This week, we are celebrating human rights and diversity, which represents a core principle to which the Department is strongly committed. In this regard, we were honored to host President Bruce Harreld as our Grand Rounds speaker yesterday, where he shared his perspectives on “Making a Difference.” The many activities happening around the University of Iowa medical campus has me thinking about service. As vitally important as each component of our tripartite mission is, an unseen fourth component is woven indelibly into how we care for our patients, the questions we choose to research, and the ways in which we educate our students and trainees. Service, that work we do without pay and often even without thanks, is almost always at the heart of our decision to enter the health care profession. The belief in a cause greater than our own enrichment or glory—the promotion of global human health—is a large part of why we make the sacrifices that lead us to where we are today. Our commitment to service manifests itself in many ways to solve a wide range of needs—from volunteering in a free clinic to reviewing a stack of residency applications or finding time to interview those who aspire to join our ranks. Service can be on a journal’s editorial review panel or by delivering canned goods to a local food bank. Regardless of how you serve, your community is grateful for your service.
One of the ways our Department excels in service is through membership in professional organizations. Advocacy for the causes we believe in is more effective when we speak with a collective voice. This month has brought news of the election of many of our members to societies and groups that have long traditions of achievement and advocacy. Notably, Dr. Eli Perencevich, Associate Chair for Clinical and Health Services Research, was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). As the leading organization representing physician scientists, the ASCI is an honor society for those who translate their research findings to the advancement of clinical practice. Founded in 1908, the Society is home to nearly 3,000 members who are in the upper ranks of academic medicine and industry. Dr. Perencevich joins nearly 30 other current members from the University of Iowa. In addition, two of our oncology fellows have been inducted into influential organizations. Dr. Vyshak Alva Venur will represent Iowa’s education mission on the Trainee Council of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and Dr. Andrew Iliff is the first fellow elected as a board member to the Iowa Oncology Society. Dr. Iliff is also joined by a former UI fellow and now faculty member Dr. Matthew Nwaneri. Congratulations! Thank you for the investment of time and energy you will make.
Congratulations are also due to recipients of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Institutional Research Grants from the American Cancer Society. Two of the one-year, $30,000 seed grants will fund innovative ideas from Dr. Rebecca Dodd and Dr. Jun Zhang, both of whom are Assistant Professors in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation. Dr. Dodd’s project will examine CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mouse models of tumor suppressor function. Dr. Zhang’s project will study the role of centrosome kinase NEK2 in epithelial–mesenchymal transition and stemness of lung adenocarcinomas. I am continually impressed by the creativity of our faculty and enjoy seeing fresh perspectives and new insights receiving the support they deserve.
Finally, I would also like to congratulate Dr. Lama Noureddine, Assistant Professor of Nephrology, the first recipient of the Culturally Responsive Health Care Award, scheduled to be presented by Dean Jean Robillard as part of this week’s celebrations. Dr. Noureddine earned this award for repeated instances of extraordinary service during the care of her patients in the dialysis unit. Her exemplary efforts remind us all to approach our work with compassion and empathy, treating each new patient or assignment as an opportunity to give our all in every moment.