Every few weeks another list appears and the University of Iowa or Iowa City appears at or near the top. This week the U. S. News & World Report ranking of the nation’s best hospitals was released and seven adult care specialties at University of Iowa Health Care were ranked. Our providers in cancer care rose in the list from #40 last year up to #18, and the care we provide in pulmonology entered the list for the first time, in at least the last five years, at #39. In addition, our providers in gastroenterology, nephrology, and geriatrics received designation in the report’s “high-performing” category. Though we should remember that there is some subjectivity in lists such as these, there is still plenty for us to celebrate in them as well. They are a recognition that our reputation for excellence, compassion, and precision is strong, and they are a reminder that improvements can only come through being open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new collaborations. Congratulations to everyone in UI Health Care for their remarkable achievements.
For as much as our achievements are recognized on the national level, our efforts are also recognized by grateful patients, their families, and other supporters of the department. Two new professorships were recently endowed and have been conferred upon their recipients. Dr. Long-Sheng Song has been appointed to the University of Iowa Professorship in Cardiovascular Disease Research, a five-year appointment funded by the Albaghdadi Family Fund for Cardiovascular Research and by the Ramona A. Mayer Cardiovascular Research Fund. Dr. Song is an accomplished investigator and a deserving inaugural holder of this professorship. His research focuses on the highly spatio-temporal localized Ca2+ signals in cardiac muscle cells that have informed the pathophysiology of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.
Second, Dr. Chris Benson has been appointed to the Kanu and Docey Edwards Chatterjee Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine, for a five-year term. Dr. Kanu Chatterjee was a much beloved member of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and a cherished member of the University of Iowa Health Care family. He spent the twilight of his distinguished career at our institution with a devotion to clinical teaching that was matched by the joy he took in his work. Dr. Benson embodies a similar balance between clinical care, research, and education that Dr. Chatterjee exemplified. Congratulations to both Dr. Song and Dr. Benson on their appointments. Thanks also to our colleagues from the University of Iowa Center for Advancement for their efforts in securing the philanthropic commitments that led to these endowed positions.
Another way to measure our impact is by how often we leave these walls and go out into the community and state. I am pleased to report that the number of Internal Medicine faculty participating in the Visiting Professor Program (VPP) organized by the Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs has risen to 18 over last year. The VPP, now in its fifth decade, places medical faculty in front of dozens of community-based residency programs throughout Iowa. Last year, 13 of our colleagues accounted for 19 of the 88 VPP sessions. This year, five additional faculty brought our total participation up to fill 23 of the 87 teaching sessions. Below we have listed those participating members, the locations to which they traveled, and the titles of the talks they delivered. Just as our clinicians take their care to where our patients live, so too do our educators take their skills, modeling for our neighbors what it means to fully inhabit the place we call home.
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Finally, speaking of impact, I want to thank everyone in the department who reached just a little deeper in the last month to contribute to our back-to-school supply drive. For weeks, nearly every day I passed the donation box outside my office, I saw another stack of spirals or a few boxes of crayons that one of our members had dropped off. The photos of just some of the supplies gathered in one spot are impressive. Although the students may not be thrilled to be back in the classroom after a too-brief summer break, it is not difficult to imagine a small amount of relief on a parent’s or a teacher’s part knowing their students will have some of what they need to succeed. Congratulations and thank you to Rethy Krishnamurthy and the CES team for this tangible example of community engagement.