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The Surgery Sett is dedicated to exploring the ideas, inventions and innovations of the worldwide surgical community and their intersections with the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin. Host Jonathan Kohler, MD, interviews surgeons and other medical professionals who visit the UW Department of Surgery, along with surgeons and researchers from our own department. You can catch every episode when you subscribe to us on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher. And don’t forget to follow the UW Department of Surgery on Twitter and Facebook. Happy listening! And Go, Badgers!

  • Discussions Around Surgical Burnout

    Discussions Around Surgical Burnout

    Friday, May 12th, 2017

    Episode 16, David Rothenberger

    In this episode, we hear from Dr. David Rothenberger the Jay Phillips Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota, and longtime colorectal surgeon and cancer researcher. The two discuss the pressing issue of surgical burnout and the fact that upwards of 40% of physicians have experienced this daunting phenomenon in their careers. Dr. Rothenberger provides insight on the causes of burn out, and offers his advice on how to effectively combat this issue.


  • Investigations Into Parkinson’s Disease

    Investigations Into Parkinson’s Disease

    Friday, April 28th, 2017

    Episode 15, Michelle Ciucci

    In this episode, we hear from Dr. Michelle Ciucci, an associate professor at UW-Madison in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders with a joint appointment in the Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Ciucci discusses her research on Parkinson’s Disease and covers a broad spectrum of topics related to her work. She makes note of potential signs of early onset, and explains the research that suggests that this disease starts much earlier than was previously thought.


  • #ILookLikeASurgeon


    Monday, April 24th, 2017

    Episode 14, Susan Pitt

    In this special edition of the Surgery Sett, host Jonathan Kohler sits down with Dr. Susan Pitt, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrine Surgeon here at UW, who’s received a lot of media attention lately. Earlier this month (April 2017), Dr. Pitt made waves when she decided to recreate the cover of The New Yorker’s annual Health, Medicine & the Body Issue, which features four female surgeons standing over an operating table. She posted her recreation to Twitter on April 3, and invited others to join her with #NYerORCoverChallenge. Within days, the tweet caught fire and female surgeons from around the world began posting their own versions of the cover along with #ILookLikeASurgeon. This viral movement has empowered female surgeons to express solidarity and increase their visibility in a traditionally male-dominated field. Currently at the UW Department of Surgery, 20 of 38 general surgeons are female. This is significantly higher than the national average of surgeons who are female, which sits around 19% according the American Medical Association. In this episode, Dr. Pitt will delve into some of the specifics of this social media frenzy, and discuss her rational behind the posting. We hope you enjoy!


  • Exploring Ways to Control Pain

    Exploring Ways to Control Pain

    Friday, April 14th, 2017

    Episode 13, Alaa Abd-Elsayed

    Dr. Alaa Abd-Elsayed, or Dr. Al, as he likes to be called, is both an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at UW, as well as the medical director of the UW Pain Services and the Chronic Pain Management Program. Dr. Al discusses the various facets of pain management, including pre and postoperative options, and the concerns surrounding the current pain management system. In addition, Dr. Al explains why he thinks Transitional Pain Clinics are the future of pain management and notes some of the added benefits that a clinic could bring to both surgeons and patients here in Madison.


  • Discovering New Ways to Combat Burns

    Discovering New Ways to Combat Burns

    Thursday, March 30th, 2017

    Episode 12, Angela Gibson
    In this episode we hear from Dr. Angela Gibson, an assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, and a member of the care team at the UW Health Burn Center. Dr. Gibson talks about her passion for treating burn victims and discusses her journey from registered nurse to certified burn surgeon. In addition, she goes through some of the recent innovations in burn treatment and elaborates on a few of the experiences she’s had while running her own burn treatment lab.


  • Cancer Researcher Shares Years of Experience

    Cancer Researcher Shares Years of Experience

    Friday, March 17th, 2017

    Episode 11, James Economou
    In this episode, guest host, Dr. Daniel Abbott, a surgical oncologist and health sciences researcher at UW- Madison, speaks with Dr. James Economou, professor of surgery and division chief of surgical oncology at UCLA. Dr. Economou has studied cancer treatment for more than two decades and has acquired a vast trove of wisdom along the way. The two discuss how Dr. Economou first became interested in cancer care, and examine the ways that cancer immunology research has brought us closer to finding a cure for this disease.


  • The Cutting Edge of Endoscopic Surgery

    The Cutting Edge of Endoscopic Surgery

    Friday, March 3rd, 2017

    Episode 10, Amber Shada
    In this episode, Dr. Amber Shada, an assistant professor at UW-Madison in the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, talks about her experiences in endoscopic surgery and discusses the procedure Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) and its unique relevance to surgeons. In addition, Dr. Shada also explores the future of endoscopic surgery and the exciting potential of robotic platforms.


  • Doctor and Writer: Two Careers, Two Perspectives

    Doctor and Writer: Two Careers, Two Perspectives

    Friday, February 17th, 2017

    Episode 9, Pauline Chen
    In this episode, our guest host Dr. Angela Ingraham, a trauma and acute care surgeon at the University of Wisconsin, talks with physician, bestselling author, and New York Times columnist, Dr. Pauline Chen. The two chat about Dr. Chen’s careers as both a clinician and writer and discuss how she’s been able to balance them both within her life. Dr. Chen also highlights the importance of being a role model for residents and the positive impacts this can have on future generations.


  • Living Donor Liver Transplantation

    Living Donor Liver Transplantation

    Friday, February 3rd, 2017

    Episode 8, Oya Andacoglu
    Our guest Dr. Oya Andacoglu, a Turkish born, former general surgery resident here at UW-Madison, discusses her transition from foreign medical student to general surgery resident and elaborates on some of the challenges foreign residents might face. In addition, Dr. Andacoglu and our host Dr. Jonathan Kohler go over some of the details of living donor liver transplants and discuss the various perspectives that surround it.


  • Patient-centered Approaches to Improving Surgical Care

    Patient-centered Approaches to Improving Surgical Care

    Thursday, January 19th, 2017

    Episode 7, Philip Goodney
    Dr. Phillip Goodney is a vascular surgeon and health services researcher at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is also director at the Center for the Evaluation of Surgical Care for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and co-director of the VA Outcomes Group at White River Junction VA. In this episode Dr. Goodney joins us to discuss regionalization, the surgeon’s role in smoking cessation, and the impact of patient testimonials.


  • The Importance of the Rural Surgeon

    The Importance of the Rural Surgeon

    Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

    Episode 6, Karen Deveney
    In this episode, our guest host, Dr. Benjamin Andrew, a resident in our rural general surgery residency program, speaks with Dr. Karen Deveney, professor of surgery and vice chair for education in the Department of Surgery at Oregon Health and Science University. The two discuss the increasing need for rural surgeons across the United States and hit on the importance of program-specific training. Dr. Deveney also explains her connection to rural surgeons and how she would not be here today without them.


  • Do’s and Don’ts of Complex Hernia Repair

    Do’s and Don’ts of Complex Hernia Repair

    Monday, December 26th, 2016

    Episode 5, Jocelyn Burke
    Dr. Jocelyn Burke, a former general surgery chief resident who trained at UW-Madison 2009-2016, explores the do’s and don’ts of complex hernia repairs and discusses with Dr. Kohler the always evolving “size of the bite" debate.


  • Surgical Innovations as a Result of War

    Surgical Innovations as a Result of War

    Sunday, December 25th, 2016

    Episode 4, James Cole Jr.
    In this episode we hear from Dr. James Cole Jr., an assistant professor of surgery at UW-Madison and also the trauma medical director at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois (a UW affiliated facility). Dr. Cole discusses his time as a Navy Medical Officer and his 24 years of military service. In addition, he speaks on the critical role that war has played in facilitating surgical advancements.


  •  Changing The Way We Train Surgeons

    Changing The Way We Train Surgeons

    Saturday, December 24th, 2016

    Episode 3, Leigh Neumayer
    We talk to Dr. Leigh Neumayer, chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona and a distinguished surgical educator, about general surgery residency training. Dr. Neumayer addresses the areas in need of improvement and talks about the changes expected in the future.


  • Researcher Grows Functional Vocal Tissue in the Lab

    Researcher Grows Functional Vocal Tissue in the Lab

    Friday, December 23rd, 2016

    Episode 2, Nathan Welham
    Dr. Nathan Welham, an associate professor in the UW Division of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and a practicing speech language pathologist, joins us to discuss the incredible story of the functional vocal tissue he and his team grew in their lab last year. Dr. Welham also tells us about the immense amount of media attention these vocal folds received, both here in the United States as well as around the world. We hope you enjoy this episode!


  • The Story of Big Daddy

    The Story of Big Daddy

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

    Episode 1, Joshua Mezrich
    In our inaugural episode, host Dr. Jonathan Kohler talks with UW liver and kidney transplant surgeon Dr. Joshua Mezrich, also known as “Big Daddy.” The two discuss Dr. Mezrich’s research on autoimmune diseases, his role as a writer, and even a quirky childhood story about Dr. Mezrich and a piano. We hope you enjoy!





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What the heck is a sett?

A sett is a badger’s den. And here in Wisconsin, we like our setts cozy, fun and educational.


Jonathan Kohler, MD

Veronica Watson

Audio Engineer
Chris Hanson

Audio Editor
Alex Wehrli

Our theme song is On Wisconsin ;), arranged by Jamie Schmidt.

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