Each University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health graduating class has one or more class representatives who play an integral role in working with the Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association (WMAA) to plan class reunions. Those featured here hope classmates will join them at their reunions in fall 2019.

Milton McMillen, MD ’74

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Milton McMillen photo

I established my emergency medicine career in La Crosse, Wisconsin, at St. Francis Hospital, which became part of the Mayo system. I worked in La Crosse and Sparta until I retired in 2014, and I continued as supplemental staff through 2017. I was able to see patients with a variety of medical conditions; teach American Heart Association (AHA) life support classes; train paramedics; and participate in Wisconsin leadership endeavors with the AHA and the American College of Emergency Medicine. I was the first emergency physician to become the chief of staff for St. Francis Medical Center.

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

I’ll always remember working with my anatomy tank partners; playing cards over lunch; seeing patients at the Veterans Administration and Mendota hospitals; and learning with such a great group of classmates and teachers.

What are your hobbies/interests?

My partner and I have a fleet of colorful late ’50s to early ’60s restored cars that we take to shows, and we live in an 1886 lumber baron’s Queen Anne Victorian home that we restored in La Crosse. We also have a winter home in California. We stay active with gardening, hiking and an occasional boat outing on the Mississippi River.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

I recall many experiences with the legendary Drs. Otto Mortenson, Helen Dickie and William Middleton.

What are your plans for your reunion?

Our reunion will include festivities planned by the WMAA — we’ll have special tables for our gatherings — and the Badger football game. Hopefully, our classmates have more freedom now to attend. It has always been delightful to catch up and renew friendships. I believe we all would like to see what we look like in our maturity and share memories.

Other updates

After my medical training, I was quite career oriented until I came to accept being gay. I was fortunate to meet my life partner, Paul, 32 years ago.

Ann Bartos Merkow, MD ’79

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Ann Bartos Merkow photo

I completed my internship at Boston City Hospital and my residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. After working with my father in private practice, I joined QuadMed in West Allis, Wisconsin, to see complex patients with multiple chronic problems. I am now the senior medical director and care for retirees with complex medical needs.

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

One of my funniest memories is when my husband, Steve Merkow (MD ’80), raised his hand in class and asked if I would marry him, when he was a second-year medical student and I was presenting to his class about what it was like in the clinical years. We’ll celebrate our 41st anniversary in 2019.

What are your hobbies/interests?

We have four children and one grandchild. Our children all work and/or are training in health care fields. My life is focused first on them and our strong family unit, and second on my career. In my “spare time,” I like to participate in a long-standing reading group, tootle on Beaver Lake, cook and enjoy fine wine. I was a tomboy and an athlete when it was totally “uncool,” and I love to watch Wisconsin college and pro sports.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

I enjoyed participating in the Independent Study Program. I loved Dr. R.H. Wasserburger, who taught me how to read ECGs, and I enjoy being the ECG expert in my workplace.

What are your plans for your reunion?

As we approach the end of our active careers, let’s reminisce and reconnect. Relationships are everything!

Other updates

My husband and I support the Stethoscope Program and other aspects of the SMPH and WMAA. We feel good supporting the medical students and reading their notes. We encourage you to help give others the chance to have what you have and do what you do.

Kathryn Schaus, MD ’89

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Kathryn Schaus photo

I have been a general pediatrician with Marshfield Clinic since 1993, first in Chippewa Falls and now in Hayward, Wisconsin. As the only pediatrician in this rural area, I love the patients and families, and I feel fortunate to live and work in the northwoods!

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

My best memories are the Friday night parties, at which our medical school class band provided the musical entertainment!

What are your hobbies/interests?

I have a blended family, with six adult children and six grandchildren, which keeps my husband and me busy! In our spare time, we love to cross-country ski, run, bike, swim, camp and paddle. I am on the board of directors for the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, and we participate in its annual cross-country ski race. I also enjoy cooking, traveling and gardening.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

I most remember Dr. Bill Segar, our class mentor. I recall how he would connect what we were learning with a clinical perspective.

What are your plans for your reunion?

We had a very fun and close class! Please put this year’s 30-year class reunion on your calendar! It seems that three decades have gone by in the blink of an eye! It will be great to reconnect and share memories.

Jeanine M. Swenson, MD ’89

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

I am a marriage and family psychotherapist and pediatric consultant at Lakeshore Psychology Services in Mequon, Wisconsin, as well as an instructor in family systems for Mount Mary University and the Family Therapy Training Institute, both in Milwaukee. My areas of interest include couples in crisis, anger management, parenting, fertility and living with chronic illness, especially cancer, heart disease and neurologic illnesses.

About 10 years ago, I went back to obtain training and licensure in marriage and family psychotherapy from the Family Therapy Training Institute. It may seem very different from pediatric cardiology, but I use the same level of relationship, communication and listening skills every day to help patients, couples and families. Many thanks to my hard-working spouse who has encouraged me to continue learning and growing.

What are your hobbies/interests?

I love growing my community with gardening, taking French classes, playing tennis and bicycling.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

Dr. Bill Segar, our class mentor, had the most impact on me professionally and personally. As a pediatrician and former chair of the Department of Pediatrics, his patient insights were invaluable during each year of medical school. He inspired me to go into pediatrics and to pursue a pediatric subspecialty, like he did. Dr. Segar went the extra yard as a friend, coming to my wedding and staying in touch with me over the years. He employed me as a housesitter while I was a student, and I really appreciated that level of trust and kindness. He has continued to be a valued friend and mentor to me.

What are your plans for your reunion?

I hope to go to all the planned events to catch up with my classmates and hear about everyone’s families, as well as their career twists and turns. Sadly, I missed the tailgate at the last reunion and I won’t make that mistake again.

Message to your classmates?

Please consider coming to Madison during Homecoming weekend to recharge the battery and see old friends. Check out our Facebook page at UW Medical School Class of 1989 — The next chapter.

Other notes

My husband, Dr. Todd Swenson, was also in my medical school class. If you are ever in Milwaukee, please give Todd or me a call.

Nikhil Wagle, MD ’94

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Nikhil Wagle photo

I am an ophthalmologist specializing in glaucoma and cataracts at Eye Surgeons Associates, a large eye-care group in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, where I have been practicing for the past 20 years.

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

Memories that stick out the most are orientation week (when we met our small groups), TGIF gatherings and Match Day.

What are your hobbies/interests?

I am the president of the Pleasant Valley Community School District in Bettendorf, Iowa, and was appointed by the governor to serve on the Iowa Board of Medicine. I also serve on the boards of our local hospital and ambulatory surgery center. Along with work and my family, all of this keeps me busy!

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

All of the faculty members in gross anatomy and histology were nurturing and shared their enthusiasm about their disciplines.

What are your plans for your reunion?

I’m excited about the Friday night reception, the Saturday pregame festivities and the Homecoming game. I also hope we can arrange a get-together after the game at a memorable venue, such as the Memorial Union. Please plan to attend our 25-year reunion so we can talk about our progress in our careers and personal lives, and reminisce about memorable times we had at the SMPH!

Kent Kramer, MD ’99

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Kent Kramer photo

I recently transitioned from full-spectrum family medicine with emergency medicine to exclusively emergency medicine. I practice at Southwest Health in Platteville, Wisconsin.

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

I’ll never forget the first day of gross anatomy when two classmates passed out. Getting to know classmates during those early mornings was pretty spectacular.

What are your hobbies/interests?

I enjoy any activity involving my wife and kids. I appreciate fine woodworking, campfires, bow hunting, basketball and Badger athletics.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

Dr. Philip Farrell always was approachable and interested in who we were as individuals and what we were experiencing as trainees. Through the HealthStar initiative, he was instrumental in developing what would become the new campus and the integrated UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

What are your plans for your reunion?

I plan to reconnect with as many friends as possible on the Friday and Saturday of Homecoming Weekend. I don’t use Facebook, so a reunion is pretty essential for me.

Message to your classmates?

I think we all took a little piece of each other with us when we left campus 20 years ago. Let’s leave work behind for a weekend and meet up for the alumni reunion, at which we can relive some of our great memories!

Jennifer Erickson Foster, MD ’04

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

I am a general surgeon at a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I fondly remember my tank group in anatomy lab, the annual Dean’s Cup, and multiple class outings with the band called the Arrhythmias.

What are your hobbies/interests?

I try to make time for running, reading, skiing and traveling. But like most people reading this, work and activities with my kids take up most of my waking hours.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

Who can forget Dr. John Harting and his neuroscience classes?

What are your plans for your reunion?

As co-class representatives, Andy Kastenmeier and I would love to see everyone at the reunion.

Rachel Uttech Loomans, MD ’09

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Photo of Rachel Loomans

I am the director of women's imaging at Wisconsin Radiology Specialists, a private practice radiology group based at Ascension Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in the greater Milwaukee area. I have sub-specialized in breast radiology, which includes screening, diagnostic and interventional breast imaging.

What are your hobbies/interests?

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. My husband, Adam Loomans (JD '08), and I have two daughters, Esme (age 9) and Elena (age 6), who keep us very busy! I also really enjoy running, and I completed the Boston Marathon in April 2019. This was my first Boston Marathon and my third marathon overall. My favorite thing about running is spending time outside, especially after all the time I spend in a dark windowless room at work!

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

Dean Patrick McBride always rises to the top of this list for me, as I'm sure he does for many others! His humble demeanor, excellence in teaching, and commitment to all students were unparalleled. I hope he is enjoying his retirement!

What are your plans for your reunion?

I am looking forward to arriving in Madison on Thursday night prior to the reunion to participate in activities on Friday and Saturday. I can't wait to tailgate at the awesome new(ish) Union South and watch a football game at Camp Randall. The last football game I went to was the Homecoming game for our five-year reunion! I really hope a lot of our classmates are able to make it to at least one of the fabulous events the WMAA is planning. See you there!

Barrett Wagner, MD ’14

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Photo of Barrett Wagner

I am an assistant professor in emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and an emergency medicine physician at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and Hennepin County Medical Center. My appointment with the university hospital allows for teaching medical students and conducting research, in addition to caring for complex medical patients. By also working at the county hospital, I have the opportunity to work with residents, manage major trauma patients and treat patients from underserved populations. 

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

I enjoyed breaking the Law School's winning streak of Dean's Cup competitions when we won!

What are your hobbies/interests?

I spend most of my non-work time with my two young kids. The energy of a 2-year-old is amazing! Professionally, my main interests are point-of-care ultrasound, especially resuscitative transesophageal echo, and informatics.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

I definitely remember Dean Patrick McBride the most. He always brought energy and positivity to a room.

What are your plans for your reunion?

Our family will be coming to Madison a few days early to visit friends and family in the area. I'm looking forward to catching up with classmates at the WMAA's Friday night bash and Saturday tailgate party before the football game.

Trista Stankowski-Drengler, MD ’15, MS ’19

What type of practice are you in now, and where?

Photo of Trista Drengler

I am currently in a general surgery residency at UW Health. I completed my master's degree in clinical investigation through UW-Madison in spring 2019. 

What’s your fondest memory of medical school?

Some of my fondest memories from medical school are get-togethers as a class after block exams to celebrate! How great to unwind, have fun and celebrate the little accomplishments with friends!

What are your hobbies/interests?

I love to travel, run, kayak, garden and spend time with family.

What SMPH faculty do you remember the most, and why?

There were so many great faculty members throughout my medical school experience. I would have to say Dean Patrick McBride and Dr. John Harting stand out the most for me. They were both so approachable and supportive throughout my medical school experience — I could not have asked for better people in my corner!

What are your plans for your reunion?

I look forward to attending all the reunion events this fall! I am still in Madison for residency, so it is rather convenient for me!

Message to your classmates?

So many things have changed for everyone over the past five years — many classmates have completed residency and are onto their first job! Marriages and new family members! How exciting to reunite with everyone and hear about what they are up to!

This article appears in Quarterly magazine.