Women’s History Month 2014 – education mission

March 03, 2014 College News - In honor of Women’s History Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin has created a series of video vignettes and stories that will be posted online during the month of March. The vignettes highlight many of our women faculty, staff and students and the contributions they have made. The stories highlight MCW programs that improve women’s health or help women develop as students, physicians, researchers, educators and leaders.

The first story in the series features numerous programs in place at MCW to help educate students and faculty about women’s health issues and help women grow as students, physicians, leaders, educators and researchers. All of the vignettes and stories will be added to MCW’s Women’s History Month 2014 Web page as they are published.

Student programs

The MCW student chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association, run by MCW medical students, promotes the advancement of women in medicine and the improvement of women’s health by providing educational seminars, interaction among female medical students and physicians, leadership opportunities to its members, and opportunities for community service. This past year, the organization held a clothing drive for a women's shelter, raised funds to help sex trafficking victims, prepped/served food at the Ronald McDonald House, and coordinated the Ms. Medical Mastermind event to introduce medical school to high school students of diverse backgrounds.  Also run by medical students, the MCW Obstetrics and Gynecology Interest Group provides male and female students with opportunities in the field of women’s health and reproduction through tag-a-long opportunities with Ob/Gyn residents and faculty, pairing medical students with pregnant moms, and various types of educational events.

National women’s executive leadership program

Since 1997, 12 Medical College of Wisconsin women faculty members have been selected for the prestigious Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) Program for Women.

The faculty members selected include: (* indicates the person is not a current member of the MCW faculty, but participated in the program as a MCW faculty member)

  • Diane W. Braza, MD, Chair and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2013-2014)
  • Ann Rosenthal, MD Will and Cava Ross Professor of Medicine, Chief of Rheumatology and Vice Chair for Faculty Development Department of Medicine, (2012-2013)
  • Julie A. Panepinto, MD, MSPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Clinical Effectiveness Research, (2011-2012)
  • Marilyn M. Schapira, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine (2010-2011)*
  • Patricia A. Donohoue, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology, (2009-2010)
  • Beth A. Drolet, MD,  Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics and Vice Chair of Dermatology (2008-2009)
  • Judy R. Kersten, MD, Professor and Senior Vice Chair of Anesthesiology (2006-2007)
  • Mary F. Otterson, MD, Professor of Surgery (2004-2005)
  • Gabriele E. Sonnenberg, MD, Department of Medicine (2002-2003)*
  • Earnestine Willis, MD, MPH, Kellner Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Underserved Children, and , Director of Health Equity and Urban Clinical Care Partnerships (1998-1999)
  • Karen J. Marcdante, MD, Professor of Pediatrics (1997-1998)
  • Julie Freischlag, MD, Department of Surgery (1996-1997)*

Additionally, Paula M. Termuhlen, MCW Professor of Surgery (Surgical Oncology), Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program and Faculty Leader of the Community Medical Education Program, received a 2008-2009 ELAM award when she was Chief, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology at Wright State University Boonschoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio.

Administered by Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, the one-year program prepares senior women faculty for leadership at academic health centers. The curriculum combines traditional MBA training, such as finance and organizational theory, which is oriented toward the academic health center environment. It also incorporates activities that enhance personal and professional development around leadership, career advancement, communication, and the use of information and learning technologies.

Society of Teaching Scholars and Edward J. Lennon Endowed Clinical Teaching Award

MCW is nationally recognized for its innovation in medical education, and women faculty have played a vital role as innovators, scholars and leaders in medical school education, continuing education, and graduate education. The Medical College of Wisconsin was among the first medical schools in the United States to form a Society of Teaching Scholars (STS) to recognize educators, and induction into the society recognizes leadership, innovation, and teaching excellence. Many women faculty have been inducted, including 13 current women faculty members. Current female faculty who are members of STS, in order of induction:

  • Deborah Simpson, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Family and Community Medicine  (1992)
  • Karen Marcdante, MD, Professor of Pediatrics  (1995)
  • Margaret Wong-Riley, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy (1996)
  • Cecilia Hillard, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Director of the Neuroscience Research Center (2002)
  • Joan Bedinghaus, MD, Professor of Family and Community Medicine (2005)
  • Karen Brasel, MD, MPH, Professor of Surgery (Trauma and Critical Care) (2008)
  • Elena Holak, MD, Pharm D, Professor of Anesthesiology (2009)
  • Linda Meurer, MD, MPH, Professor of Family and Community Medicine (2009)
  • Beth Krippendorf, PhD, Associate Professor of Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy (2010)
  • Kathryn Lauer, MD, Professor and Vice Chairman of Anesthesiology (2010)
  • Diane Braza, MD, Chair and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2011)
  • Julie Mitchell, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Chief of General Internal Medicine (2011)
  • Sally Twining, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry (2012)

Former President and Dean Dr. Edward J. Lennon established The Edward J. Lennon Endowed Clinical Teaching Award to annually recognize one full-time MCW faculty member in the early part of his/her career who has clearly "made a difference" in the teaching programs of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Women are frequently selected for this high honor, reflective of their excellence as teachers and emerging leadership roles as residency and fellowship directors, course directors, and educational innovators. Current female faculty members who have received the award, in the order selected:

  • Wendy Larson-Peltier, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology (1999)
  • Patricia Lye, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Hospital Medicine (2000)
  • Karen Brasel, MD, MPH, Professor of Surgery (Trauma and Critical Care) (2002)
  • Elena Holak, MD, PharmD, Professor of Anesthesiology (2003)
  • Kathryn Denson, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics and Gerontology) (2006)
  • Nancy Havas, MD, Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine (2009)
  • Kimberly Stoner, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) (2011)
  • Angela Bier MD Assistant  Professor of Pediatrics (2012) (recently left MCW)
  • Sajani Tipnis MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (2012) (recently left MCW)
  • Heather Toth, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine(General Internal Medicine) (2012)

Number of women medical school graduates

In 1978, 16 women (or 13% of the graduating class) graduated from the MCW Medical School. In 2012, 90 women graduated, representing 47% of the graduating class.

Women’s health education programs for students, residents and faculty

The Medical College of Wisconsin offers a variety of courses and fellowships aimed at teaching students, residents and faculty members about women’s health issues.

Family and Community Medicine: Women’s Health – Family Centered Care Emphasizing Ob is a clinical elective for fourth-year medical students offered by the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Participants work with faculty and staff at the Columbia St. Mary’s Family Health Center to obtain a comprehensive clinical experience in family medicine emphasizing women’s health and obstetrics.

Obstetrics/Gynecology – Women’s Health is a “selective” for fourth-year medical students that provides an overview on how to provide comprehensive women’s health care, including preventive health, clinical evaluation and management of conditions unique to women, and the disease processes unique to women. The course is a multi-disciplinary rotation that includes experiences with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, and the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Women’s Health Elective—Internal Medicine Residency Program is an elective for General Internal Medicine residents that offers participants an overview on how to provide comprehensive women’s health care.  This experience gives future internal medicine specialists a view of women’s health procedures from the patient’s perspective and more understanding of subspecialty approaches across disciplines. 

Zablocki VA Advanced Fellowship in Women’s Health is a two-year academic fellowship aimed at training MDs and Doctorates in women’s health, with the goal of improving the health of women veterans. The funding for the fellowship program was awarded based on work within the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center.  Fellows receive experience from experts in MCW’s Departments of Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Urology. The fellowship prepares participants for an academic career, offering a choice between research, clinical and education tracks.  PhD fellows come from allied health fields such as psychology and nursing, the latter through a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  This year, we graduate our first two fellows from this program.