Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine was created to address physician shortages and focuses on admitting and training students committed to improving the health of rural communities. Meet some of the students who have answered that calling.

Spencer Treu

Spencer, class of 2023

Hometown: Hillsboro, Wisconsin

Medical interests: General surgery and emergency medicine are the specialties I’m most interested in. I’m intrigued by small businesses and rural economies and how these factor into health. I’m also passionate about teaching and hope I can work that into my career as well.

Personal hobbies: I enjoy a lot of outdoor recreation activities. My favorites include snowboarding, backpacking, mountain biking, and climbing.

Why I chose WARM: The WARM program was exactly what I was looking for when applying to medical school. My goal is to serve a rural community in Wisconsin, but I aim to do more than just see patients. When looking into medical schools, I wanted to find a program that would give me hands-on experience learning in rural hospitals and clinics, allow me the opportunity to work with rural communities, and teach me how to address health issues from a public health standpoint. WARM met all these requests and more. Not to mention it was also close to home being an in-state school for me.

What I love about WARM: The first benefit to the WARM program is the location of the clinic sites. Rotating at smaller clinics and hospitals allows the opportunity for more hands-on learning. There are only a handful of students at each clinic site which means more one-on-one learning with providers and residents. Knowing I want to work in a rural community, getting this experience is incredibly valuable. We also have the opportunity to work on rural health community projects. This combined with the fact that our school of medicine is also a school of public health, ensures we receive a solid foundational skillset to address issues much bigger than the clinic visit. Despite all of these incredible aspects to the program, the thing I love most about WARM is the community we have. I’ve gained so many great friends from the program and always feel supported by our administration.

Ali Lohr

Ali, class of 2021

Hometown: Reedsburg, Wisconsin

Medical interests: General surgery; caring for underserved populations both locally and internationally

Personal hobbies: volleyball, darts, cribbage, euchre, hiking and kayaking

Why I chose WARM: I was drawn to the duality of the WARM program, as it not only allowed me to build a solid foundation in medical knowledge at a renowned institution like UW Madison, but also provided me with the opportunity to gain clinical exposure in a rural setting. Having completed my undergraduate degree in La Crosse and volunteered at Gundersen Health System, I knew the kind-hearted and compassionate nature of providers at the institution, and I was eager to return to be able to learn from knowledgeable medical professionals who possess the qualities I aspire to emulate as a future rural physician.

What I love about WARM: I can honestly say that WARM has far exceeded my expectations beyond what I could have ever imagined. Above all, what I love most about the WARM program are the close-knit relationships formed. During didactics in Madison, the WARM staff created an inclusive and supportive environment, dedicated to getting to know students on a personal level while supporting professional development. This is emphasized even more so during clinical years at individual sites where the smaller group size facilitates a strong bond between classmates, site coordinators, and physician faculty. Not only did our WARM site coordinators and faculty provide career advising to promote our professional aspirations, but they were always available to listen when we experienced personal struggles or successes. It’s truly an incredible and unique experience to be a part of something that prepares students for a career in rural medicine with a solid medical foundation and is composed of staff that genuinely care about your personal well-being.

Kali Olson

Kali, class of 2021

Hometown: De Pere, Wisconsin

Medical interests: public health, women’s health, rural healthcare

Personal hobbies: cycling, gardening, playing with my dog Tanker, reading, enjoying time with family

Why I chose WARM: I chose to apply to the WARM program after a campus visit to UWSMPH during undergrad. The program was highlighted during a presentation, and I remember how excited I was listening to how the program’s values reflected my own, such as serving rural underserved communities through the practice of medicine and public health. Also, the idea of having a small cohort of peers entering into medical school with the same interests appealed to me. Having lived in WI my whole life and the majority of my family and my spouse’s family in the state, I knew we would want to continue our future here especially in the small towns we grew up in.

Benefits of WARM: The benefits of WARM have honestly exceeded my expectations. We recently participated in a WARM student exclusive emergency preparedness training at the Lacrosse campus with medical skills and scenarios, a visit from the local med flight crew (helicopter and all), and team building experiences. I chose to return close to my hometown for our Phase 2 clinical rotations. Here and in Madison, we have exceptional staff that are easily accessible and excited to support us. As rotating medical students within a facility without residents, we get to work one on one with attendings allowing for a robust education, hands on experience, and genuine professional relationships.

Lakita Maulson


Hometown: Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin

Undergrad degree: B.S. in Kinesiology from UW-Madison (2015)

Medical interests: American Indian/Alaska Native Health; Full-Spectrum Family Medicine; Addiction Medicine

Personal hobbies: Reading, playing basketball, traveling, hiking, camping, and fishing.

Why I chose WARM: I chose WARM because I was greatly interested in working for a rural, Tribal community, so WARM seemed like a great fit for me to achieve my educational goals. I was also excited that WARM was willing to work with our Native American Center for Health Professions to find ways to provide me with opportunities to rotate in our Wisconsin Tribal clinics.

What I love about WARM: I love that WARM integrates us into rural communities and that our training is with rural-based residents and physicians. This has helped me gain a much larger understanding of the scope of practice for rural physicians. It has also brought to light what future challenges I may face and how to better address them, as well as what future aspects of working in a rural community I can potentially look forward to. Also, as WARM students we get a lot of direct experience working closely with the attending (supervising) physicians, meaning our hands-on experience with things like surgery, obstetrics, and office procedures is pretty excellent from a medical-student perspective