Medical School

Scholarly Pathways

MCW's Scholarly Pathways allow you to individualize your medical school experience by exploring a career path that is of interest to you, and of vital importance to the lives of your future patients.


Bioethics Pathway Directors

  • Cynthiane Morgenweck, MD, MA
  • Ryan Spellecy, PhD

About the Pathway
The Bioethics Pathway will enable medical students to integrate the knowledge and tools of bioethics as an essential part of his or her career as a physician through a variety of activities that encompass close reading of the bioethics scholarly literature, discussion, and application through clinical ethics, research ethics and ethics teaching activities in a comprehensive curriculum. These activities will provide medical students the opportunity to develop their ethics skills in a variety of areas, including but not limited to clinical ethics consultation, research ethics, and participation and leadership in institutional ethics committees.

Examples of core sessions include

  • Bioethics: Isn’t it all just a matter of opinion?
  • History of Medical Ethics
  • Ethics Committees and Consultation
  • Research Ethics and Regulations
  • Law and Bioethics
  • Specialty Ethics: Pediatrics, Ob/Gyn, Surgery, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine
  • Ethical patient care in times of disaster/pandemic
  • Ethical issues in Genomic/Personalized Medicine
  • Culture, Profession, and the Virtues of Medicine

Examples of non-core hours

  • Bioethics Monthly sessions and Theme Days
  • Student/Resident led reflective writing workshops focusing on ethical issues
  • Bioethics Interest Group
  • Student-led Research Review Panel
  • Medical Humanities Annual Visiting Guest Series
  • Salient Film Series (focusing on professionalism)
  • Community Based Book Readings (e.g. Rebecca Skloot, the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks/Pauline Chen, MD, Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality)
Clinician Educator

Clinician Educator Director

  • Karen Marcdante, MD

About the Pathway

The Clinician Educator Pathway is designed for students interested in teaching and learning in medical education. Students will gain skills in teaching in the clinical setting, learn how to apply educational principles to their teaching, and develop a scholarly educational product. Core sessions include hands on activities complimented by readings/projects.

Pathway activities address

  • Developing skills to teach in various settings
  • Learning about how adults learn and different styles of learning
  • Developing instruction for medical students, residents, and other health care practitioners
  • Advising/mentoring peers and others
  • Designing evaluation tools
  • Leading groups involved in education
Global Health Pathway

Global Health Pathway Director

  • Stephen Hargarten, MD, MPH

About the Pathway

The Global Health Pathway is designed for students interested in understanding the unique healthcare needs of patients, families, and communities from  a neighborhoods to nations perspective. It prepares student for the challenges of working in these areas of the world with diverse health care resources. Core curriculum topics are consistent with those proposed by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health and other medical schools that have long been on the forefront of global health education and research. Pathway activities are coordinated with the office of the Associate Dean for Global Health.

Examples of Core Session Topics

  • Disaster management and preparedness
  • Health care delivery systems
  • Refugee, immigrant and adoptee
  • Injury prevention and control
  • The global burden of disease - trends, epidemiology and non-communicable disease
  • Skill building for working in diverse resourced conditions
  • Skill building in communicating across languages and cultures
  • Telemedicine

Non-core Individual Activities include

  • Working in local clinics and with organizations that serve immigrant, refugee or non-US born patients.
  • Researching and studying specific global health issues
  • Developing and implementing health education initiatives in the community
  • Learning about opportunities on overseas experiences during summer and spring breaks
  • Basic science topics: vaccine development, toxins, drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases, immunopathogens of infectious diseases

Global Health Pathway Information & Resources

Health Systems Management and Policy

Health Systems Management and Policy Pathway Co-Directors

  • John Meurer, MD, MBA
  • William Hueston, MD 

About the Pathway

The HSMP Pathway will help students understand health policy and the business and economics of medicine. It will also provide students with leadership skills so that they can participate in the changes needed for the U.S. health care system to improve and thrive. The goal of this Pathway is to provide a working knowledge of the health care systems for students who have an interest in pursuing administrative and leadership roles in their future, who would like to effectively advocate for the development and implementation of health policies, and who desire a deeper understanding of how health care is structured and delivered so that they will be a more valuable member or a leader in their health care organization in the future.

Core components include

  • Health systems in the U.S. and in developed countries
  • The health systems workforce in the United States
  • How health care is financed
  • Quality and variation in healthcare
  • Population health
  • Advocacy in healthcare 
Physician Scientist: Clinical and Translational Research

Physician Scientist Pathway Director

  •  David C. Brousseau, MD, MS

About the Pathway
The CTR Pathway is for students interested in complementing their clinical development with the skills required to become clinician-scientists. Through core sessions and a mentored research project, students gain an understanding of the way clinical and translational research improves patient care. This Pathway uses a hypothesis driven research project to provide the student an individualized research experience allowing for the development of research skills. Core components include:

  • Basic epidemiologic and study design principles
  • Scientific writing and presentations
  • Ethics of research
  • An individualized, mentored research project

CTR Pathway Activities

  • Monthly Pathway Physician Scientist Activities Include: Core sessions involving both large group and small group activities.  The activities are intended to improve research skills and further the completion of a research project.
  • Activity examples include: authorship, abstract writing and review, and manuscript preparation.
  • Small group sessions allow for students to present their research and receive critiques from fellow students and faculty.
Physician Scientist: Molecular and Cellular Research

About the Pathway

The MCR Pathway provides core research skills in the area of basic science research. This Pathway is focused on competencies that can be gained from scientific research that are transferable to clinical practice, including communication (oral and written), time management, information gathering, critical thinking/critical assessment (i.e. data analysis, critical reading of scientific literature), and problem solving. Students learn to work in teams and/or independently. Core components include:

  • First-hand experience in the acquisition and synthesis of new knowledge
  • In-depth understanding of a health-related issue through research
  • A mentoring relationship with a faculty mentor outside the usual course structure
  • Summary of experience or findings in a written document
  • Critical thinking skills and independent learning
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

QuIPS Pathway Director

  • Catherine (Cassie) Ferguson, MD 

About the Pathway

Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QuIPS) provides students with the core principles and skills necessary to understand and analyze the systems-based aspects of patient care, to actively engage in quality improvement work, and to enhance patient safety with the of achieving the best possible health outcomes for patients. 

The Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Pathway offers three themes

  • Learning to optimize systems of care and functions as a member of the healthcare teams
  • Principles of Safety and Medical Error
  • Development of Quality Improvement skills


  • Understand basic terminology of quality improvement and patient safety
  • Understand the basic concepts of systems as they apply to patient care.
    1. Understand the basic concepts of process mapping
    2. Define safety in systems and human factors science
    3. Understand the concept of medical error and the importance of systems versus individual accountability
  • Assess the gap between existing practices and best practices
  • Describe the importance of disclosure following adverse events
  • Describe the basic principles of quality improvement tools including rapid cycle change, six-sigma and lean
  • Participate in a quality improvement project
  • Organize and develop a written description of a quality improvement effort in a manner suitable for presentation
  • Participate in the management of an adverse event
    1. Perform a root cause analysis
    2. Demonstrate the importance of disclosure following adverse events
  • Evaluate successful and failed PI projects

QuIPS Pathway Information

Additional Resources

Urban & Community Health Pathway

Urban and Community Health Pathway Director

  • Linda Meurer, MD, MPH 

About the Pathway
Both population health and patient-centered care perspectives recognize the influence of lifestyle, socio-economic factors, community resources and environmental hazards on morbidity, mortality and well-being. The Urban & Community Health (UCH) Pathway links education with community needs and assets, to prepare students to effectively care for patients in urban communities, promote community health, and reduce health disparities.

Pathway activities address

  • The balance between biologic and non-biologic determinants of health
  • Medical conditions that disproportionately affect urban, underserved populations
  • Disparities in health, healthcare access and quality in urban settings
  • Community-based educational strategies to promote healthy behaviors
  • Partnership with public health and community agencies to meet health/ healthcare needs
  • Civic-engagement and leadership skills, including the ability to advocate for patients, communities and systems changes to improve health

UCH Pathway Information for Faculty & Community Members

Physician in the Community Pathway - MCW-Green Bay and MCW-Central Wisconsin
As an MCW-Green Bay or MCW-Central Wisconsin student, you’ll participate in our Physician in the Community Pathway, linking your medical education with the resources of our clinical partners and the needs of the Green Bay-area communities to promote health in Northern Wisconsin. This unique MCW experience is designed to cultivate your medical skills and interests, transforming them into a quest for lifelong learning in your practice as a primary care physician, general surgeon or psychiatrist.

Learn more about the Scholarly Pathways at each campus: