One of the challenges I was very motivated to tackle as Chair was increasing the sense of community among the members of such a large department. Keeping all of us informed of the many achievements (and challenges) in a large and diverse department as ours remains an ongoing effort, but one which I believe is worthwhile, and that is bearing fruit. I also believe that simply introducing ourselves to each another serves not only to increase team-building, but also creates opportunities for collaboration. Over the coming months, I will devote a portion of this space to introducing you to faculty and staff who are quietly but diligently contributing to the goals of our shared mission.
Dr. Amy Dowden, Clinical Associate Professor of Immunology, turned her interest in penicillin allergy into a multidisciplinary study with the Departments of Pharmaceutical Care and Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. They established a drug allergy clinic, testing orthopedic surgery candidates who self-reported a beta-lactam allergy. Of the 140 people receiving penicillin skin tests, 139 tested negative, indicating no penicillin allergy. Though more study is needed, enabling the use of penicillin in surgery for more patients has dramatic implications for antimicrobial stewardship and for controlling costs. Dr. Dowden and her team recently published their findings in the Journal of Arthroplasty. They are looking to expand their clinic to the IRL facility for otolaryngology patients. In addition to her clinical research, Dr. Dowden is also a course director for the M1 course Medicine and Society. The Department is grateful for her excellent work.
I would also like to use this space from time to time to introduce you to the department leadership team. Much of the Vice Chairs’ work is “off-stage,” but it is important that these efforts are recognized, as they have tremendous impact for all of us. I have been grateful to serve alongside Dr. Kim Staffey, Vice Chair for Clinical Programs for the last year or so. The position title makes clear what fills Dr. Staffey’s portfolio of responsibilities, but gives little sense of the breadth of her influence. In this role, she oversees efforts that ensure our clinical faculty and staff continue to meet and exceed performance and productivity goals and that quality, safety, and patient satisfaction remain our focus. Dr. Staffey does all of this so that our faculty feel supported by the Department, to the best of our ability. She is also focused on working with faculty, in part through the redesign of our mentorship program, to ensure that the multiple pressures to achieve expected metrics do not squelch the intrinsic joy in being excellent and compassionate clinicians, which drove the majority of us into this profession. She has worked closely with the hospitalist program to optimize inpatient services and has aided in the development of the Transitions of Care Clinic. Since her appointment, Dr. Staffey has also maintained her involvement with—and often leadership of—more than ten separate hospital-associated working groups and committees. A truly dizzying workload for which I remain grateful.
On one last note, I would like to extend my congratulations to our most recent class of residents, who have just achieved a 100% pass rate on their Internal Medicine boards. Graduates of our residency program have achieved 100% pass rates in five of the last six years. This is a strong endorsement of the quality of our training program, the commitment of our faculty, and our strong classes of residents. Your successes make us proud! To ensure that we continue to attract the best and brightest to our program, each of us should engage and actively participate in the recruitment process, which is now a month underway. Please make yourselves available on Mondays or Fridays to meet with candidates. Every follow-up survey of applicants has revealed that faculty engagement during the recruitment process factors highly in their ranking of programs. Contact Dr. Manish Suneja, Cindy Batzkiel, or Rubi Eichelberger to let them know your availability.
This post will take a hiatus over the Thanksgiving weekend and will resume on December 1. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families. As a diabetologist, I am inclined to encourage you not to overeat, but I suspect this admonition might fall on deaf ears.