You Make a Difference in Internal Medicine

The University of Iowa Health Care Making a Difference program is designed to recognize individuals who have performed in an exemplary manner, consistent with the goals of service excellence, and with a commitment to quality care.

Over the last few months, members of our department were nominated by colleagues, patients, and patient family members for a variety of actions that have had a major impact. Recognizing others is fast and easy with the Making a Difference nomination form.

Poorani Sekar, Ben Appenheimer, Aditi Reddy, and Josh Holt
Nominated by: A. F., Patient’s Family

I am a nurse practitioner with internal medicine and have been employed at UIHC since 2007. In June 2019, my father was hospitalized at UIHC for a leg abscess and bacteremia. His primary caregiver was Dr. Reddy. She took care of my father with such attention to detail and such compassion. She called me every day to update me on his progress. I was able to go home at night knowing that he would be well cared for. My father’s course was prolonged and somewhat complicated and still ongoing. He was cared for by Dr. Appenheimer while admitted who also took excellent care of my father with a thoroughness that is second to none. He transitioned my dad’s care to Dr. Sekar as outpatient who conferred with Dr. Holt (who also took care of my dad while admitted and post discharge). Dr. Sekar has taken so much time to spend with my dad and to discuss his case with Dr. Appenheimer and Dr. Holt. As an employee, I know that patients don’t always feel that the teams communicate with one another, which is sometimes the case. However, with my father, I felt like everyone communicated quite well to make a plan that worked for my dad. It is not fun to be the patient or the patient’s family member, but the night my husband and I carried my dad out of his house, we had a choice which hospital to bring him to. He is a stubborn farmer who lives in NE Iowa. I chose UIHC because I believe that we are the best hospital in the region. Everyone from check-in staff to housekeeping to nurses to nurse aides to physicians/providers were over the top with their care. Words cannot express our gratitude to everyone who was involved in my father’s care. My family and I are forever indebted to UIHC for saving my father’s life.


Page Scovel
Nominated by: Missy Dean, Holly Clubb, & Jackie Wangui‐Verry, Staff Members

Page Scovel and Gina Engles went above and beyond in the Clinical Research Unit (CRU). The CRU patient was in a phase 1 oncology study. Phase I studies of a new drug are usually the first that involve people. The main reason for doing phase I studies is to find the highest dose of the new treatment that can be given safely without serious side effects. Although the treatment has been tested in lab and animal studies, the side effects in people can’t always be predicted. These studies also help to decide on the best way to give the new treatment, therefore the likelihood of reaction extremely high. The study requires 1 FDA-approved drug as well as a study drug. This study requires 8 hours of observation after the study drug is administered. At time of scheduling, it was unknown that this observation period would go well into the night hours. Page and Gina both have other full‐time jobs and work on the CRU as hourly staff to help with staffing the unit after “normal” clinic hours. Page signed up to assist until 1900, but after realizing this observation would go well past that time (0030), Page graciously rearranged her personal schedule last minute. Gina signed up to work last minute until 2200 and she also graciously rearranged her schedule to stay until observation was complete. These nurses continued to give excellent care to the patient despite meeting challenges of reaction, EPIC encounter issue since observation continued onto a new calendar day, just to name a few. We are so grateful to have them as a part of our team! Thank you, ladies.


Kais Zakharia
Nominated by: Megan Gipple, Staff Member

We had a physician with a patient with a post-procedure complication and the patient needed admitted. The physician was struggling with the process. The charge nurse paged Kais, who was on inpatient service, and Kais immediately came to help. He placed all the appropriate orders and even spoke to the surgical team about the patient, even though he had nothing to do with this procedure. We later called upon Kais again for assistance with this physician’s last patient, as they were going to extremely delayed related to previous events. Kais had a busy schedule with inpatient consults, but took the time to call another physician and fellow and coordinated transferring care of this patient to them. Thank you for taking the time to provide excellent service to both the patients that evening. We all appreciated it!


Friederike Fischer
Nominated by: Elizabeth Brau, Staff Member

A VA hospital patient going to the main OR for oral surgery was denied approval for an overnight stay postoperatively by the VA. A message had been left after hours instructing us to cancel the surgery until approval could be obtained. Unfortunately the directive to reschedule was not received until the patient was on his way to recovery. The patient now had to stay but without pre-approval the stay would not be covered. I reached out to Friederike to contact the VA for bed placement overnight to avoid a hardship for the patient. She worked with the VA and finally secured approval for the patient to remain at UIHC overnight as the VA was full. She kept me informed along the way. Friederike did an amazing service for this patient demonstrating her commitment to outstanding service to the patients we serve.

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