New Faculty Focus: Douglas Olk

Q&A with Douglas G. Olk, MD, assistant professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Hometown: Clintonville, Wisconsin

Educational/professional background: I earned my undergraduate degree at Carrol College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I attended medical school at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and did my pediatric residency at the University of Wisconsin.

Previous position (title, institution): Pediatrician, Fridley Children and Teen Clinic, 1986–1988; Pediatrician, Medical Associates Clinic, 1989–2023; Chairman, Medical Associates Department of Pediatrics, 2000–2021

What is your field of research or area of clinical care, and how did you get into it? I have been in General Pediatrics since finishing my residency. I felt well-trained in this area from my residency program and have been doing it ever since.

How would you describe your work to a 5-year-old? When a child is sick, I try to figure out why that is and make them better. When a child is healthy, I try to help them stay that way.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? It’s a real hub of knowledge and activity — very progressive, always something new to do and see.

What is your favorite thing to do in Madison? Take long walks/bike rides with my wife, Marilyn, and find/enjoy new restaurants.

What’s one thing you hope trainees will learn from you and your work? Always stick to the basics. Take the time to take a good history and do a pertinent exam. And make sure that you have the time to do both.

Do you feel your work relates to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. I would think so, in a way. Using everything that I learned at the UW (med school and residency) I successfully practiced medicine for 36 years; granted it was in Minnesota and Iowa, but now I am back!

What are some of your hobbies and other interests? Woodworking and listening to audiobooks about history and biographies.