In May, the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) will be wishing a fond farewell to its founding director, Byron Crouse, MD, who will retire after 17 years at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Crouse has served as the associate dean for rural and community health since 2001, the director of WARM since 2006 and director of the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program since 2011. He previously directed the Fourth-Year Preceptorship and the Longitudinal Rural Rotation.

Byron Crouse photo
Byron Crouse

When asked about his thoughts and plans for retirement, Crouse commented:

“The past 17 years at the SMPH have been exciting and rewarding. When I started, I was charged with developing programs to address the health care disparities in rural Wisconsin. What I found was that there were already a number of rural initiatives at the SMPH, but they were like a jigsaw puzzle that had been scattered around. With the help of many committed and passionate rural advocates, we were able to get the pieces in one place, create the missing pieces and put the puzzle together. We now have a robust set of programs that complement each other and other initiatives in Wisconsin to help promote the health of rural Wisconsin residents.

“While I am extremely proud of the outcomes of the WARM program, I am even more excited about the opportunities for the future. The SMPH is in the midst of implementing the new ForWard curriculum and I am proud of the number of features we had started in WARM that are now part of the new curriculum. With the new curriculum, it is time to strategically look at new opportunities to enhance WARM. I think it will be very exciting for the new director and the many WARM partners to develop a ‘WARM 2.0.’

“I am certain that I will miss many colleagues, friends and students as I leave Madison. However, I look forward to living full-time in the Rice Lake/Spooner area and enjoying the wonders of northern Wisconsin. I look forward to being actively engaged in many community opportunities in the region.”

WARM is recruiting a new director and hopes to have one selected before May to facilitate a smooth transition.