2nd Year Resident Interview: Karina Atwell

Karina Atwell, MD

University of Wisconsin Preventive Medicine Residency Program, 2014-2016

Madison, WI

When did you start the Preventive Medicine Residency?
My Preventive Medicine Residency started in July of 2014. It is a two-year program, which includes getting my Master in Public Health. 

What have you done so far as part of your Residency?
The first year was spent completing my MPH degree, doing practicum work with the Wisconsin State Health Department, and continuing a small amount of clinical work at my former Family Medicine Residency Clinic, Wingra Family Medical Center, where I helped to teach resident physicians, see patients and lead QI projects. 

What were you up to prior to starting the Residency?
Prior to the Preventive Medicine Residency I was completing my three-year Family Medicine Residency training in the UW-Madison program. I graduated in June of 2014, just prior to starting my second residency and MPH.

What inspired you to apply for the Preventive Medicine Residency Program?
My interests in primary care, underserved communities and community health have always naturally fostered an interest in public and population health. The importance of better understanding, and gaining skills in, these fields was reinforced during my Family Medicine Residency where I was taking care of a diverse and underserved population within my primary care clinic and observing the inefficiencies of the health care system throughout all of my clinical training within the hospital and outpatient sectors. I was frustrated by my inability to make impactful change and decided to pursue focused training in public and population health to supplement my clinical skills. 

What are your main areas of interest in medicine and public health?
I am passionate about bridging the worlds of clinical medicine and public health in ways that foster more collaborative efforts for improvement at the levels of the individual patient and broader community and systems. I also want to engage in teaching and research as a mechanism to make awareness and skills in public health an expectation, rather than the exception for practitioners.

What is one of the most important things you have learned over the course of your Residency so far?
Meaningful change is always a team effort! 

What are you looking forward to doing in Madison this summer?
I grew up in Madison and always look forward to summer when the city comes alive after the brutal winter months. Going to farmer's markets, sailing on the lake and sitting on the Memorial Union Terrace will never get old.