It seemed like much of our spare time in 2019 in Internal Medicine was devoted to self-assessment and review. These can be essential and worthwhile activities, without question. They confirmed our strengths, clarified opportunities, and collectively revealed paths we might not have considered otherwise. My profound gratitude goes out to all the administrative personnel, faculty, staff, and members of the leadership team who contributed to our five-year review, our annual review, a slew of other summaries and reports, our annual print publication now renamed Vitals, and, of course, the annual State of the Department address that I delivered just a couple weeks ago.
One regret I have about that presentation is that because our department is so large, it is impossible to do justice to every individual achievement in only one hour. Instead, we have to summarize entire swathes of activities under phrases like “education innovation” or “significant research discoveries,” unable to linger on just one of those grant wins or a clinical success. But if we could, say, talk about the effort behind just one publication out of the 900-plus that emerged from our department in 2019, the scale and scope of all our collective effort might become clearer. In many ways, that effort is what I was driving at in a post earlier this year about our culture of scholarship at the University of Iowa. Whether it was fine-tuning yet another manuscript for submission or implementing and measuring a new clinical protocol to ensure maximum efficacy and safety, it is clear that 2019 was another year in which we all worked extremely hard at producing our best under tighter constraints.
About two dozen examples of clinical, research, and education successes can be found on our department Twitter account under the hashtag #IowaIntMed2019, which we are using to highlight some of the standout achievements of the year. But these are still just a sample of the hundreds of stories we were able to tell this year of a department at the top of its game. In fact, in 2019, we published on average about two dozen stories on Making the Rounds per month, nearly 300 posts for the year. And although we published a similar number in 2018, our readership has steadily increased by about 20,000 to 30,000 views every year since we began this project in 2016. Unique visits have jumped by more than 50% from last year to this, which we can clearly attribute in part to an increase in more voices engaging in the social media landscape sharing these links. The Chief Residents (@IM_Iowa) and I (@IntMedAbel) have started twitter accounts that complement the official departmental Twitter account (@IntMedatIowa) to share the news about all of the great things that are happening in our department on a daily basis. Please follow us to see some the things that we are doing happy dances about! We are also grateful for partners within the marketing and communications teams of UI Health Care and the rest of the Carver College of Medicine who have helped share our good news. All this has benefit for us beyond a bar graph of clicks, likes, and impressions. It is very clear that more eyeballs mean more awareness and more awareness means more interest from resident recruits, faculty applicants, or visiting lecturers. Potential new collaborations can all begin by following a link from a trusted source.
Recall the four guiding principles that I believe capture the direction that we take as a department: The Best People, A Strong Community, Rigor, and Innovation. The digital story we tell every day is one of a department that supports its members and celebrates every success it can. As we head toward 2020, it is my hope that each of you will help us continue to tell the story of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa. We can tell this story to each other, to the University of Iowa Health Care community, and beyond. Please never hesitate to reach out to members of our communications team—Trevor Jackson, Grace Culbertson, or Kris Greiner—with any good news or ideas you have that can help us attract attention to your hard and excellent work. If they do not hear about it, it will be hard for anyone else to do so either.
Finally, I want to thank the physicians, nurses, and staff who remain on duty over the next few weeks caring for those most important to us. Your and your family’s sacrifice allows the rest of us to take a year-end break with our families and loved ones in order to come back refreshed for our critical work (we promise to give you some time off later!). In closing, it is with the utmost humility and gratitude that I thank you all for an incredible 2019 and I am excited to see what we will accomplish together in 2020. Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year.