Meet Dr. Matthew Hunsaker, Campus Dean for MCW-Green Bay
His comprehensive experience in community-based medical education from both clinical and academic perspectives has provided Matthew Hunsaker, MD, with the expertise needed to cultivate the Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) campus in northeast Wisconsin. As founding Campus Dean of MCW-Green Bay, Dr. Hunsaker is enthused to work with community and academic partners to build the school in a region currently without a medical school presence.
Dr. Matthew Hunsaker speaks during the press conference at which he was named Campus Dean of MCW-Green Bay.
“Within the next five years, we anticipate the medical school having an enhanced role in training professionals in the region but also being involved in the community,” Dr. Hunsaker said. “I’m excited to lead Green Bay’s medical school under the Medical College of Wisconsin’s banner. We are there to stay and committed to the community.”
Prior to joining MCW, Dr. Hunsaker directed the Rural Medical Education Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Dr. Hunsaker led the program for half of that time. The role required statewide relationship management with 25 teaching hospitals in rural communities, and physician relationships with volunteer teaching faculty and management of educational partnerships nationwide.
Earlier in his career as a family practice physician, Dr. Hunsaker served on the volunteer faculties of both public medical schools in Illinois. His understanding of the administrative and the clinical faculty components of a community-based campus will serve him as campus dean.
“I have a foundation of experience working with hospital partners that are sometimes marketplace competitors, and I have experience developing excellent clinicians into excellent teachers,” he said. “Having been in clinical practice in a rural community, I’m aware of the kind of challenges people in the community often experience accessing care. We are also seeing the evolution of medicine in terms of what the practice model once was, and what is the future, and we will equip our students to excel in the changing practice environment.”
The community’s spirit of cooperation specifically attracted Dr. Hunsaker to MCW-Green Bay.
“I was drawn to the notion of collaboration among diverse sectors of the community,” he said. “The region has been ready for a medical school for a long time. It has higher education partners, strong health systems, strong physician practice groups – many things that would attract a campus – it just has not been previously proposed or acted upon. As a part of MCW, I am excited to be part of the forward-thinking team that is building for the future of Wisconsin.”
MCW-Green Bay also provides a unique opportunity for innovation in medical education as it will be the first full regional campus to feature a 133-week curriculum rather than a traditional curriculum of more than 150 instructional weeks.
“We want to be the leader in the U.S. of the calendar-efficient 133-week campus model. As many medical schools contemplate adjusting their curriculum, we have chosen to be a leader,” Dr. Hunsaker said. “We want to do the pioneering work, do it well and be a sentinel for these efforts informing the national dialogue about curricular transformation.”
Selecting students for whom MCW-Green Bay is an appropriate match is critical for success as well as their individual professional development. Their clinical experiences tend to be different than what students would see at a tertiary referral center.
“The benefits of a community-based program are direct exposure to patient care, often in a one-on-one environment with a clinical preceptor. Patients often are seen in the ecosystem in which they live and work," he said. "With longitudinal exposure in the community, students get to see the entire life cycle, not just the tertiary experience. Both are important but represent very different approaches to providing a clinical learning experience.”
As a full-time campus dean and outdoor enthusiast, Dr. Hunsaker will be a fixture in the northeast Wisconsin community. He already has history in the state, with his interest in aviation and frequent volunteerism at the annual EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh over the last 17 years. Above all, he looks forward to realizing the vision for MCW-Green Bay.
“We’re looking to recruit the right student who has ties to Wisconsin and a focus on primary care or other shortage specialties in northeast Wisconsin,” he said. “We want to effect an improvement in resources across the region and provide a training location desirable to students who have a regional interest. We want to make sure training is equivalent in quality and in our graduates’ expertise in providing clinical care.”
For more information about Dr. Hunsaker’s experience and qualifications, see MCW’s announcement of his appointment as MCW-Green Bay Campus Dean.