Medical Society of Milwaukee Announces 2018 Award Winners

Aurora Health Care CEO Dr. Nick Turkal and WI State Rep. John Nygren among recipients; event proceeds to benefit Hunger Task Force & Fondy Food Center (Fondy Market)

MILWAUKEE, WI (January 17, 2017) - The Medical Society of Milwaukee County (MSMC) an organization representing nearly 3,700 physicians and medical students, today announced its annual award winners selected by MSMC’s board of directors. The winners will be recognized at the Medical Society of Milwaukee annual awards dinner on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Milwaukee County Zoo, Peck Pavilion.

The award categories and winners are:

  Health Care Champion Award
WI State Representative John Nygren

The Medical Society of Milwaukee County established this prestigious award to recognize individuals who challenge systems, build partnerships, and champion quality health care in our State and local community.  Award winners demonstrate extraordinary leadership, vision, and commitment to advance health care at the city, county, and/or state level.  They are people who with courage, vision, integrity, and compassion devote themselves to turning obstacles into opportunities.  As the State’s torchbearer to establish numerous legislation to reduce opioid and prescription drug abuse, WI Representative John Nygren is a dynamic, inspirational, and compassionate leader who has improved the quality of life for individuals and families in our community suffering from drug addiction.

  Community Impact Award
Dr. Veronica Gunn, VP Population Health Management and Payment Innovation, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

The Medical Society of Milwaukee County established this prominent award to recognize outstanding individuals who provide leadership in advancing a critical health care topic on behalf of our community.  Dr. Veronica Gunn’s innovative, compassionate, and hands-on leadership in advancing awareness of and developing programming around the social determinants of health in underserved neighborhoods is exemplary.   She has implemented a program via Children's Hospital to adopt neighborhoods in some of the most challenged areas to impact the lives of children and the families who support those children. The innovative program includes having community health workers live among those they serve, ensuring understanding and resources for those who are struggling in a positive and respectful manner.  

  Dr. Erastus B. Wolcott Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Nick Turkal, President & CEO, Aurora Health Care

The Medical Society will present the Dr. Erastus B. Wolcott Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Nick Turkal, President & Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Health Care.  The Medical Society of Milwaukee County established this esteemed award to recognize physicians who carry on the distinguished legacy of the Medical Society of Milwaukee’s founder, Dr. Erastus B. Wolcott, who is honored with a statue in Lake Park.  As stated of Dr. Wolcott, Dr. Turkal is also “Eminent in his profession.  A lover of humanity.  Who delights to serve.” 

Dr. Turkal, as a family physician, leads one of the largest health care systems in our state.  As one of very few physician CEO's for large integrated health care systems, Dr. Turkal has removed barriers to moving health care forward amidst all the challenges facing health care.  Dr. Turkal’s core beliefs are truly admirable: “Stay true to your purpose, actively listen, and never become complacent."  Dr. Turkal leads a system-wide initiative to articulate Aurora's purpose – to help people “live well" has become Aurora’s purpose statement and it continues as their guide today.  Dr. Turkal’s attributes are numerous in raising the quality and maximizing the efficient delivery of health care.

  Medical Student Leader Award
Stephanie Wong, Medical College of Wisconsin

The Medical Society of Milwaukee County established this significant award to recognize a dynamic medical student who has exemplified the attributes, skills, and passion beyond academics to be a leader in the field of medicine, and as such is an inspiration to fellow medical students.  Witnessing a lack of care for the underserved while growing up, today Ms. Wong is passionate about alleviating health disparities in underserved communities.  In just one year of medical school, Ms. Wong has managed to influence many aspects of the community.  She leads by example, serving as a Manager for the Saturday Free Clinic, Co-President of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, and has formed a partnership with Marquette Law School’s Mobile Legal Clinic, in addition to many other accomplishments. 

“These award recipients lead by example,” said Kathy Schmitz, Executive Director of the Medical Society of Milwaukee County. “Their public health approach to addressing the greatest needs of our community is not only saving lives, it is improving the health of our entire community.  The dedication to their work is an inspiration to our physicians and our community. The Medical Society of Milwaukee is honored to recognize these four outstanding professionals at this year’s event.”

The annual awards program, presented by the Medical Society of Milwaukee County and Medical Society of Milwaukee Foundation will give the public an opportunity to join the organization in honoring and recognizing the award recipients.

As the Medical Society of Milwaukee takes a lead to address the social determinants of health, specifically regarding hunger and nutrition, proceeds from the silent auction and fundraising at this year’s dinner will support Hunger Task Force and Fondy Food Center (Fondy Market).

More than 350 physicians, business and community leaders will attend the event and enjoy a reception beginning at 5 p.m., featuring delicious hors d‘oeuvres, silent auction, professional photographs by Babboni, and cash bar.  Dinner and program will begin at 7 p.m., with a special appearance by former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler.  Evening attire is formal, black tie optional.

Sponsorships are still being accepted and interested individuals may register for the awards dinner online at  Interested organizations and individuals are encouraged to register soon as this year’s event will sell-out.  This event sold out the past three years.

For more information contact Kathy Schmitz, Executive Director, at or (414) 475-4750.

Medical Society of Milwaukee County
P.O. Box 13114, Milwaukee, WI 53213
Phone: 920-560-5637

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