Demonstrating their commitment to education and community health, several University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) faculty hold advisory roles in UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Community Service Programs—student-run programs that provide meaningful service and learning experiences, and address a recognized community need.

Two DFMCH faculty are also among the first to receive awards for their compassion and teaching as MEDiC clinician volunteers.

Below, meet the DFMCH faculty who share their time and expertise to benefit our students and communities.

Anne Kolan, MD: Medical Students Offering Maternal Support (MoMS)

Anne Kolan, MDDr. Kolan is a faculty advisor for the Medical Students Offering Maternal Support (MoMS) program, in which medical students offer social and emotional support to pregnant women by attending prenatal appointments and being present at labor and delivery.

In addition to giving program orientation talks, Dr. Kolan works with student leaders to brainstorm ideas for lunch discussions, connects them with clinics throughout Madison and help them improve the program. She has also presented on integrative approaches to pregnancy and labor.

Noting that many students have never seen labor or birth upon entering medical school, Dr. Kolan says the program allows them to develop a meaningful relationship with an expecting mother and to experience the birth process from the perspectives of both the patient and the medical professionals.

She added that students have developed a program newsletter, have published and presented the program nationally at conferences, and have been contacted by other institutions to help develop similar programs there.

“She insists on taking the student leaders (and me) out for lunch each summer, and she shares her professional and personal experiences,” notes Kristi Jones MPH, CHES, director of community service programs at the SMPH. “The student leaders love hearing about her years as a SMPH medical student, her work in integrative health, and her efforts to juggle medical practice and motherhood. “

Dr. Kolan recalls the program from her time as a resident in the DFMCH’s Madison program. She especially remembers a student who went out of her way to connect with a mom in the program: supporting her through difficult decisions, being present for her long labor and continuing to come with her to medical appointments after the baby was born.

“When the opportunity presented itself to take on the faculty advisor role, I was eager to get back involved,” Dr. Kolan reflects. “I think this is an invaluable experience for students—to remind them of the importance of community service, and to expose many of them to primary care and the rewarding relationships that can develop with our patients, while witnessing the incredible miracle of birth!”

Jonas Lee, MD: Allied United for Health

Jonas Lee, MDDr. Lee is a faculty advisor for the Allied United for Health program, in which medical students provide hands-on health education to school-age children at the Allied Learning Center after-school program, and engage in health education with African-American women leaders from this neighborhood.

Having already worked with community organizations in the Allied neighborhood who were trying to address health concerns there, Dr. Lee took on the faculty advisory role to align his and the program’s activities with goals and needs identified by the community.

He helps students in the program tailor health education to topics most important to the community. Specifically, he encourages them to take into account health literacy in all teaching and written materials, to include actionable items in their presentations and to seek feedback on events that they hold.

Dr. Lee has attended several of those events, in which community members came to the medical campus to try out the simulation lab and tour the helicopter flight pad. He says community members were excited to see the inner workings of medical education and have a hands-on experience in the hospital.

“It’s great for my students to watch him engage with these women [leaders],” notes Jones. “I hope that [students] learn humility and empathy (and the power of hugs!) from seeing him in action for a few hours.”

“The community members feel great pride in feeling that they, too, are contributing to the medical education of our students,” Dr. Lee recalls. “They believe it’s important for the students to get to know members of neighborhoods that are struggling in the sea of prosperity of Madison. They enjoy being able to discuss their experiences, both good and bad, with the health care system.”

He also notes that students in the program have been surprised by community members’ candor and deep interest in health topics, especially around substance use.

Alison Miller, DO: Doctors Ought to Care (DOC)

Alison Miller, DODr. Miller is a faculty advisor for Doctors Ought to Care (DOC), a national organization of physicians and medical students that partners with young people to promote healthy lifestyles.

SMPH students who participate in DOC provide hands-on health education to students of all ages at local schools and community organizations. They use a variety of intriguing visual aids, such as reproductive system models, charts, and actual healthy or diseased organs to provide fun, dynamic presentations to their audiences. Topics include organ systems, healthy lifestyles and body image, sexual health, tobacco use and careers in medicine.

Dr. Miller says the DOC program at SMPH is almost entirely run by students, but she enjoys assisting them as they educate young people in the community.

“Dr. Miller…made a point of stopping by my office to introduce herself,” says Jones. “I’m grateful that her support is available if needed.”

Published: July 2018

Drs. Bethany Howlett, Thomas Hahn Are Among First Katcher-Schalch Awardees

In 2016, the SMPH began giving two Katcher-Schalch Awards each year to student-nominated MEDiC clinician volunteers who embody compassion for underserved patients and a passion for teaching. DFMCH faculty were among the award winners in both 2016 and 2017.

Bethany Howlett, MDBethany Howlett, MD, who practices at the UW Health DeForest-Windsor Clinic and volunteers at MEDiC’s Salvation Army Clinic, received one of the Katcher-Schalch awards in 2016.

The student who nominated her praised how she works to resolve complex cases, giving an example of when she collaborated with a social worker to get a MEDiC patient into BadgerCare and stable housing. “Dr. Howlett is talented at teaching while still connecting and relating to students, making them feel included in the conversation” the student also said.

Thomas Hahn, MDThomas Hahn, MD, who practices at the UW Health Verona Clinic, received one of the awards in 2017.

The student who nominated him commended his skill at advocating for patients to ensure they can complete the care plan established by MEDiC volunteers. The student noted how Dr. Hahn pursued needed surgical care for a patient who was deemed ineligible for hospital charity care. “He does a great job of pushing students to think about their patients’ circumstances beyond the walls of the clinic,” the student added.