7 – 8 p.m.
Dinner & Presentations
Inauguration of WisMed President, Presidential Scholar Award, Viste Award, Physician Citizen of the Year Award, Superhero of Medicine Award
Don S. Lee, MD
Incoming WisMed President
Doctor Don Lee is a board-certified internist and practices as an internal medicine hospitalist and physician advisor for Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He most recently joined the Ascension Wisconsin Foundation Board of Directors. He has served in several part-time leadership roles including Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin Medical Director for Quality and Safety, Hospital Based Care as well as President of the Columbia St. Mary’s Physician Network. He is also on faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Center in Milwaukee. In the community, Dr. Lee volunteers at a medical student run free clinic in Milwaukee and serves as the Treasurer of the Reede Scholars, Inc, a nonprofit organization started by members of the Commonwealth Fund Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy focusing on issues related to minority health.
Presidential Scholar Award
The Presidential Scholar Award recognizes a student entering his or her final year of medical school who has exemplified the attributes, skills and desire to become a leader in the medical profession in Wisconsin.
Kyle Cass grew up in Deforest, Wis. and has a strong desire to do a surgical residency in Wisconsin, and eventually practice in Wisconsin. He became involved in the AMA and WisMed right after arriving at the Medical College of Wisconsin and was part of the MCW AMA leadership and Milwaukee County Medical Society and helped pass national AMA policy on COVID vaccination equity. He served as a student representative on both the Wisconsin Medical Society Board of Directors and on the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation Board. He is also on the WisMed Social Media Committee. His involvement with the Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured further cemented his desire to help the most vulnerable Wisconsinites both as a physician and an advocate.
Laurel J. Bessey, MD
Kenneth M. Viste, Jr., MD, Young Physician Leadership Award
Laurel Bessey, MD, a psychiatrist with UW Health Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and the Associate Program Director for Psychiatry Residency, received multiple nominations highlighting her advocacy and leadership at the local, state and national level. The Foundation Board felt strongly that she was an outstanding physician to carry on Dr. Viste’s legacy and join the other notable recipients of this award. Dr. Bessey is very active in the national conversation regarding graduate medical education and has sought out and pushed for ways to improve the quality and experience of psychiatric training. She is a well-respected physician recognized for her excellence in mentoring and teaching.
As part of this award, the Foundation will contribute a donation in Dr. Bessey’s honor to MEDiC, a student-led organization that runs six free health clinics throughout the Madison area. “We feel so honored to receive this donation," stated Tien Vo, MEDiC Director of Development. “On behalf of our MEDiC student leaders and volunteers, we are proud to continue improving health accessibility by providing opportunities for UW health professions students to serve the greater Madison community."
Karen Watson, MD, FACOG
Superhero of Medicine Award
Karen Watson, MD, FACOG, is an OB-GYN at Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - St. Joseph’s Campus and leads efforts for continuous improvement regarding maternal and infant health and has implemented innovative models for hospital-based care for obstetric patients. She is well respected by her peers for promoting and sustaining clinical excellence, performance improvement and patient safety. Dr. Watson is a hero for her championing of Blanket of Love (a social-support program that helps expectant mothers and families from pregnancy to beyond their baby’s first birthday), her efforts that led to a reduction of primary c-sections reducing complications, injuries and deaths and her generosity in sharing her time and expertise with health professionals across the state to improve the care and treatment of OB-GYN patients.
The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation is pleased to present a donation in honor of Dr. Watson to Bread of Healing Clinic, a free medical clinic designed to serve low-income people who experience barriers to accessing ongoing health care. Barbara Horner-Ibler, MD, M.Div., MSW, Executive Director and Physician of the Bread of Healing Clinic was thrilled to hear that Dr. Watson would be recognized for her work. She notes, “We take our clinic name from the Hebrew Scriptures, ‘Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.’ (Ecclesiastes 11:1) It is a recognition that we all give and receive from the waters of life. Dr. Watson’s designation of the Bread of Healing Clinic as the recipient of her award dollars is an example of one such gift! We will hope to use it well to make more gifts available to others downstream.”