Medical school is a challenging but transformative experience. Success relies heavily on an individual's intellect, judgement and self-discipline, but no physician would tell you they got through alone. Mentors play a key role in shaping medical students' paths. Meet some of the people who could be your mentor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Pamela Ryan, MD
Clinical role: General Internist, Division of Internal Medicine
Mentoring role: Academic and Career Advising Program Mentor
What you love about mentoring: I enjoy getting to know students on an individual level, starting with their first year of medical school. As a house mentor, I meet with students individually to learn more about their personal and professional goals and provide academic and career advising. Medical school is exciting, challenging, and humbling. I am grateful to be part of an amazing team that supports our students!
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: I really appreciate the commitment to public health and the amazing group of people who work and study here.
Favorite thing about Madison: I love the lakes and easy access to the outdoors. The UW Arboretum is right in town, but yet a beautiful urban escape into nature.
Advice for applicants: Look for a program that is going to support you individually--both personally and professionally. Talk to currently enrolled medical students, and ask them about their experience. Reach out to faculty or the admissions group with any questions or concerns.
Hobbies: I love the outdoors—hiking, biking, kayaking, open water swimming, and cross country skiing.
Favorite midnight snack: Yogurt covered pretzels
David Kiefer, MD
Clinical role: Medical Director Integrative Health Consult Clinic, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
Mentoring role: Clinical, research, global health field experiences, extracurriculars (integrative health topics), and as a Longitudinal Teacher Coach
What you love about mentoring: The chance to assist learners in realizing their educational goals, and I also find myself learning interesting things along the way.
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: The vibrant student energy, and climate of learning, creativity, advocacy, and service.
Favorite thing about Madison: The endless possibilities for outdoor recreation and nature
Advice for applicants: Ask as many questions as you can think of about the program, the curriculum, and opportunities to personalize your education.
Hobbies: I own a vineyard and play banjo.
Favorite midnight snack: Granola
Makeba Williams, MD, NCMP
Clinical role: Chief, Division of Academic Specialists in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Mentoring role: I mentor medical students at various stages of matriculation from first year to fourth year.
What you love about mentoring: Mentoring has played such an important role in my professional and personal development. Mentoring students at SMPH is one of the many ways that I aim to pay it forward and invest in our next generation of healthcare professionals. I enjoy being a part of the transformation process as students level up to achieve their goals.
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: I am so fortunate to be a part of an SMPH community that allows me to work with really great people: patients, colleagues, and students, all of whom challenge me to grow and learn.
Favorite thing about Madison: The natural beauty: lakes and prairies.
Advice for applicants: We expect that you are smart, driven and ambitious, so Lean In and Share. We are excited to learn about you, your whole self. In our quest to build an inclusive academic environment, I encourage you to share your greatness and what makes you special.
Hobbies: My four favorite activities are reading, writing, golfing, and playing the piano. I enjoying doing all of these activities with my two young children and my husband.
Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla
Prabhav Kenkre, MD
Clinical role: Hospitalist at University Hospital
Mentoring role: Longitudinal Teacher Coach
What you love about mentoring: Seeing rapid growth of early medical students and the transition to clinical medicine
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: Camaraderie amongst fellow medical students
Favorite thing about Madison: Summers
Advice for applicants: Do not hesitate to ask for feedback and advice regarding the application process, from multiple sources
Hobbies: Sports (especially soccer—brother played for the UW Badgers), reading (large variety of subjects including Richard Dawkins)
Favorite ice cream flavor: Butter pecan ice cream
Andrea M. Spiker, MD
Clinical role: Assistant Professor, Orthopedic Surgery; Director of UW Hip Preservation Program; Team Physician UW Badger Athletics
Mentoring role: Shapiro Summer Research program; research mentoring; clinical shadowing
What you love about mentoring: My mentors were (and still are) my coaches, my supporters, my life raft at times, my inspiration, my friends, and now my colleagues. I am grateful for my own mentors and want to pay it forward, and help the future generations of medical students succeed, excel, and be able to achieve their goals and dreams.
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: I have been continually impressed by the high standards of the institution and the UW’s commitment to research and its faculty, staff, and students. This is reflected in the exceptional quality of UW medical students, and the support UW offers in helping each of its teams succeed.
Favorite thing about Madison: Madison is truly a magical place. Madison offers the perfect mix of city, the state capitol, college town, outdoor adventure wonderland, culture, art, and great food; and it's a friendly community to boot.
Advice for applicants: Applying for medical school is daunting, but it is so worth it. You’ve done the hard work up to this point so that you can enter medical school to become a doctor, and continue working hard! Stay focused, trust in yourself, and know that all of this effort will pay off in the end.
Hobbies: I love running, spending time outdoors, and spending time with my family.
Favorite ice cream flavor(s): Chocolate, peanut butter chocolate
Marcus Chacon, MD
Clinical role: I practice vascular neurology (stroke) at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and at the VA hospital
Mentoring role: My primary role has been as a leader for the medical student clerkship experience in neurology. I have mentored students going into neurology, psychiatry, and family medicine.
What you love about mentoring: It is rewarding to see students develop and gain their set of skills and confidence. The best is seeing a former learner flourishing in their career.
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: My colleagues. They are smart, talented, and great to work with.
Favorite thing about Madison: The "vibe" from being a university town and the bike network.
Advice for applicants: Do not be afraid to highlight your personal characteristics that define you. Gravitate toward a school where there is an environment that will foster your success.
Hobbies: Running: especially marathon and half marathon distances. Biking: around town, Rails-to-Trails, and some winter biking. Reading: enjoy all types of reading and reading with my kids. Soccer
Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate peanut butter cup gelato
Vanessa Rein, MD
Clinical role: I'm a clinical endocrinologist and the medical director for the endocrine outpatient and inpatient clinical programs.
Mentoring role: I am a longitudinal teaching coach for medical students. I help facilitate case-based learning sessions, I teach students how to interview and examine standardized patients, and I also mentor/coach students on academic goals throughout their four years of training.
What you love about mentoring: I really enjoy having the opportunity to help students develop their strengths and address their challenges so that they can grow and be successful in their future careers.
Favorite thing about UWSMPH: A strong sense of community.
Favorite thing about Madison: I love all of the outdoor activities that Madison offers. I really love going to the Farmer's Market, walking, and biking on trails that run throughout Madison as well as boating on the lakes.
Advice for applicants: Be yourself during interviews. Try to relax and let your natural personality shine.
Hobbies: I like to take on all sorts of DIY home projects. Recent projects include distressing furniture and stenciling a wall in my home. I love nature walks, swimming, and baking all things sweet!
Favorite midnight snack: Chocolate graham crackers, favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip