It's not uncommon to see a sponge, sail cloth or a grapefruit in an obstetrics/ gynecology training session with Ken Merkitch, MD. "When I hold sessions for third and fourth year medical students in the Integrated Center for Education, I'll use relatively inexpensive household items to teach students about suturing, placing fetal electrodes and other techniques," Dr. Merkitch says. "It makes teaching and learning fun."
For his creative approach and experience, Dr. Merkitch was recently honored with a 2018 Dean's Teaching Award by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Merkitch has practiced in Gundersen Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1988, and he has spent many years teaching UW medical students. He has also worked closely with the Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine (WARM). "Dr. Merkitch is renowned for his hands-on teaching experiences, but he also models how to stay informed of the latest research for students' benefit," says Kim Lansing, MD, PhD, Gundersen director of Curriculum and Faculty Development and the La Crosse site director for the WARM program. "I am in awe of Dr. Merkitch's command of medical literature."
In addition to teaching and his own practice, Dr. Merkitch helped develop the Avery R. Gundersen Center for Women, and he is a member of the Wisconsin Medical Society and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "As a medical student and resident… heck, as an attending physician for 30 years…I have been blessed with so many great teachers and mentors," says Dr. Merkitch. "I am glad that both Gundersen and UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health have allowed me to give back."
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