Denise Zang, clinical department administrator, joined the Department of Internal Medicine almost exactly one month ago, after serving as administrator for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health. (Read Dr. Dale Abel’s announcement and introduction.) Earlier this week, Zang responded to a few questions.
Welcome to Iowa! We hope your first month is going well. What has been keeping you busy these last few weeks?
I’ve been exploring some areas of Iowa City and Coralville, and I also made a trip to the Amana Colonies. In addition I’ve been learning all about the the missions of University of Iowa Health Care and watching the physicians’ videos online.
What have you been most surprised by since arriving at the University of Iowa?
The size of the hospital! Wow! I carry a picture of the wayfinding map on my phone (and Stacie Vik’s phone number) in case I get lost. But really, I’m amazed at the wonderful work people do and how friendly everyone is. There are always people to help with any question.
What are you most proud of from your time at the University of Wisconsin’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine?
The Chief, Dr. Mohamed Hamdan, and I had accomplished so much together. I think the biggest accomplishment was growing the division from 38 faculty and 8 APPs to nearly 70 faculty and 45 APPs. Along with this growth came new programs, better patient access in the ambulatory clinics, and new partnerships in the surrounding areas of the state.
As clinical department administrator, you are responsible for, among many things, the financial health of the department. What do you see as positive markers of our department’s health?
What I’ve noticed most since my arrival has been the people of the department. They are enthusiastic, dedicated, knowledgeable, and they are what makes Iowa what it is for our patients. That’s why we are all here, the patients. I am more than elated to see such commitment. It’s amazing.
What are some areas that will require attention in the next couple years? In which areas do you think the department will need to invest to prepare for potential future changes?
We have a number of areas of growth that I’ve heard about so far, including clinical programs and research. This will take recruitment efforts so I believe a large amount of time will be spent recruiting. The well-being of our faculty, staff, APPs, residents, and fellows should also be on the minds of everyone here. We are all asked to do more with less and we need to manage that as effectively as possible.
You also manage a team of people, many of whom manage their own teams. What is a lesson you have learned over the years that guides the way you approach management?
Well, a couple of things come to mind. First, I am always available. I give my cell phone out and ask people to call when they need me. I feel that is important. I enjoy mentoring others and I like to help them reach their professional goals. Whatever I can do to encourage and support others will make our department that much stronger. Finally, I strive to be fair in everything I do. I’m honest and I’m as transparent as much as I can be.
As you settle in to life in Iowa City, how are you and your husband getting to know the area? What keeps you busy outside the office?
Right now, what’s keeping me busy is unpacking! We purchased a nice home in Coralville. Beyond that, we are trying out a lot of restaurants in the area. There are so many! It’s awesome. Even though I’ve been here since the middle of February, my husband just joined me this past weekend. So everything is new for him.