Gerke, Sekar earn clinical recognition

Since expanding in 2011 to cover the entire Carver College of Medicine, the University of Iowa Physicians (UIP) Clinical Awards has honored providers in six categories. This year, the Department of Internal Medicine is proud to have claimed a third of the prizes. Alicia Gerke, MD, MBA, received this year’s Patient Satisfaction and Service Excellence Award, and Poorani Sekar, MD, has received the Best Consulting Provider Award.

(A full list of this year’s and previous year’s winners.) 

Alicia Gerke, MD, MBA, Associate Professor in Internal Medicine
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine
Patient Satisfaction and Service Excellence Award

Joseph Zabner, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, nominated Gerke for this award. In his brief letter he detailed the variety of ways she provides care to people, both in direct, personal contact, as well as the organizational leadership she has shown in building a rare and critical national registry of sarcoidosis patients. “It is IMPRESSIVE,” Zabner wrote, “what she has been able to accomplish.”

“Sometimes I can sense what the patient really wants to hear and what they want to be counseled about,” Gerke said. “I think understanding that and then providing that empathy is one of the most important reasons why I went into medicine in the first place.”

Poorani Sekar, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases

Best Consulting Provider Award

Seven different nominators were quoted in the ballots provided to voting UIP members for Sekar’s candidacy. Phrases like “valued expertise and availability,” “thoughtful, well-informed care,” “top notch at communication and follow through,” and “personable approach and tireless effort” were common among across all submissions. Orthopedic surgeon Michael Willey, MD, perhaps summarized her worthiness best. “[She] cares deeply about patient outcomes. I would be unable to run my service without her contribution.”

“Uncertainty causes [patients] to think the worst thing is going on,” Sekar said, “so I like to educate them and then be their partner every step of the way.”


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