The faculty, staff, and students of DFMCH enjoyed the first in-person gathering in more than two years to celebrate the 2022 McGovern-Tracy Awards. The reception, held in UW Memorial Union’s Great Hall, honored individuals who demonstrated the commitment to community service, outreach, and leadership inspired by Isabel McGovern Kerr’s family of pioneering physicians and the life of Michele Tracy, a second-year UW medical student who was killed while participating in an educational service program in Malawi, Africa, in July 1999.
McGovern-Tracy award and scholarship recipients enjoyed a dinner reception at UW Memorial Union’s Great Hall. See more event photos »
DFMCH Chair David Rakel, MD, kicked off the event by thanking the families of award and scholarship namesakes in attendance. He introduced the night’s keynote speakers with several inspirational quotes including the classic E.B. White quip, “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”
Bloom Where you are Planted
That determination to change the world may be what brought the keynote speakers together. Drs. Alison Miller and William Kinsey, who met at UW SMPH during residency, will soon celebrate 20 years of marriage. Their fun and thoughtful presentation addressed the blessings and challenges in their lives and careers, and the paths that led them to New Mexico and Massachusetts before returning to Wisconsin.
Drs. Alison Miller (far left) and William Kinsey (far right) share a moment with Michele Tracy’s parents, Dan Tracy (center left) and Candi Tracy (center right), after the keynote address.
Both shared tales of events that inspired them to become physicians like Kinsey’s work in the country of Malawi in East Africa and Miller’s experience with helping people in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. It was that desire to help the underserved that drew them to Massachusetts early in their careers to work in communities with strong immigrant populations including many Cambodian refugees. The experience helped them both appreciate the importance of integrative health. Meditation was promoted and taught at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center where Kinsey provided full spectrum care. Miller had a similar experience working with patients who brought their own traditions to care at the Lowell Community Health Center.
“Many of our patients embraced meditation to help quiet the ‘monkey mind’,” shared Miller. According to Buddhist principles, “monkey mind” is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless or confused.
It wasn’t until Kinsey became a patient himself, diagnosed with malignant melanoma, that the couple decided to move back with their daughters to Wisconsin to be closer to family.
“It’s the unplanned variables along the way that brought us back to Madison,” said Miller. “But we were able to bring what we learned on our journey to the next practice.”
Joyce F. Jeardeau
Miller is currently a clinical assistant professor at the UW Health Yahara Clinic where she specializes in working with patients dealing with addiction. Kinsey is a clinical assistant professor based in the UW Health 20 S. Park St. Clinic and serves patients in several other UW Health clinics.
The night also included a presentation of the first Joyce F. Jeardeau Family Medicine Memorial Scholarship. Dr. Mark Beamsley, director of the Office of Medical School Education, introduced the first recipient, Rutvi Shah. The scholarship was established by Joyce Jeardeau’s family to honor her many years of service as the DFMCH medical education program coordinator where she served as a champion for medical student education and personal wellbeing. Joyce passed away in July 2020 after a brief battle with cancer.
Meet the Recipients