We think the UW School of Medicine and Public Health is an incredible place, where leaders are taught and bench to bedside innovation happens regularly. But don't take our word for it. Hear what our students have to say.

Rufus Sweeney and family

Rufus Sweeney, M3

What’s the best part of the curriculum?

The early hands-on experience at a longitudinal clinic.

What's the best thing about the learning environment?

The administration is very accommodating to the students' desires. Whether that's by supporting them when they have children or helping us to start a new initiative, the admin has always either helped me directly or connected me with the right people to give life to my crazy ideas.

What are your favorite things about Madison?

  • The city-sponsored programming for families
  • The world-class childcare
  • The culture of openness and dedication to equity
  • The huge array of activities both in the city and just a short drive outside of town
  • The Terrace. It's just a great place to hang out.

What five adjectives describe your classmates?

  • Warm
  • Open
  • Talented
  • Dedicated
  • Diverse
Cathryn Phouybanhdyt

Cathryn Phouybanhdyt, M2, TRIUMPH

What's the best part of the MD curriculum?

I am part of the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) program, which combines our clinical training with a public health project, which I work on for two and a half years in Milwaukee, WI. My medical interests have always been rooted in immigrant and refugee health and community health/engagement, so having the option to pursue my medical training in an environment that I would like to practice in the future allows me to dip my feet further into my more specific career path.

What's the best thing about the learning environment?

It is that we are a school of medicine AND public health, and how that thread is woven throughout our curriculum. For example, discussing the mechanisms of drugs and what is most efficacious for a certain condition is helpful, but we then apply a public health framework into our clinical reference of thinking as to who would be more susceptible to certain conditions and why along with whether or not the best treatment is the most accessible for our patients. This keeps a realistic perspective on the obstacles that our future patients face.

We also have faculty who care about our learning; our instructors are passionate clinicians who not only love their field but love teaching medical students, too.

Describe life outside of school.

Outdoor activities (hiking, camping, kayaking, etc.), biking, trying my hand at replicating my mom's recipes, dabbling on the piano, and learning languages.

What are five adjectives to describe your classmates?

  • Compassionate
  • Hard-working
  • Brilliant
  • Curious
  • Here for a good time AND a long time!
Megan Roedel

Megan Roedel, M3, WARM

What's the best part of the MD curriculum?

The integrated curriculum. It is just so intuitive to be able to learn about normal anatomy and physiology of an organ system and then simultaneously learn about disease states associated with it, how to approach the interview and physical exam of a patient presenting with a complaint related to that organ system, and how it is treated/the mechanism of the medications used to treat it. It has also helped me develop my thought process in taking care of patients during clinical rotations.

What's the best thing about the learning environment?

It has a lot of flexibility and multiple formats to allow students to find what works best for them. This includes small-group, medium-group, and lecture-style sessions (as well as a lecture capture option) and opportunities to interact with a variety of students. I was provided with enough options to figure out what settings I excelled in and also gain skills in settings I wasn't necessarily comfortable with but are important as a physician.

What's shaped your success?

My classmates have been vital to my success as a medical student. They have pushed me to work harder and learn in new ways, but have also helped me to maintain balance in my life by getting me to take breaks from studying and enjoy the social aspects of medical school. My physician mentors, many of which have been set up as part of the curriculum, have also been really important in my success, as they have been able to provide reassurance and guidance when I've struggled or had questions.

What are five adjectives to describe your classmates?

  • Impassioned
  • Cooperative
  • Accomplished
  • Devoted
  • Inspiring
Mohamed Fofana

Mohamed Fofana, M2

What's the best part of the MD curriculum?

I appreciate the three-semester didactic portion of the curriculum. It allows for more time invested in phases 2 and 3, which is the clinical portion of our curriculum. The clinical focus throughout the MD curriculum provides the tools I need to provide the best care for the patients I want to support in the future. My pursuit of medicine is to help minorities, specifically black people. This priority of mine is what makes UWSMPH, the curriculum, and its focus on public health ideal for me.

What's the best thing about the learning environment?

The appropriate and timely implementation of the feedback (provided by students) by UWSMPH leadership. Each class looks out for the following class in terms of improvements that would be beneficial for students as well as for the school. If parts of the curriculum need to be adjusted or if learning material is needed to be added, leadership addresses the concern.

What's shaped your success?

Our Longitudinal Teacher/Coach (LTC) coaches and their feedback has been instrumental towards my success as a medical student. I’m able to efficiently reflect on my strengths and weakness throughout the courses. For me to become an astute and empathetic physician to my future patients, I believe a vast amount of feedback and advice from a veteran physician is crucial in medical education.

What are five adjectives to describe your classmates?

  • Passionate
  • Supportive
  • Funny
  • Collaborative
  • Respectful
Laura Swanson

Laura Swanson, M4, MSTP

What sets UW-Madison MSTP apart?

Your peers are inclusive and welcoming. We enjoy spending time together in both professional and social settings and learning from one another’s work. That peer support is incredibly helpful in this sometimes challenging program. I also really appreciated the breadth of research available, both basic and translational.

What’s the best part of the curriculum?

I think our unique structure for medical and graduate school years works to our advantage, we do core clinical rotations (Phase 2) and take USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 before starting grad school, which allows you to have clinical experiences that could influence your thesis work before beginning your PhD.

How are you supported between MD and PhD phases?

Transitions between medical and graduate school are cohesive, with continued clinical training throughout your graduate years, and opportunities to participate in research during medical school through the Clinical and Translational Research Elective (CTRE). Weekly MSTP seminars keep us all connected; students and directors alike are easily accessible.

Favorite thing about Madison?

Because of its size, it is incredibly easy to commute whether or not you have a vehicle, and housing is very affordable. There are awesome restaurants, bars, live music venues, shops, museums, theater, and sports as well as outdoor activities such as biking and sailing. It also is within easy driving distance of Milwaukee and Chicago.