The working group led by Dr. Isabella Grumbach that is focusing on recalibrating our research mission is proceeding well. The committee members have reached out to many of you, and your feedback will importantly influence the changes and new initiatives that the Department will make and roll out in the new year. One outcome of their conversations is to establish a new venue for presentation of ongoing research, which I believe will not only showcase the depth and breadth of our research, but will also promote collaboration. Tentatively titled “Work in Progress,” this monthly research conference will feature two 20- to 30-minute presentations from any researcher in the department, junior or senior, on the first Tuesday of the month. We will encourage presentations that tell compelling stories, but that also will benefit from input from your colleagues. I am excited to begin these conversations in this venue and hopefully launch many more informal ones. We hope that you will participate and attend when the conference series begins, most likely on February 7.
During Grand Rounds last week I delivered the first State of the Department address our Department has seen in three years. One of the many remarkable accomplishments I was pleased to share was the strong success rates of the graduates of our Residency Program in obtaining fellowship positions around the country. Importantly, nearly half of our trainees choose to remain at the University of Iowa, which is a testament to the experience and mentorship our institution provides. I am pleased to report that our most recent fellowship match announced earlier this month continues this trend. The great majority of our graduating residents seeking fellowships have secured or are in the process of securing positions at respected institutions in Virginia, Florida, Ohio, California, New Mexico, Wisconsin and, of course, right here. In addition, all of our open subspecialty fellowship positions (save one division, which is still ahead of national trends) have been filled by an incoming class of graduates from top-tier residency programs across the country. I continue to be impressed by the caliber of recruits who come through our program and leave thoroughly prepared for the next stage of their careers.
Finally, as my first year in this position draws to a close, I want to share some closing thoughts in my final view from this Chair in 2016. This position has afforded me the opportunity to begin to execute a long-term vision with an incredibly talented and thoughtful team, as we advance the work of more than a century and a half of excellence. Taking the high-level view of the Department and assessing and adjusting its trajectory is important. But I have also been privileged this year to learn about the smallest details: the educator staying late to guide a resident through a procedure, the division administrator driving a faculty recruit to the airport, the hospitalist making one more call to find an empty bed, the researcher patiently planning or executing yet another experiment on the sometimes-slow journey toward discovery. These are but a small sampling of the many examples of your efforts and commitment that inspire me.
This position has afforded me the chance to witness countless stories of compassion and sacrifice, of wisdom and diligence, of insight and innovation, all in the service of human health. I hope that during this last year I have been able to communicate some of those stories to you in this space and to continually remind you that this Department is filled with greatness. Each of you should take as much pride as I do in being a part of it. Join with me in celebrating the successes you achieved this year. It is my hope that as you spend time with friends and family during this holiday season you will find the peace and relaxation needed to rededicate yourself to the amazing things we will accomplish together next year.