Melissa Stiles, MD, recently received the Excellence in Mentor­ship Award from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS). Established in 2021 as a chapter of the national or­ganization, GWIMS centers activities around educating, connecting, and celebrating women in medicine and science at SMPH. The award is just the latest in Stiles’ career as a leader and advocate in family medicine. She’s also received the UW Health Leadership Physician Excellence Award and STFM Advocacy Award among other notable accolades.

Melissa Stiles, MD

Melissa Stiles, MD

Stiles graduated from the Madi­son Residency Program in 1991 and joined the DFMCH faculty the follow­ing year to serve as center director for the UW Health Belleville Clinic. She left briefly to complete a geriatric medicine fellowship at UCLA before returning as associate director of the Madison Residency Program in 2002. It was in this role that her passion for teaching blossomed.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my profession has been to serve as a mentor to medical stu­dents, residents, and faculty—the opportunity to guide mentees at whatever point in their career they are in has truly been an honor,” said Stiles.

As the inaugural director of the SMPH Longitudinal Teacher-Coach (LTC) Program, Stiles helped develop a program that pairs faculty-physi­cians with individual medical stu­dents to advise them throughout their education to foster critical self-re­flection as part of lifelong learning. Coaches assist students in develop­ing plans to achieve academic and personal goals and assure students are meeting the milestones of gradu­ation competencies.

“I’ve been fortunate to have had wonderful mentors and see this role as integral in developing future family medicine physicians and educators,” added Stiles.

In her support of future physi­cians, Stiles shares her deep con­nection to social issues that form the foundation of her career. She is a pioneer in getting problems like domestic violence and gun con­trol recognized as health care is­sues within SMPH and has worked tirelessly with community leaders, policymakers, advocates, academia and practitioners on these and other issues including social justice, health care reform, falls prevention and healthy aging.

One of her current mentees, Julia Lubsen, MD, is inspired by Stiles’ commitment to social issues.

“I am so grateful to Melissa Stiles for her thoughtful and skilled men­torship over the past 5 years. She helped me navigate the complexities of academic medicine, teaching and scholarship, while also being a sup­portive friend and an inspiring role model,” shared Lubsen. “I continue to be inspired by her advocacy and the positive impact she has on pa­tients, learners, junior faculty and our community.”

Visit Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) for more information.

Visit the Longitudinal Teacher-Coach Program for more information.

Published: March 2023