The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) is pleased to welcome Wendy Molaska, MD, FAAFP, as president-elect. Dr. Molaska shared a bit about leadership and participating in the Society.
Why were you interested in pursuing the role of president of the Wisconsin Medical Society?
I have been involved with the Wisconsin Medical Society since I was a medical student and have always wanted to be as involved as possible. At this juncture I see a lot of changes in our society and the practice of medicine. I feel this is a great time to be able to work as president-elect with the other leaders in the Society to help create a more vibrant and involved membership in our Medical Society. By doing this we can continue to address the always changing issues affecting physicians and their patients.
What are some of the roles you have held in the Society?
When I attended UW School of Medicine and Public Health I started as a student representative to the Society Board and during that tenure also served on a reference committee during the House of Delegates. After medical school I was out-of-state for almost a decade. When I returned to Wisconsin and started practicing in Platteville I was able to serve as a delegate from District 2. From there I started serving on the Membership and Bylaws Committees and was a part of the Ethics Committee before it was disbanded. I was elected to the Board of Directors in 2012 until my terms expired this year. When the Wisconsin Medical Society formed the Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce (JEDI) I jumped at the chance to participate and believe the work the taskforce is currently undertaking is timely and hugely important.
Tell us a little about your community involvement.
Aside from the Society I stay busy in a multitude of ways. I am the Co-chair for the Advisory Council for the Wisconsin Affiliate of Reach Out and Read (ROR). ROR is an early pediatric literacy program based in primary care clinics. I have been involved with the program since residency and have brought the program to any clinic I worked at that did not already have the program in place. I also serve on the Advisory Council for the Wisconsin Council of Immunization Practices through the DHS. Over the past several months I have been working with a local community pharmacy to also help host vaccine clinics in various settings to help better reach underserved communities.
What do you hope to achieve as Society president?
As Society president I hope to continue the work of those before me in helping to make the Society more vibrant and have more engaged members. I hope that the work that the JEDI Taskforce is doing can help us in making the Society a more diverse and welcoming place for members who have traditionally not been represented in the Society. By increasing the diversity and support for Society members the Wisconsin Medical Society can then also better help to address systemic racism in medicine and improve the outcomes for minority patients throughout Wisconsin.
Do you have advice for future physician leaders?
My advice for other physician leaders is to get involved early and often. Don’t be afraid to speak up about issues that matter to you, but also be willing to listen to opposing viewpoints. Our state, and the physicians in it, are extremely diverse and have many different points of view. We need to be willing to listen and learn from each other to better advance legislation, and make other changes, that lead to improving the practice of medicine for physicians throughout the state.
And what are a couple fun facts about you?
I started curling as a high school student in Wausau, WI. My high school team won the bronze medal in the Badger State games my sophomore year, silver my junior year and gold my senior year. I then started curling with the University of Wisconsin - Madison curling team when I started college in Madison. We progressed to the National Championships and I ended up curling against my former high school teammate as she was on the team for Michigan Tech. I am proud to say I was a part of the College National Championship curling team, much to my former teammate’s chagrin. Good curling everyone!
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