Meet Paula Termuhlen, MD, Faculty Leader and Director

Dr. Paula Termuhlen’s very first patients were Barbie dolls who relied on her compassionate care following imaginary car crashes and other traumatic injury. The early clinical experience she champions today is a bit more complex, but she brings to her work the same enthusiasm for medicine that she harbored as a 5-year-old.

As the Faculty Leader and Director of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Community Medical Education Program, Dr. Termuhlen guides overall program development and facilitates the comprehensive team effort necessary to establish community-based programs in the Green Bay and Central Wisconsin regions.

“My role as the Faculty Leader and Director is really one of support of others,” she said. “We have a terrific team of work group leaders and work groups who are diligently creating our new medical school campus curriculum and environment. I will also acknowledge the excellent work that our Project Manager, Michael Mathy, is doing to keep us all on track and moving forward.”

With its program, MCW seeks to addresses the need for primary care physicians in underserved communities across the state and effectively prepare medical students to face the challenges of modern heath care. Most exciting from Dr. Termuhlen’ s perspective is “the opportunity to innovatively create a learning environment that will address the physician shortage in Wisconsin.”

Dr. Termuhlen has significant experience with medical teaching and mentoring. She joined MCW in 2011 as Professor of Surgery and Director of the Surgery Residency Program, roles she maintains today.

She earned her MD from St. Louis University School of Medicine and completed her surgical training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, followed by a surgical oncology fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. After three years on the faculty at the University of Nebraska, she was recruited to Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. Immediately prior to her appointment at MCW, Dr. Termuhlen served as Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, and Medical Director of the High-Risk Breast Center at Wright State. She also was Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program there for nine years.

With a goal of admitting the first students to MCW’s Community Medical Education Program in July 2015, Dr. Termuhlen is currently focused on the near-term priorities of ensuring the application for expansion to regional campuses is in alignment with LCME standards and MCW’s global accreditation, and beginning the process of building new residencies for students to complete training.

“Long term, we look forward to filling the gaps in the Wisconsin physician workforce with a group of enlightened and empowered students who will meet the Institute of Medicine’s Triple Aim of improving the health of populations, cost-effectiveness and patient-centered care.”

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