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

Kern Institute receives national recognition for Character education efforts at MCW

The Kern Institute, led by Dr. Cheryl Maurana, has been named a Promising Practices Recipient from, a national forum dedicated to fostering character development across the United States. Among the many activities being implemented by the leaders of the Kern Institute at MCW including Dr. Alexandra Harrington and Dr. Ryan Spellecy, the following were cited as unique approaches to comprehensive character development:

  • Being a founding member of a consortium of medical schools with a deliberate mission to focus on and develop character in medical students, graduate learners and faculty.
  • In collaboration with our Kern National Network, being a key contributor to the consortium’s development of a character definition and framework to guide medical education and ultimately practicing physicians.
  • Members of the Kern National Network are also employing character through several diverse efforts, including: character topic stewards for medical education curriculum, integration of the character definition into the student orientation for first year medical students, using the definition as a cornerstone of a new coaching program for faculty and students, using the definition to spark student discussions and reflections on case studies of good character, and integrating character into the school culture and communications.
  • Presenting the definition nationally through faculty development workshops, grand round speaker presentations, a national character webinar, and medical education journals.

"At, we are extremely proud of this year’s Promising Practices recipients. Their dedication to character development has proven over time to increase the well-being of so many individuals and their communities across the United States and beyond," said Doug Karr,’s President & CEO. He continued, "We’re excited to begin validating Promising Practices in workplaces, sports, and higher education in addition to PK-12. The great work happening in these environments is a solid foundation for individual and community growth.”

The Promising Practices program highlights what’s going well in communities across the United States and the world. The process is simple in scope and recognizes many wonderful ideas from passionate individuals who are making a real difference in their communities be those of workplaces, organizations, sports, or schools including institutions of higher learning this year. administers this certification process to showcase innovative best practices that are having an impact across the nation and abroad. encourages people with similar needs to learn from and even replicate these successful initiatives. will honor the 2019 recipients at the National Forum in Washington, D.C., October 24-27, 2019.