Mary McSweeney, MD, once went through the application process to get into the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health – then called simply the Medical School. Now she will be the person overseeing the recruitment and selection of the next generation of medical students at the school.

McSweeney, a cardiac anesthesiologist at UW Health, and associate professor at the School of Medicine and Public Health, has been hired as the next assistant dean of admissions for the MD program at the school. She started the new position July 3.

Headshot of Mary McSweeney
Mary McSweeney

Not only was she a student at UW, but after her medical school graduation, she started her career at UW Health in 1998, and has been there ever since.

The opportunity to make a difference at the school and hospital system that nurtured her through her career is one she cherishes, according to McSweeney.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said. “It’s a school I am deeply attached to.”

To enter the School of Medicine and Public Health, students must meet a set of criteria. Their applications are reviewed by the admissions committee, on which McSweeney has served since 2008.

Now, she will be in charge of recruiting students, especially reaching out to underrepresented prospective students including, minorities and those from poorer and rural parts of the state.

McSweeney, who lives near Basco, south of Madison – and maintains a hobby farm on her property – will continue to take care of cardiac patients one or two days a week.

Stepping in to an admissions process she is familiar with isn’t as simple as it may seem to the layman, she said. There is a tremendous amount to learn.

But, McSweeney does have one distinct advantage as she starts this journey, she said – the admissions staff, particularly Jane Shepard, director of admissions.

“I absolutely love the people working in admissions,” she said. She has worked with many of them since 2008 at the committee level. “My impact is to continue the excellent work they are already doing.”