Even for Internal Medicine, these last few weeks have been exceptionally busy. In addition to regular responsibilities in our clinics, on the wards, in our research laboratories, and in the classroom, we have been coming together as a community to share our work, exchange ideas, and increase collaboration both within our walls and with the larger community outside. This is a core tenet of our mission in academic medicine. Communicating our discoveries and best practices and building collaborative networks increases the likelihood of finding the best solutions to the many challenges that we face. An excellent example of collaboration in action was our recent Internal Medicine Research Day. I am already aware of interactions that are leading to new directions and of new collaborations that have been established as a result. The turnout and participation in this now-52-year-old tradition was strong and I hope everyone involved enjoyed it as much as I did. It was inspiring to celebrate the convergence of so much activity and to observe the broad diversity of research and scholarship within our department. Congratulations to the winners of the poster competition and a special thanks to Drs. Mo Milhem, Paloma Giangrande, and Sanjana Dayal for organizing this successful event.
Each presentation relayed a story both of research findings and of mentorship. Every trainee in our program, whether a post-doc, a resident or a student, benefits from the interactions with senior mentors, which produce the unique and rich educational tapestry that our department represents. A notable example of this is the recent story of a case report our residents and faculty recently published in the leading subspecialty journal Arthritis & Rheumatology. This evidence of scholarship evolving from a diagnostic challenge and astute clinical reasoning also reveals another notable fact. Our clinicians tackle and diagnose the most challenging cases, ones very few others in the state and region are equipped to handle. When I round with our residents, I commonly hear patients and family members express not just their gratitude for the care we provide, but their relief at finally having an answer to a question that providers elsewhere might not have been able to provide. We solve puzzles at the University of Iowa—a natural result of some of the very best minds working in concert.
Graduates of our training programs carry that experience and wisdom with them around the world. We understand that career paths can often steer away from Iowa City, but we are always pleased to hear of the successes they achieve elsewhere. Recently, two former fellows in our Division of Immunology, Drs. Rick Brasington and Wayne Yokoyama, were elevated to Masters in the American College of Rheumatology, one of the highest honors given to outstanding members in that subspecialty. Two of our former Pulmonary fellows will each assume significant leadership responsibilities at other institutions. Dr. Rama Mallampalli, currently Pulmonary Division Chief at the University of Pittsburgh, will become the Chair of Internal Medicine at Ohio State, and Dr. Sif Hansdóttir will become Pulmonary Division Chief at the University of Iceland. The current president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Barbara McAneny, a graduate of our medical school and our Internal Medicine residency program recently visited us as well. Coverage of her recent visit and her thoughts on the direction of our profession will appear in a forthcoming issue of Medicine Iowa.
We appreciate staying in contact with our alumni and are continually reaching out to them for updates on their achievements and to let them know about ours. They tell us that their time at Iowa was special to them and many of them look for ways to sustain the work we do so that their successors can have a similar experience. Our partners at the UI Center for Advancement stand ready to match alumni interests with the areas of greatest need. But one does not need to leave Iowa in order to give back to a place that gives us so much. During the We Are Phil week next week, we will learn about ways that faculty and staff can optimize their philanthropy to the university and our department. This year’s event is co-chaired by our very own Chris Laubenthal, who endowed a scholarship for doctoral students in physical therapy some years ago. Chris is not the only member of our department quietly supporting many missions of our institution and our department. I hope that his example will inspire more of us to do the same.