of Medicine (me). We work closely together on a wide variety of issues related to the Department’s personnel and activities at the VA involving physician faculty, Ph.D. faculty, students, residents and Fellows. In turn, the Chief Residents, Dr. Davids and I have a close working relationship with the Department’s leadership – Drs. Ann Nattinger (interim Department Chair), David Marks, Michael Frank and Michael Dunn – the last three being my Department of Medicine Vice Chair counterparts. Needless to say, the Department’s VA clinical Section Chiefs (including all the subspecialties and GIM) play a vital role in the day-to-day activities at the VA. The Department’s administrative staff, working on the FMLH/MCW campus, is responsible to support the professional activities of all MCW programs that take place at the VA. Their commitment is indispensable.

    Several members of the Milwaukee VA’s leadership are internists: the Chief of Staff (Dr. Erdmann), to whom I report at the VA and two of the Associate Chiefs of Staff (Dr. Van Ruiswyk [Education] and Dr. John Hayes [Clinical Affairs]) are general internists in the College’s Department of Medicine.

    The VA as a healthcare system has transformed itself over the past several years. The implementation of a single, system-wide integrated inpatient/outpatient electronic medical record, accountability for patient safety, implementation of quality measures, access and peer review program, expanding telehealth services and ongoing renovation to medical centers (including new inpatient wards and acquisition of the latest equipment) have contributed to the VA’s being viewed as a model of healthcare transformation in the USA.

    Over the next several months, the Department of Medicine’s VA-based physicians will be called upon to meet new demands, including an expansion of inpatient beds as a result of the 5C and 6C renovations, and staffing of growing hospitalist, telehealth and urgent care center programs - to name a few. It will be an exciting – though challenging time ahead.

    Written by Ralph M. Schapira, MD, Professor, Vice Chair for Veterans Affairs Medical Center 

    December Newsletter



    Community Service - Volunteer Opportunities

    As the holidays approach, many organizations in our community are requesting dedicated volunteers to provide assistance in a variety of ways: tutors, helping at Christmas parties for the homeless or seniors, serving at meal sites, packing at food pantries and even cataloging and observing seasonal changes in parks and recreational areas. In our own department, several individuals walk to raise funds and public awareness for various causes while others have committed extra effort to the Hunger Task Force Food for Families annual campaign.

    Education: Housestaff Recruitment Update

    In Housestaff Recruitment news, ERAS for Fellowship Applicants opened December 1st. Our Department of Medicine fellowship programs are currently downloading applications and will begin reviewing those applications in the near future.

    Patient Care - Update on MyChart

    It has now been a year since MyChart was implemented throughout the enterprise’s ambulatory clinics. In addition, the Cancer Center at Froedtert successfully implemented the patient portal in March 2010 and Community Memorial followed suit in October. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the 15,393 patients who are actively using the program. The features of the program that seem to be appreciated the most are the speedy test results and the ability to access family records (533 proxy accounts).

    Research: Cancer Chemoprevention by Antioxidants in Berries

    The Cancer Center recently was fortunate to appoint Dr. Gary Stoner to direct the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program. As Dr. Stoner’s academic home is the Division of Hematology and Oncology, I have been fortunate to be able to work with him on transferring his NIH R01 Grant to MCW. He graciously agreed to allow us to feature a brief glimpse into his fascinating research with Berry extracts as a means of Cancer Prevention.

    Newsletter Committee

    Carla Clark Staff Writer
    Bradley Condon Staff Writer
    Rick Hampton Staff Writer
    Robin Karst Staff Writer
    Susan Knaebe Staff Writer
    Janice Lewis Staff Writer
    Phyllis Meyer Staff Writer
    Jennifer Oium Staff Writer
    Lisa Pelzek Staff Writer
    Kathy Rafel Editor
    Pamela Souders Staff Writer
    Erich Stabelfeldt Web Design and Publishing                                                                            
    Tracy Stasinopoulos Staff Writer
    Cheryl Tolliver Staff Writer


    Any comments or suggestions? Looking to get some information out to the Department? Please email Kathy Rafel at with any queries.