The recent visit to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics by the Joint Commission has afforded the Department of Internal Medicine a unique and important opportunity to focus on specific areas of quality improvement. To everyone who made extra effort during the week of the JC’s review, you have my thanks and my congratulations for achievement in those many areas where our work was recognized as exemplary. In the days since their visit, Dr. Kim Staffey, Vice Chair for Clinical Programs, and I, along with other members of our leadership team have reviewed the JC’s findings and recommendations. We are organizing a coordinated response that will quickly address any concerns raised, in advance of their follow-up review. I am grateful for and impressed by the way that many members of the Department have provided feedback and ideas that will be incorporated into our response to the recently completed survey.
We recently completed one of our flagship CME conferences, Progress: Learning Together in the 21st Century. This year’s event represents a redesign of a multidisciplinary program, which was well-attended and a resounding success. This conference has a long tradition of featuring sharp and engaging presentations from some of our Department’s best educators, researchers, and physicians. The majority of this year’s presentations featured insights into aspects of five different subspecialties both from the point of view of the clinician as well as those of the pharmacist. This collaborative approach to presentations reflects the growing importance of our team-based approach to patient care, which has multiple benefits from increasing efficiency to reducing the potential for error or miscommunication. This year’s Progress was an excellent demonstration of our commitment to these methods. Congratulations to Dr. Joel Gordon, Dr. Scott Vogelgesang, Dr. Melinda Johnson, Dr. Amal Rahhal, Dr. Laurie Lyckholm, and their counterparts from the Department of Pharmacy in organizing and delivering this dynamic event.
Interdepartmental collaboration also extends beyond the clinic and is dramatically visible in the research breakthroughs emanating from the Pappajohn Biomedical Institute. There, many members of our Department work alongside investigators from across the university to tackle challenging problems more quickly and efficiently through effective collaborations. A recent publication in JCI Insight displays the positive results of this approach, with authors listed from the Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology, and Microbiology, and from our Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine. Senior author Dr. Paul McCray and his colleagues demonstrated positive effects following gene therapy to correct anion channel defects in the airway epithelia of pigs with cystic fibrosis. The vector and delivery methodology for correcting this gene defect, an aerosolized feline immunodeficiency virus, is elegant and novel and holds exciting promise for treatment and prevention of this lung disease. Congratulations to the team for this significant advance.
Finally, we should extend our congratulations and thanks to Dr. Wendy Fiordellisi, Clinical Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine, for her work with our students and patients. At last month’s Society of General Internal Medicine, Midwest Regional Meeting, Dr. Fiordellisi won first prize in Innovations in Oral Presentations for her talk titled “Learning While Doing: A Resident Quality Improvement Curriculum.” Impressing on our students the importance of focusing on quality and searching for ways to increase it is a core value of our Department. Dr. Fiordellisi also received the Dianne Day Community Champion Award this week at the Honoring Your Wishes conference. This award honors the memory of Dianne Day, a strong advocate for advanced-care planning. More information about the Honoring Your Wishes organization can be found here.