Today is a day that many among us, young or old, easily recall. It is one that as educators we share with our students in their excitement and anticipation, as their years of hard work reveal the next big step in their medical careers. It is also one that the Department watches carefully to learn who will compose our next class of residents. The Carver College of Medicine has been covering the build-up to today’s announcement all week on social media under the hashtag #UIMatchDay, and we encourage you all to follow along and participate. Congratulations to our M4 class. Our Department also had another really successful match this year. We are very excited with the match results and look forward to this diverse group of talented physicians to join our Internal Medicine family. The intern class of 2017 will be represented by students from 23 different institutions and 17 states across the country. Of the 33 first-year positions open for the 2017 match, 23 are categorical Internal Medicine, 2 are Medicine/Psychiatry, 5 are Internal Medicine/Ophthalmology prelims, and 3 are Internal Medicine prelims. We extend a warm Hawkeye welcome to our new Internal Medicine Residents, and a heartfelt congratulations to the Education team for successfully recruiting such an accomplished class!
The environment for research funding has always been competitive, but there is an increasing likelihood that it will grow even more competitive in the future. Our Department, however, remains committed to assisting our investigators in identifying and obtaining extramural resources to support their research programs. I will be discussing more initiatives that we are putting in place to increase our competitiveness in future posts. Dr. Eli Perencevich, Associate Chair for Clinical and Health Services Research, reminded me that one relatively unexplored avenue for research funding exists in the VA’s Office of Rural Health (ORH). Given that a sizable portion of this institution’s patient population lives in rural areas, researchers should consider the ways in which their projects align with the goals of the ORH. For example, Dr. Michael Ohl, is supported in part by the ORH to provide HIV care via telemedicine to rural veterans. I encourage you to learn more about the opportunities to perform innovative outcomes-based research through the VA’s Office of Rural Health.
Intramural sources of pilot funding also represent important mechanisms that can be leveraged to catalyze new initiatives. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides many opportunities for competitive pilot funding. They have recently awarded Dr. Isabella Grumbach, Vice Chair for Research, one of their Internal Funding Initiative (IFI) Major Funding Grants. The $30,000 grant will drive preliminary work on a collaboration between Dr. Grumbach’s lab and two others’. They intend to explore some of the mechanisms behind unintended side effects from radiation therapy, such as heart failure, testing the theory that tissue injury may be the result of mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species. Given the NIH’s interest in this area, Dr. Grumbach and her colleagues are hopeful they can generate preliminary data for a larger federally funded study. Congratulations and best of luck! (Take a look, too, at the Grumbach Lab’s new website. Dr. Grumbach has been working to get all of our faculty investigators’ labs on the web, as part of our new and improved research website that we will be rolling out soon. If you have not sent her team your information yet, please do so as soon as possible.)
Congratulations to Dr. Laith Aubshahin, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC), for his leadership on the Alliance Cooperative Group. As principal investigator and member of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, Dr. Aubshahin’s efforts have resulted in the University of Iowa being named as one of the National Clinical Trials Network’s (NCTN) “High Performance Sites.” The NIH group’s designation brings with it more than $57,000 to support infrastructure investment enabling their participation in NCTN studies. (For more information on the Alliance Cooperative Group and this designation, see this post.) Dr. Mo Milhem, Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Clinical Services at the HCCC, calls this “a big win for the clinical research team.” Well done, Dr. Aubshahin!