Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education
Kern Institute

Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education

Today’s medical training needs to be as much about the mastery of knowledge and technical skills as the development of character strengths and caring practices.

The Kern Institute is working to transform medical education to develop physicians who deliver high quality medical services in a caring and compassionate manner.

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Kern Institute

Character and Caring: Medical Education Emerges From the Pandemic Now Available

NEW: Character & Caring: Medical Education Emerges From the Pandemic (Book II)

Kern Book Cover Both Books MCW SiteMedical students, residents, physicians, and caregivers have struggled during the pandemic. The times in which we live will transform medicine. These essays, drawn from the Kern Institute’s Transformational Times newsletter, offer glimpses into what we have experienced and what might yet come.

In these pages, readers engage with unsettling realities unmasked by COVID-19, including workplace biases, inattention to wellness, residency-related stress, the loneliness of military responsibility, the inequity of the world around us, reproductive healthcare uncertainty, new educational realities, and the imperative for flourishing and practical wisdom in physicians.

Each essay reveals remarkable insights and reflects the interplay of the world we inhabit with the present and future of medicine and healthcare.

Also available: Character & Caring: A Pandemic Year in Medical Education (Book I)

When classrooms and clinical rotations shut down in March 2020, medical school faculty, staff, and students craved connection, comfort, and guidance. Out of that need, the Kern Institute created a weekly newsletter, the Transformational Times, to gather and amplify the voices of those rushing to the front lines and those who supported them. The nascent community shared its reactions over the summer to racial injustice, in the fall to the COVID-19 surges and the return to school, and in the winter and spring to the continued societal discord and slow adjustment to the new normal.

This collection of essays, stories, and creative responses shares the voices of diverse members of the medical community and beyond through a year of disconnection and reconnection. With honesty and creativity, each contributor tries to discern what medical education–and our world–might look like on the other side.

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Announcing the Health Equity Scholars Program

 Are you a medical school applicant interested in advancing health equity in the City of Milwaukee?

The Kern Institute and the MCW-Milwaukee School of Medicine have collaborated with leaders from across Milwaukee to create the Health Equity Scholars Program (HESP)—a training track in the medical school for underrepresented students.

Learn More or View Eligibility
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Upcoming Events

The Kern Institute hosts monthly events featuring local and national leaders in medical education throughout the academic year.

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Triple Aim of Medical Education

The Kern Institute is working to educate physicians in the Triple Aim of Medical Education: Character, Competence, and Caring.

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Transformational Times Newsletter

Keep up-to-date on upcoming and previous scholarly presentations by our Kern Institute faculty and staff in our mission to transform medical education.

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Kern Institute Events

  • October 5, 2023

    3–4 p.m.

    Kern Institute Wellbeing Workshop

    Medical College of Wisconsin

    Amelia Coffaro, C-IAYT | Navigating Ambiguity: Using Mindfulness & Self-Compassion in Healthcare Innovation

  • October 5, 2023

    4–5 p.m.

    Kern Institute Connection Café


    Various Speakers | Learning Communities as a Crucible for Medical Student Professional Development

  • October 11, 2023

    12:15–1 p.m.

    Kern Journal Club


    Andrea N. Leep Hunderfund, MD, MHPE | Finding My Piece in That Puzzle: A Qualitative Study Exploring Medical Students & Professional Identity

  • March 7, 2024

    9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Kern Advancing Equity in the Learning Environment Summit

    Kern Institute | Joining Forces with Our Community & Healthcare Partners

See all Kern Institute events

Submit a speaker proposal to the Kern Institute

Submit A Speaker Proposal

The Kern Institute is working to transform medical education to better align with the needs of the public on the basis of character, competence, and caring.

The Event Advisory Committee will review all proposals based on the following criteria:

The speaker's qualifications
Timeliness of the topic
Relevance to the mission
If chosen, a committee member will extend the invitation to the speaker and open the line of communication.

Please Note: While we greatly appreciate your enthusiasm, please do not initiate correspondence with the speaker directly. This will ensure that expectations are clear and confusion or misunderstandings are averted.

Thank you for your interest!


Contact Us

Kern Institute
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Suite M1990
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-4915
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