The day before I delivered last week’s annual State of the Department address, we received some terrific news about our graduating residents, which I shared briefly during the presentation. We learned that every third-year resident who chose to pursue a fellowship next year matched into their first or second choice program. In previous years our placement rates have always been high, but this year’s perfect results push our five-year average for fellowship placement to 96 percent. The Department is exceedingly proud of their accomplishments. As with all the graduates who preceded them, we will continue to have high expectations of our graduates who are developing into world-class physicians. Congratulations to these soon-to-be fellows and to our faculty who advise and instruct them along the way.
One member of the education team who has had a tremendous impact on all our trainees is Education Development Director Jane Rowat. Jane has been uniquely positioned to see the trajectory a medical student will take from the undergraduate years all the way through residency and has offered creative and effective guidance to learners at every level. She co-directs the Internal Medicine Teaching Resident Program, the CCOM Clinical and Professional Skills strand, and the Inpatient Internal Medicine Clerkship. Each of these roles and more rely on her exemplary administrative and communication skills. What Jane achieves in larger organizational work is matched by her attention to mentorship and individual attention to student needs. She invests all of herself with nearly every one of her students, always willing to lend an ear, providing valuable advice and guidance whenever asked. We are very fortunate to have such a tremendous asset in our department and the success of our trainees reflects in part Jane Rowat’s input into our educational curricula.
We successfully launched a day-long series of examinations to assess the skill levels of incoming interns. The observations and evaluations require the coordination of multiple staff members and resources, and they provide our educators with a brisk but comprehensive view of dozens of new trainees. These objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) is just one example of how Jane Rowat has added educational and assessment rigor to our Internal Medicine Residency Program. Her experience and insight has not only guided instructors through challenging questions in the day-to-day, but she has also helped lead our programs through larger long-term changes including the time- and resource-intensive reaccreditation process. Her commitment to this department and to the entire Carver College of Medicine is a model for us all.
Dr. Isabella Grumbach displays a similar level of imagination and dedication. As Vice Chair for Research, she oversees a broad array of investigators and initiatives. Dr. Grumbach has worked to put in place support mechanisms for our investigators preparing to submit grant applications, and has often availed herself in offering advice and feedback. Isabella was instrumental in our decision to hire a new member of our departmental support staff, Kris Greiner, with decades of experience in scientific editing. I hope that you will introduce yourself to Kris and avail yourself of her services as you put together grants and manuscripts for publications. Dr. Grumbach also connects scientists facing technical challenges in the lab with other researchers who can help untangle the knots. Indeed, breaking down barriers between labs has been a driving concern of hers over the last year. She has overseen a redesign of our digital infrastructure and is developing a space where our investigators can connect virtually and quickly. In addition, she launched a monthly Research Seminar Series designed to showcase works in progress and to foster conversation among our diverse research constituency. While serving as Vice Chair, Dr. Grumbach also has successfully renewed all of her own research grants, and she is working to expand the work in her lab with the intent of building a program project grant. Her effectiveness as an educator can also be seen in the scholarships awarded to every one of the postdocs and graduate students working in her lab; many of her undergraduate research assistants also received awards. The true academic physician, she also continues to care for patients as a clinical cardiologist. Those patients are in as good of hands as the research mission of this department. It is a privilege for me to work with Dr. Grumbach in advancing our department’s research efforts.
As we enter the holiday season, I want to wish you all the best for the New Year. May your time in the coming weeks be filled with warmth and friends and family. May you find the peace and relaxation that restores you for the great work we will do together next year.