Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

When: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Where: Italian Community Center, 631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Registration options:

  • Morning Session Only, 9:30 a.m. – noon (physicians) – Free – Session full
  • Afternoon Session Only, Noon – 4 p.m., lunch included (physicians and other health professionals) – $50
  • All day, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., lunch included (physicians) – $50

The Wisconsin Medical Society continues to lead the conversation on well-being and empowerment for physicians and health care teams with this follow-up to last year’s successful event. Designed to energize collaborative efforts to advance proven solutions for increasing clinician empowerment, retention and satisfaction – come be a part of this critical conversation.

View the 2019 Empowerment Forum agenda for more details.


Morning Session: targeted at physicians interested in a deeper discussion on solutions for burnout, designed to equip physicians with proven solutions to address this epidemic

Although rates have decreased slightly in the last few years, over 40% of physician continue to rate themselves as burned out. In the midst of busy and demanding health care environments, it can seem impossible for an individual to make meaningful change. We will start this morning workshop with an overview of the Physician Eco-System to explore the levels at which each of us can make a difference. We’ll spend the second half of our workshop splitting up into the workgroup that inspires you most. You will share ideas and challenges with other leaders in the health care industry, brainstorm solutions, set measurable goals and get feedback from your group. You should leave this session feeling focused and energized around realistic and obtainable tasks. You will also gain the support, camaraderie and accountability of others.

Facilitated by Nicole Eull, PsyD, Director of Wellbeing, Advocate Aurora

Nicole Eull, PsyD, is a health psychologist and the Director of Wellbeing for Academic Affairs at Advocate Aurora Healthcare. She has worked with multi-disciplinary teams in outpatient and inpatient settings and has served as a faculty member of family medicine for over a decade. She is the author of “Well to Do: A Guide to Take Charge, Set Goals, and Improve Your Health” and the creator of MySkillRx.com where she inspires caregivers to “Give a Skill, Not a Pill”. She serves on the Physician Health First Panel for the American Academy of Family Physicians and collaborates with the Wisconsin Medical Society on well-being initiatives.

Lunch Keynote Presentation: Physician Empowerment: What, Why, and How? by Nisha Mehta, MD

Amidst an era of significant changes in the healthcare landscape and staggering rates of burnout, physicians increasingly find themselves grappling with uncertainty about their careers and the future of medicine. Many physicians feel that these circumstances are beyond their control, in part secondary to loss of autonomy and increasing administrative oversight at work, along with larger challenges on a national level. However, physicians remain essential to the delivery of healthcare in this country, and it is important for them to advocate for themselves and their patients. This talk will discuss how we can come together as communities to empower ourselves, create career longevity amongst physicians, and influence policy on a larger level to improve healthcare for our patients.

Nisha Mehta, MD, is a radiologist, writer, and speaker whose work focuses on changing the culture of medicine, the challenges of the current health care landscape, physician wellness and physician empowerment. She is the founder of the Physician Side Gigs Facebook group, an online community of over 41,000 physicians, which aims to promote career longevity and increase business and financial literacy amongst physicians. Her work has been widely featured nationally both in print and on stage. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for medical school and NYU for residency. Doctor Mehta then did specialized fellowship training followed by a faculty position at UNC. She now lives and works in Charlotte, NC with her husband and sons.

Afternoon Session: targeted at physicians and health care teams interested in creating and leading sustainable change across professional levels of the health care landscape.

  • Voices of Health Care Panel: Unique peer-interview panel with representatives from all facets of health care, discussing how to best empower and support the clinical workforce.
  • Solution Stories: Listen to health care peers tell stories of success in addressing and mitigating burnout from an organizational perspective.

Note: Agenda subject to change.

Jose Ortiz, MD: Orthopedic Hand Surgeon and Chief of Staff, Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire

Dr. Ortiz is an Orthopedic Hand Surgeon at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. He has been there for 19 years. He attended Medical School at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. He was trained in orthopedic surgery at New York University, and did his hand surgical training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Ortiz is currently the chief of staff at Mayo Clinic Health system in Eau Claire. He serves on the Mayo Clinic Northwest Wisconsin Board of Directors; he is on The Board of Chippewa Valley Free Clinic, and the Board of the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation, where he is chairman of the Student Loan Task Force.

He is the chairman of the Hospital Practice subcommittee where his team oversees the clinical operations of the 5 area hospitals associated with Mayo Clinic. Additionally, he serves on the University of Wisconsin Business Council representing health care. He is also co-creator of the Medical Experience, a job shadowing program for high school and college students. Dr. Ortiz is married with 4 sons, and he fully enjoys his family time.

Anna Legreid Dopp, PharmD: Director, Clinical Guidelines & Quality Improvement, American Society of Health System Pharmacists

Anna Legreid Dopp attended North Dakota State University for pre-pharmacy coursework and completed a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2002 from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon graduation she worked at Medtronic, Inc. in the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management Clinical and Outcomes Research department. In May 2005 she accepted a position as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2008, she took a leave of absence from that role to complete a Congressional Health Care Policy Fellow Program in Washington, DC where she worked on health and social policy in the office of Senator Joe Lieberman. Subsequent to the fellowship, she served in roles at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics as a medication use policy analyst and at the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin as the Vice President of Public Affairs and editor of the Journal of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. In 2016, Anna joined the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) in Bethesda, Maryland as the Director of Clinical Guidelines and Quality Improvement. Her role with ASHP includes developing therapeutic guidance documents and collaborating with the National Academy of Medicine, National Quality Forum, The Joint Commission, and the Pharmacy Quality Alliance regarding quality improvement initiatives.

Aaron Budd, MBA: Director of Medical Imaging, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital- Janesville and SSM Health Dean Medical Group- Southern Region, Wisconsin

Aaron currently serves as the Director of Medical Imaging at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Janesville and SSM Health Dean Medical Group – Southern Region, Wisconsin. Aaron was born and raised in Beloit, WI and earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nuclear Medicine from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and an MBA from Marquette University. Aaron completed an internship in Nuclear Medicine at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Milwaukee, WI and began his career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at ProHealth Care – Waukesha Memorial Hospital in Waukesha, WI in 2004. In the first 10 years of his healthcare career, Aaron served in various clinical, professional, and administrative roles, while also pursuing an advanced business degree. After earning an MBA, Aaron made the decision to transition his career to leadership, where he could apply his business knowledge and people skills, in conjunction with his clinical experience and passion for patient care, in an effort to build and support strong teams of care workers equipped to successfully navigate the challenges of the ever-changing health system. In the past nearly 5 years with SSM Health, Aaron has had the privilege of leading teams of operational leaders from multiple ministries across 4 states for the purpose of process improvement and standardization of best practices for SSM’s entire system of health care ministries.

In addition to his work activities, Aaron enjoys being active in his community. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for HealthNet of Rock County and is active on the Advisory Board for the Blackhawk Technical College Radiography and Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs. Aaron is an active member of ACHE’s Wisconsin Chapter, serving on the ACHE-WI Board of Directors, participating in the ACHE-WI Leadership Development Program, and chairing two ACHE-WI Board Committees. Aaron also serves as a mentor for the UWM Future Healthcare Executives and the ACHE-WI Leadership Development Program participants. In his free time, Aaron enjoys fishing, boating, and relaxing with his family at their Northwoods Cabin and coaching and playing sports with his two children.

Gina Dennik-Champion, RN: Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Nurses Association

Gina Dennik-Champion is the chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Nurses Association. WNA is the professional nurses association with membership open to any Wisconsin RN. Gina’s responsibility is to operationalize the mission, goals and strategies of the WNA which include professional nursing practice, education and policy. She represents WNA on a variety of state agency and key stakeholder advisory councils and coalitions. She is Wisconsin’s only nurse lobbyist. Gina advocates for the advancement, promotion and protection of nurses which in turn promotes the health of Wisconsin’s residents.

Gina is the project director for the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Public Health, CDC Chronic Disease Prevention Grant that was awarded to WNA. The outcomes of the grant include the development of a patient-centered team-based care model and recommendations for using the model when identifying and treating hypertension. She is a frequent presenter, guest lecturer for schools of nursing and serves as a preceptor for undergraduate and graduate level nursing students. Gina holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and Master’s Degree in Nursing with an emphasis in Community Health-Gerontology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a second Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from Cardinal Stritch University.

Jack Schneeman: Co-CEO at Phraze

Jack is the Co-CEO of Phraze and passionate about using exponential technologies to solve significant healthcare challenges. Phraze offers clinicians an AI-driven digital medical scribe to save them considerable time on medical documentation and enable them to focus on patient care. Jack was a Medical Industry Leadership Institute Fellow and a founding member of a virtual care startup during his MBA studies at the University of Minnesota. He previously worked in private equity and investment banking, investing over $75 million in healthcare, software, and consumer companies. Jack also has six years of experience as an Army Infantry officer.

Solution Stories
James Jerzak, MD: Family Medicine, Primary Care, Bellin Health Ashwaubenon

Dr. James Jerzak is a practicing board-certified Family Physician at Bellin Health in Green Bay. He has a wealth of practical experience gained from his 30 years of providing the full spectrum of care for patients of all ages. His medical training was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by Family Medicine Residency at St. Michael Hospital, Milwaukee, WI.

Dr. Jerzak has been involved in a number of leadership roles at Bellin, and has been on the leadership team for Bellin’s Patient Care Redesign Program since its inception in 2014. He led the prototype for this project, and currently is the physician lead for Bellin’s transformation to Advanced Team-based Care. This role involves developing innovative approaches to patient care processes, practical implementation strategies, and work to ensure sustainability.

Alicia Pilarski, DO: Department of Emergency Medicine Medical College of Wisconsin

Alicia Pilarski, D.O. is an Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin/Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, WI. Dr. Pilarski graduated from University of Nevada School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency program and attended Touro University College of Medicine in California for her medical training. She has been faculty at MCW since 2010, and served as the Assistant Program Director and the Associate Program Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program from 2013-2018.

She has been passionate about provider well-being since her residency and established the MCW Emergency Medicine’s Wellness Committee in 2011. This resident committee plans two retreats per year, organizes community outreach efforts, coordinates social events, and implements various well-being and resilience curriculum presentations. Dr. Pilarski has been featured on Academic Life in Emergency Medicine’s (ALiEM) blog “How I Promote Wellness in EM”. She is a member of the Council of Residency Directors for Emergency Medicine’s (CORD) Resiliency Committee. Through CORD, she co-created an educational video about Second Victim Syndrome titled, “You are Not Alone”. Within her own institution, she is involved in several well-being initiatives involving students, residents, faculty and staff. Dr. Pilarski also developed the Emergency Medicine’s Peer support team, the “Emotional Assistance and Recovery (EAR)” Team, which responds to providers who are involved in an adverse patient event, medical error and/or traumatic event. She is also leading efforts to expand this peer support program to her institution. Dr. Pilarski also founded and leads the Department of Emergency Medicine Women’s Faculty Council and has helped to organize faculty retreats and promote women in leadership. Dr. Pilarski is most proud of her family, which includes her fun-loving daughters Colette (6) and Fiona (4), her amazing husband, Dan, and their cuddly dog, Payton.

Kathleen Williams, MD: Department of Emergency Medicine Medical College of Wisconsin

Kathleen S. Williams, MD is an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is also an Assistant Residency Program Director with a focus on resident curriculum development. She is the Vice President of the Emergency Medicine Women’s Faculty Council and has assisted with creation of the Department Parental Leave Policy, planning of the Annual Women’s Faculty Retreat, and development of a monthly Women’s Scholarship Group. A graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, she earned her Doctor of Medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago, and completed her residency training in Emergency Medicine at MCW. She has personal interest in resuscitation video review for quality improvement, resident training in team based resuscitation and communication, and promotion of women in medicine.

Heather Schmidt, DO: Family Medicine, Integrative Health at SSM Health

Heather P. Schmidt, DO, is a family physician at Fond du Lac Regional Clinic and medical director of employee health and medical director of health and wellness at Agnesian Healthcare in Fond du Lac. She was previously a family physician at Mercury Marine Medical Center in Fond du Lac. Dr. Schmidt received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from University of Wisconsin- Madison and a DO at Midwestern University-CCOM in Downers Grove, Illinois. She is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has an additional certification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University.

Lisa Maurer, MD: Emergency Physician, Emergency Medicine Specialists

Dr. Lisa Maurer is an emergency physician with and independent physician group, Emergency Medicine Specialists, since 2011 when she moved back home to the Milwaukee area after finishing school at the University of MN and residency at George Washington University. She also serves as an executive for the physician group’s practice management company, ConsensioHealth, as Director of Advocacy and Payor Relations. In organized medicine at the state level, she is on the board of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) as Immediate Past President and is a member of the Wisconsin Medical Society Council on Legislation. At the national level, she is a member of the ACEP State Legislative and Regulatory Committee, the ACEP Reimbursement Committee, and the ED Practice Management Association (EDPMA) State Regulatory & Insurance Committee. She currently serves as the liaison between ACEP and EDPMA on state-based reimbursement issues and is a Fellow in the ACEP Reimbursement Leadership Development Program. She is most interested in the intersection of health care financing and health care delivery systems, and she enjoys working to affect policy in ways that allow physicians to provide the best care possible.

Developed by the Wisconsin Medical Society; funding supported by Investors Associated, The Physicians Foundation, Epic and the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation.