Mary Westergaard recognized for excellence in clinical teaching and mentoring

Mary Westergaard, MD

The Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association (WMAA) presents annual teaching awards to individuals who are highly regarded by students for outstanding teaching efforts. Dr. Mary Westergaard was honored with the 2024 Clinical Science Teaching Award for the Madison campus of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Dr. Westergaard was nominated for the award by students, who said that “[she] demonstrates her commitment as an educator not only in the emergency department teaching students on shift, but as an Academic and Career Advising Program mentor. She continuously advocates for inclusivity in medicine. She has shared profound insights on academic, professional and personal development. She is both an accomplished and thoughtful mentor that exemplifies many qualities for learners to look up to.”

Dr. Westergaard was also nominated by the School’s student class of 2024 to be one of two faculty hooders at the MD Graduation & Hooding Ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2024. Hooders assist with placing the MD hood on each graduate as they cross the stage, symbolizing the completion of the program.

As Vice Chair of Education for the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Mary Westergaard has a deep passion for education and training the next generation of healthcare leaders. Investing in each learner and providing them with individualized tools and mentorship have been driving aspects of her approach to teaching and influenced her leadership as the department’s former residency program director.

“We set high expectations for our residents and balance those expectations with individualized investment to help residents reach their goals. We are also flexible- no matter the career path, we will go the extra mile to help residents succeed.”

These same beliefs permeate all areas of her work and extend beyond graduate medical education. Dr. Westergaard’s professional interests include women in medicine and diversity, equity and inclusion. After serving nationally as Chair of the American Association of Women in Emergency Medicine, she founded and chairs the inaugural Group on Women in Medicine and Science at the UW SMPH. Having led the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Westergaard served as founding co-chair for both the UW GME Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee and the Department of Emergency Medicine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

In 2022, Dr. Westergaard was appointed as one of five House Mentors for SMPH’s Academic and Career Advising Program. In her role as McPherson House Mentor, Dr. Westergaard works to promote personal and professional development and academic success across the medical school curriculum for a cohort of UW SMPH students. A dedicated teacher and mentor, Dr. Westergaard was also honored with the 2023 Clinical Educator Excellence Award from UW Health.