Jamie Paul sees a lot. As Division Coordinator for the largest division in the largest department in the Carver College of Medicine, there’s plenty to keep track of. First, though, some data Paul had right at her fingertips: General Internal Medicine (GIM) currently has 85 faculty members, 21 advanced practice providers, 5 fellows in the VA Quality Scholars Program, and 2 Palliative Care Fellows. The division is also responsible for a sizable research portfolio; most members of CADRE, the VA’s health services research Center of Innovation, are housed within GIM. Paul keeps an eye on just about everything.
More numbers produced by Paul in a flash: She scheduled more than 70 people into 35 mentoring committees and managed more than 60 faculty reviews from beginning to end. This is just within the last few months. In one of her favorite tasks, she publishes a monthly newsletter, collecting all of the division’s achievements, from grants to publications to activities with local, national, and international societies. Paul also schedules recruitment visits for researchers, visiting professors coming to deliver guest lectures and, occasionally, for academics who just want to get a sense of what the University of Iowa is all about. Paul is one of the first points of contact for anyone coming from outside the institution, making her an essential part of a visitor’s first impression.
From ancient history to modern science
An Iowa City native, Paul has always been drawn to the University of Iowa, where she majored in history. “It was the only thing I found interesting,” she said. With a focus primarily on the ancient world, Paul’s taste for Roman and Greek history has come in handy since finishing her bachelor’s degree a few years ago. Studying history, she says, is mostly about understanding how people interact. And although helping people in the operations of a massive academic medical division was not part of any larger strategy, working for the University of Iowa has been. While still in high school and throughout her undergraduate years, she worked in the College of Law’s Registrar’s Office.
After college and some internal changes to the Registrar’s Office, Paul was on the hunt for something more permanent. She spent a few years working on projects for Pearson, managing project-based scoring operations. Promoted to a director position, Paul trained and supervised teams of evaluators assigning scores to open-ended responses. She even spent some time in Nashville creating and running one of the company’s projects. However, the work was not to her taste and she ventured off to find something on more solid ground. “Standardized tests are anything but standard,” she joked.
Paul cast a wide net at the University of Iowa. “It was the only place I wanted to work,” she said. She jokes now that she had applied to so many jobs that when GIM Division Administrator Kristin Goedken called her, Paul was not sure at first which job Goedken was calling about. The confusion was quickly resolved and Paul proved herself more than capable, moving from temporary status to full-time employee in a short amount of time. Four years later and the division would not know what to do without her.
An integral team member
When Goedken took a three-month leave last year, Paul filled in for her as acting Division Administrator. Division Director Richard Hoffman, MD, MPH, referred to her job performance as “superb.” CADRE co-director Eli Perencevich, MD, MS, noted, “From supporting works-in-progress and journal club conferences to helping submit CDC and AHRQ grants, she’s an integral part of our research team.”
Hoffman continued, offering another list showing the many tasks Paul “deftly” manages: “assembling promotion dossiers, providing administrative oversight for staff and work-study students, scheduling meetings and conferences, helping with grant submissions, arranging applicant visits, and writing the monthly newsletter.” Hoffman is also grateful for Paul’s ability to manage the occasional crisis: “We really appreciate her dedication, practicality, great sense of humor, and admire her ongoing efforts to deal with the climate changes on the 6th floor of General Hospital that have brought heat waves, polar vortices, and floods.”
Globetrotter with a respect for roots
Paul sees more than just what’s going on within the division and department. She has seen quite a bit of the world as well. She has traveled from an early age, because, she says, her mom wanted to make sure that “when we got older we weren’t afraid.” Travel is now a passion of Paul’s. She makes regular visits to San Diego to see family, and her expertise in Roman history was useful during her tours of Italy with her mother. Although Italy holds a special place in her heart, Paul’s favorite travel experience occurred when she and her mother made a trip to Prague to explore their ancestral roots. While there, they met with extended family that they did not know previously existed thanks to a genealogy service.
Other trips to Europe and to Latin America keep Paul’s passport filled with stamps and her wall filled with colorful memories, but Paul is trying to travel a little less this year, a task she knows will prove difficult. She is saving up money so that she can buy her grandmother’s house and keep it in the family. “It’s not a matter of ‘if,’” Paul says with certainty, “but when.” With a grasp on the past, a vision for the future, and her strong self-confidence, those around her are sure to benefit.