Deanna Benish, MD, received the 2018 Max Fox Preceptor Award from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The school gives the prestigious award annually to an outstanding preceptor whose effective service as a mentor and teacher has guided medical students.

A family practice physician who also does obstetrics at Reedsburg Area Medical Center, Benish has been a preceptor to fourth-year medical students since 2006; she has worked at the medical center since 2001.

The Benish family
The Benish family, clockwise from top left, Deanna Benish, MD; Steven Benish, PhD; and their children, Lincoln, age 8, and Naomi, age 11; missing from the photo is their daughter Grace, age 14.

“Dr. Benish serves as an outstanding role model for our students,” says Robert N. Golden, MD, dean of the SMPH. “She provides each of them with individualized learning experiences in a rural setting.”

Noting that one of the school’s primary goals is to increase the number of physicians who practice medicine in Wisconsin, especially in underserved rural and urban areas, he continues, “I thank her and the Reedsburg Area Medical Center—as well as the Reedsburg, Wisconsin, community—for helping us achieve this goal. They do so by providing the resources and displaying the commitment that allows our medical students to gain experiences needed to improve health in rural communities.”

A student who worked with Benish shares, “Dr. Benish was a great teacher. In particular, she showed what it meant to truly care about your patients and to get to know each one as a person. Also, she gave me appropriate autonomy to learn in a hands‑on way.”

Benish comments, “I am honored and humbled to receive the Max Fox Preceptor Award. To me, it represents a commitment that Reedsburg Area Medical Center has made to students and adult learners. I have been blessed to be able to work with medical students here, and I feel privileged to be able to mentor them in my role as a preceptor.”

She continues, “Our medical staff has been very welcoming of this opportunity, as well, and secondarily the students receive a broad and well-rounded experience. I look forward to continuing to share my medical knowledge and experience with students from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.”

Benish grew up in the small, rural town of Oostburg, Wisconsin. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she played college basketball.

Next, she earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and completed a family medicine residency at Waukesha Memorial Hospital in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

She and her husband, Steven Benish, PhD—who earned his doctorate in education at UW-Madison—have three children: Grace, age 14, Naomi, age 11, and Lincoln, age 8.