Measuring our impact

Reputation matters. Rankings by outlets like U. S. News & World Report or by other private or governmental sources of our clinical services as a whole or a particular subspecialty or our training programs influence a raft of decisions made by potential students, trainees, and even faculty recruits about whether to come here. Patients, referring providers, and insurance companies use rankings data in ways that impact our financial health. It is an imperfect system and at times frustrating, but reflects a current reality to which we should give attention. As all health care systems focus on these measures and as these performance data become more compressed, small changes in performance can have an outsized impact on an organization’s relative ranking. Awareness of these challenges and identification of ways to improve should remain a steady focus, even when we believe that we are doing our best, at times under constraints that are beyond our control. I am mindful that for some, discussing these metrics, although an indirect measure of quality in multiple domains, may contribute to an environment that contributes to physician burnout. Additional expectations on scholarly productivity may feel to some of you like yet another log on the fire. In a longer piece I discuss my perspectives on scholarship, reflect on the implications of this expectation, and present our department’s approach to supporting the scholarly aspirations of our entire faculty.

Article of the Week bannerOur department has made deep contributions to the reputation of the university and the college in terms of scholarship for close to a century and a half. For those investigating our department, we update our department’s publication record on the college’s website every two weeks with the most recent publications. You can see that in just the first two weeks of May, faculty in our department contributed to more than two dozen publications. And as always, we pull one article each week for special highlight, providing a cross-sectional view of the breadth of our activity. We believe that promoting our scholarship in this way has the cumulative effect of reinforcing our department’s strong and ongoing commitment to scholarship and of celebrating our faculty’s achievements.

AHAlogoNewThere are certainly other opportunities in addition to having your research appear in print that contributes to our strong Iowa reputation. Dr. Bill Thiel’s discovery of a drug-eluting stent that prevents the accumulation of abnormal growth in vascular smooth muscle cells was hailed at the AHA’s Vascular Discovery Scientific Sessions earlier this month. I suspect that this is not the last time we will have reason to discuss this work as it makes its way toward publication. Another critical way we can promote the work we do at the University of Iowa is by getting involved in our professional societies, especially at the state and national levels. Many of us are or have served in executive leadership roles of organizations such as the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the Endocrine Society, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association or the Americas Association of Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders, among others. One of our colleagues just completed his term as Governor of the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Scott Vogelgesang graciously offered his thoughts on the challenges facing the profession and what being engaged with the ACP has meant for his view of the present and of the future.  

I believe that if we are doing what we should, with our eyes fixed firmly on what is best for medicine, for our patients, and for our colleagues, the rankings will follow. Good work produces good results. We can see this in the work being done in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine. Under Dr. Joseph Zabner’s leadership, their members exemplify effective teamwork, not just in in the clinic, but throughout the division, with room given to all voices and perspectives. This is why, in part, their resident-to-fellow-to-faculty pipeline is one of the most consistently productive in the department, if not the entire college. Thank you to Dr. Zabner for this update on all the good work your team is doing.

About E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD

E. Dale Abel, MD PhD Francois M. Abboud Chair in Internal Medicine John B. Stokes III Chair in Diabetes Research Chair, Department of Internal Medicine Director, Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Director, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering

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