I have the great fortune to regularly speak at other public institutions and private organizations about what it is that makes Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa unique and a department worth their attention. I can cite our world-class discoveries in research, our successes in developing and delivering innovative new drug therapies through clinical trials, or the growing trend among medical school graduates across the country to make our residency program their top choice. These achievements reflect one thing, the strong and committed team that IS the Department of Internal Medicine. When I am asked about what makes us special, my answer is one simple word: people. I witness daily how our shared dedication to advancing health takes precedence over other priorities. It is humbling to work alongside each and every member of our department, knowing that the overwhelming majority are rowing in the same direction. This is why I am grateful every year that we organize Employee Appreciation Day, a very small token to say thank you, but also a moment that allows us to reflect on our shared values and what we bring to each other.
There are many examples of how we prize collegiality and mutual support as critical values in our department. Just last weekend about a dozen faculty members gave up personal time to prepare our residents for their upcoming board examinations. Organized by our Chief Residents, the board review sessions demystify the looming exam and bolsters our residents’ confidence as they prepare for this important test. The results speak for themselves, given our stellar board pass rates. Importantly, this exercise reinforces that the faculty and staff in our program are deeply invested in our residents’ education and success. This voluntary effort is impressive. Not only do faculty members prepare and deliver a comprehensive board review, but they linger afterwards to answer questions and to provide mentorship. These efforts affirm to our trainees that they are training in an environment that believes in them and wants the best for them. Thank you to those instructors who spent time with our residents last weekend.
Mentorship is another way our department reveals it is composed of individuals invested in each other’s success. At the same time, mentorship in quality improvement projects shows how invested we are in our patients’ safety and in delivering high-value and safe clinical care. Dr. Krista Johnson serves as the Educational Director for Safety and Quality in our residency program. She matches resident interest with faculty activity and supervises the completion of this important component of resident training. At the link, you can see the breadth and diversity of QI projects that our faculty have guided their residents through and the exposure of their work locally and nationally. Everything from process adjustments to establishing guidelines for getting patients off proton pump inhibitors have resulted in published or presented work on the regional and national stage. It is encouraging to witness the influence that our residents are having on our peers across the country.
Two of our outstanding educators have recently been recognized for their extensive contributions with medical students, residents, and fellows. Dr. Lauris Kaldjian, Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, is the Director of the Program in Bioethics and Humanities. He also holds the Richard M. Caplan Chair in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities, a position we recently learned has just been renewed for another term. Dr. Kaldjian is well-respected and widely recognized for his talent in leading productive and thoughtful discussions around difficult questions of ethics and is the perfect philosopher-physician to hold this role.
Dr. Lisa Antes, Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, is the Program Director of the Nephrology Fellowship. Dr. Antes was just named to the Dr. William and Sondra Myers Family Professorship, affirming her talent, dedication and commitment toward advancing the college’s education mission. Her leadership in the last few years of the Nephrology Fellowship Program has also shown her effectiveness, deftly navigating difficult national trends to ensure that recruitment into our nephrology training program remains robust. Congratulations to both Dr. Kaldjian and Dr. Antes on these well-deserved appointments.