Dr. Kathleen Qualheim Embodies All That is Good and Talented and Homegrown About our Local Hospital

Posted 4 June 2014 1:14 PM by TCAuthor3

By Dorothy Erdmann, CEO, Shawano Medical Center

When Kathleen Qualheim arrives at the True Value hardware store in Shawano at the same time that a truckload of new stock pulls up, she’s willing to pitch in and help unload. Some things haven’t changed in the nearly five decades since her family moved to Shawano and the young Qualheim family—that would eventually number eight kids—was put to work at the family business. However, today Kathleen’s primary role is as a family practice physician who was recently named the first-ever regional medical director for the ThedaCare Shawano integrated campus.

As medical director, Dr. Qualheim will continue to serve her patients, yet take on additional duties that focus on measuring the quality of the care people receive as they are served by people and facilities in our health care system. An example might be a patient’s transition from the ER to the hospital, or from the hospital to home, and how those changes affect his or her health and well-being. She will also help foster a stronger partnership with Menominee Tribal Clinic physicians and other providers who care for our shared patients.

Dr. Qualheim’s travels have taken her to UW-Madison for her undergraduate degree, then to Monterrey, Mexico, where she went to medical school and learned Spanish. Her residency was in Milwaukee, and through it all, her heart was in Shawano. She told me, “I knew Shawano is where I wanted to raise my family, around family,” and credits Shawano’s late great general surgeon Art Cantwell with inviting her back home to practice medicine in 1993. Since then, Dr. Qualheim also earned her master’s degree in medical management from Carnegie Melon University.

Dr. Qualheim is a talented, authentic person who truly has her finger on the pulse of Shawano’s people. (Pardon the pun, but it was too good to pass up.) She is also a vital link to her fellow physicians, fielding questions about the new hospital and representing them to the larger ThedaCare organization. Dr. Qualheim embodies all that is good and talented and homegrown about our local hospital, and I congratulate her on her new medical director’s position. I’m sure you’ll be seeing her around town, maybe even at the hardware store?