Mission: to advance the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting medical education and health initiatives.

Viste Award


The Wisconsin Medical Society and all of the Society’s affiliates lost one our most compassionate and passionate leaders in 2005. At age 64, Dr. Viste remained an active volunteer at local, state and national levels. He exemplified commitment to patients, community and the profession of medicine. (Read about Dr. Viste’s unique legacy here.)

The Kenneth M. Viste, Jr., MD, Young Physician Leadership Award was established in 2006 in his honor to recognize a young physician each year who demonstrates these attributes. In addition to an engraved award presented at the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Annual Meeting, the Foundation will make a contribution to a charitable organization selected by the award recipient.

2023 Kenneth M. Viste, Jr., MD, Young Physician Leadership Award Recipient Laurel Bessey, MD

Dr. Bessey, a psychiatrist with UW Health Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and the Associate Program Director for Psychiatry Residency, received multiple nominations highlighting her advocacy and leadership at the local, state and national level. She has sought out and pushed for ways to improve the quality and experience of psychiatric training and is recognized for her excellence in mentoring and teaching.

Laurel Bessey, MD
2023 Kenneth M. Viste, Jr., MD, Award Recipient Laurel Bessey, MD


A young physician is defined as a licensed Wisconsin physician, who is less than 40 years old or in the first eight years of practice after residency and fellowship training.

Both the nominating physician and the nominee must be members of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

A completed nomination packet must include:

  • A minimum of one letter supporting the nominee from a physician representing a medically-related organization such as a county medical society, specialty society, hospital or clinic on the organization’s letterhead.
  • A completed nomination form
  • Additional letters of recommendation are encouraged. These may be from physicians, patients, community leaders, etc. that help demonstrate the nominee’s activities and values that help promote Dr. Viste’s exceptional legacy.

Nominations are reviewed by the Grant Committee with final approval by the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation Board of Trustees.

For the online Nomination Form, click here.