Superhero fighting racism and bias in healthcare and beyond.....

Superhero of Medicine fights racism and bias   On August 20 the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation (Foundation) awarded the Superhero of Medicine award, sponsored by Exact Sciences, to Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH. Dr. Zapata was nominated in 2019 when COVID didn’t exist and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (along with many others) were still alive. In this world that is now 2020 Dr. Zapata was modest about accepting the award, stating that it is those on the frontlines fighting the virus that are the true heroes. They are. But the pandemic and these senseless killings have brought attention to issues that Dr. Zapata has been working against throughout her career – racism as a public health crisis and disparities in health care, and for this we are proud to recognize her. Renee Moe of United Way of Dane County and Janine Stephens of the Foundation for Black Women's Wellness nominated Dr. Zapata for this award and when they were asked who her nemesis was, (because all superheroes ha

Your generosity makes a huge impact!

  Thanks to donor support of our COVID-19 response fund we have supported 28 students this summer. Andrea, pictured above, shared her story of what this financial support from the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation meant to her. Thank you to all who supported and continue to support this fund. Thirty students could still use your support. A gift of $500 will provide some financial security for a medical student still struggling to recover from the loss of summer income.  Covid Response Fund The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation (Foundation)  COVID-19 Response Fund  has provided financial support to 28 Wisconsin medical students with more than 30 students waiting for aid. Andrea NiƱo de Guzman Ramirez, a second-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, shared her story of being a medical student during the pandemic: “I am writing to express my gratitude to the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation and their committed donors. Like many

What would you share with a future physician?

For nearly twenty years the Foundation has helped connect practicing physicians to first year medical students at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Physicians purchase the student's white coats and provide words of encouragement to the student. To steal from old Visa commercials, the coat is meaningful, the  wisdom priceless. Students remember and refer to those messages for years to come. This year is an unprecedented year for everyone in medicine. The Foundation has funded current students facing financial insecurity due to the virus and this next class is coming in without their traditional white coat ceremony and with no clear idea of what their education is actually going to look like. What could you share about difficult situations you have faced? What was the most meaningful advice you have been given?  In these uncertain times there are still nearly 300 students who won't be receiving a personal message. Th

Racism is a public health crisis

At WisMed Foundation, though we are a separate entity from the WisMed Society, we share many things. Office space, services and a belief that racism is a public health crisis that needs to be addressed. “I can’t breathe.” These were the harrowing last words of an American, George Floyd, spoken as a system deprived him of life. The systemic racist structure failed the promise of life to this American. Racism is a constant threat to health, medical care and longevity in America. The Wisconsin Medical Society, driven by our mission of health for Wisconsinites, declares racism to be a Public Health Crisis and calls for equity in health. Racism threatens health. Racism worsens the social determinants of health , including housing, employment, education, community and neighborhood, food and medical care. Poor housing, including homelessness, results in illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. Unemployment increases heart disease risks and overall mortality; poor education increases death

The Pandemic Pivot

I haven't seen a more descriptive picture of how these times can feel than this one of Elizabeth's daughter Ellis celebrating her solo Corona Prom. I started as Executive Director of the Foundation days after the Safer at Home order. I had taken the position excited to start thinking about how to expand our mission statewide for more impact and then COVID-19 hit. All of a sudden our mission to advance the health of the state and support medical education looked different than simply expanding our grants and scholarships. But what did it look like? Did we need to put plague masks on as well? To figure this out Elizabeth, Lori and I spent some time talking to students, physicians and those who work with them. This is what surfaced as concerns:  Physicians were worried about their communities and their abilities to meet basic needs, such as food, housing and healthcare. Smaller practices faced more challenges, especially in rural areas where the virus hadn't hit but hea