Bill Schwab, MD

Bill Schwab, MD

Bill Schwab, MD, will receive the 2024 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Leadership during a special celebration at the Fluno Center on April 24. The Academic Staff Excellence Awards for teaching, research, leadership, public service, service to the university and career achievement were established to give recognition to academic staff members who have had outstanding university careers.

A Career Driven by Advocacy and Patient-Centered Care

Schwab was born and raised in Madison where his strong connection to the community grew as an undergraduate at the UW. He continued his education at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, where he earned his medical degree, and later moved to Charlottesville to complete his family practice residency at the University of Virgnia.

Schwab worked as a family physician in southern West Virginia, providing essential care to those in need. His commitment to patient-centered medicine and family well-being blossomed during this period, and he realized it was time to bring his career and family back home.

Schwab joined the faculty of the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) in 1985. Since then, he has been a beacon of excellence in leadership and medical education. As a past director of the Madison Residency Program, he nurtured the next generation of physicians and continues to support faculty, staff, and learners across multiple fellowship and residency programs within the DFMCH.

A nationally recognized advocate for patient- and family-centered care, Schwab believes in forging partnerships with patients, families, and communities to create welcoming healthcare environments. His work extends beyond clinical practice; he has led federally funded projects on the primary care of individuals with autism and developmental screening.

A Natural Leader

In addition to the residency program, Schwab shared his leadership skills in several roles including director of the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program, vice chair for Education for DFMCH, chair of the State Graduate Medical Education Committee, and assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education. As interim chair of the DFMCH from 2020-2021, his compassion and guidance helped faculty and staff navigate challenges during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m thrilled to see Dr. Bill Schwab honored with the Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Leadership,” shares DFMCH Vice Chair for Education Ildi Martonffy, MD. “This award seeks to honor those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in our institution. I have been privileged to witness Bill’s impact personally as well as to benefit from how he has shaped and expanded our department and our specialty.”

The local and national impact of Schwab’s leadership and dedication is not only reflected in the numerous awards on his CV but in the anthology of a career that shows the breadth and evolution of family medicine, according to Martonffy. Among his many accolades, Schwab received the Humanism in Medicine Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, jointly with the Arnold P. Gold Foundation; the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians Educator of the Year Award; and was named the DFMCH Baldwin E. Lloyd, MD, Clinical Teacher of the Year.

Martonffy adds, “Bill shares his wisdom freely and supports others in a way that ensures our department continues to thrive. The relationships he has built across our institution have helped our department grow.”

A Vision for Inclusive Healthcare

Schwab continues to shape medical education. His commitment to learner-centered programs and compassionate care underscores his vision for a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system.

His legacy extends far beyond the walls of the clinic and his impact on medical education, patient advocacy, and community health serves as an inspiration to all aspiring healthcare professionals.

“I have had the privilege of serving in a number of leadership positions in the DFMCH over the past four decades. In my view, this chancellor’s award for leadership is actually recognition of our entire department for intensely leaning into our missions during the period that I was interim chair, a time when we were collectively experiencing unprecedented upheaval and distress,” shares Schwab.  “With dedication and innovation, we maintained our commitments to clinical care, education, research, and community health in amazing ways.  My role was to encourage, connect, support, and communicate.  I am truly grateful to the many outstanding people throughout our department who were partners in those efforts.  I am accepting this award on behalf of all of us.”

Congratulations Dr. Schwab!

Photos from 2024 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Leadership Celebration

Dr. Bill Schwab and UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin

Dr. Bill Schwab (right) receives the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Leadership from UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin (left) at a ceremony in April. (Photo credit: Donna Cole)

Academic Staff Excellence Awards

DFMCH colleagues congratulate Dr. Bill Schwab at the Academic Staff Excellence Awards. From left: David Rakel, Ildi Martonffy, Sandra Kamnetz, Schwab, Jerome Garett, and Donna Cole. (Photo credit: Donna Cole)

Published: April 2024 | Updated with photos from event.