Faculty, staff, students, and friends of the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) gathered at the Pyle Center for the annual McGovern-Tracy and Student Scholars reception on April 17 to celebrate the people who lead and inspire in the field of family medicine.

Dr. Bill Schwab

Dr. Bill Schwab gives the keynote address at the McGovern-Tracy and Student Scholars reception.

The night’s keynote speaker, Dr. William Schwab, brought humor and wisdom to the event as he reflected on his career and the sense of gratitude he feels as a teacher in family medicine. The leadership roles he’s held over his 39-year career are many including director of the Madison Residency Program, vice chair for Education, and interim chair of the department from 2020-2021. He continues to engage students and faculty as director of the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program and co-lead of the LGBTQ+ Health Fellowship.

With his retirement a few short months away, Schwab was reminded of some lessons he learned as a young doctor presenting to his daughter’s elementary school class in 1994.

“I’ve reflected many times on that day sense then, and I now realize that the interactions during that hour both humbled me and illustrated some of the central precepts that sustained me through my educational career and brought me joy as a teacher,” said Schwab.

Sharing a picture of a skeleton named Hamlet, considered a long-time “member” of the educational staff at the UW Health Northport Drive Clinic, Schwab explained he was confident they would make a good team as he set out to help kids better understand the human body during the “ask the doctor” part of their lesson. But according to Schwab, it was he who was the student that day.

With questions from the youngsters ranging from “Why do you have to go to the bathroom when you hear water?” to “What makes us sick?”, “Why do we sneeze?” and even “How many years does it take to die?”, Schwab realized the simple anatomy lesson he planned wasn’t enough. He embraced the opportunity to share what he knew and learn what the students needed.

Each question, whether humorous or heartbreaking, illustrated some of the greatest lessons Schwab has learned as a teacher: embrace the teachable moments, share uncertainty, keep things fun, respond to the learning style of the student, and be ready to deal with the tough stuff.

“In addition to dealing with the tough stuff in family medicine we have the glorious opportunity every day to celebrate the common things,” added Schwab.  “As teachers we share the same quest with our learners and to do that is a celebration. “

In closing Schwab urged the next generation of doctors to share their gratitude for the wonder.

“Be a teacher. It is desperately needed, and it is enormously satisfying,” he concluded.

Schwab’s address was the perfect introduction to a night designed to celebrate students, their teachers, and the people who support them.

Meet the Award Recipients

McGovern-Tracy Awards

McGovern-Tracy Resident Scholars, from left: Melanie Biegler, DO, Ashlyn Brown, MD, Rebeca Liebl, MD.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

McGovern-Tracy Medical Student Scholars, from left: Kevin Dunn, Gabriella Geiger, Kya Vaughn, Sydnee Livingston.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Miranda Rahmer (left) accepts the Jan Ashe Memorial Award from Dr. Bill Schwab.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Lester Brillman Student Scholars, from left: Carlos Torres (also received the Brillman Leadership and Advocacy Award), Liana Mixon, Meghan Zander, Juan Aguirre Villalobos. Not pictured: Kristianna Klammer (also received the Joyce F. Jeardeau Family Medicine Memorial Scholarship), Pa Ta Xiong (also received the WAFP Founders Award).

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Vogel Scholarship, from left: Meghan Zander, Juan Aguirre Villalobos.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Robert F. and Irma K. Korbitz Endowed Scholarship, Samantha Busch (left) and Liana Mixson. Not pictured: Amina Maamouri, Tessa Meurer.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Jacob Bryan, MD, (right) receives the Dr. Lester Brillman Mentorship in Family Medicine Award from DFMCH Chair Dr. David Rakel.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Alonzo Jalan, MD, (right) receives the Dr. Lester Brillman Mentorship in Family Medicine Award from DFMCH Chair Dr. David Rakel.

McGovern-Tracy Awards

Chair’s Award, from left: Larry Pheifer, Sue McGuire, David Ringdahl, MD.

More Event Photos

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Published: April 2024