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.

Vikas Koppurapu
Nominated by: Maria Story, Staff Member

Dr. Koppurapu placed a dialysis catheter for a stable floor patient on a Sunday so the patient could receive urgent dialysis. The nephrology and primary teams had spent >2 hours attempting to find a physician to place a dialysis catheter over a 2 day period. When contacted for assistance, Dr. Koppurapu stepped up and offered to assist and placed the catheter after finishing ICU rounds. The patient was able to get urgent dialysis and clinically improved after receiving treatment. Dr. Koppurapu was very helpful, didn’t give push back about helping, and completed the task safely.

Thank you!


Zuhair Ballas
Nominated by: R.K., Patient

Dr. Ballas was so very helpful! It was amazing just to talk to him. We’ve been to many hospitals & seen many doctors; no one could even begin to figure out or understand my health issues. But he knew what tests to run & it was very comforting & reassuring to have him work with me. I’m so thankful that he took time to listen to my entire health journey. That takes a lot of patience! We still don’t have answers for everything, but what a feeling of relief to see someone who takes my case so seriously & digs deep to explore every aspect & area of my sickness.

Dr. Ballas is very diligent & we appreciate all the hard work he’s put into my case. He was also very friendly & gave my mom & I such warm feelings! May God bless you, Doctor! Thank you for everything! Coming from Fiji, I’ve never experienced such care like I have from you. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you.


Melinda Johnson
Nominated by: Sue Donnelly, Staff Member

Dr. Johnson ‐ thank you for making a difference by completing a peer review for one of our patients. The Utilization Review department appreciates your willingness to take time to talk to the insurance company regarding the acuity of our patients. We (UM) understand that this can be a very frustrating process, and unfortunately we have to ask providers too often to do this.

Thank You
The Utilization Management Team


Poorani Sekar
Nominated by: P.M., Patient

I was seen by Dr. Sekar on 11/19/20. This was my annual check up for infections in my hips. She was very thorough with her questions for me and was able to answer all the questions I had for her. She is a VERY GOOD Doctor and a Very GOOD PERSON! I would recommend her to anyone!


Antoanela Dobre
Nominated by: Poorani Sekar, Staff Member

Toni Dobre is our OPAT (Outpatient parenteral antibiotic treatment) coordinator. She is the one that ensures that patients discharged on IV antibiotics to their homes or to a nursing home get their antibiotics and that they don’t have any ongoing issues. She ensures that all the safety labs are obtained on these patients and spends numerous hours calling home infusion services, pharmacists, home health nurses, nursing homes, and infusion centers to ensure this happens. Sometimes she contends with very impatient people on the other end of the line but she explains why it is important to get these labs or monitor their antibiotics. She raises the flag when trends of labs are worrisome with the providers and ensures antibiotic switches are made in a quick and efficient manner so as to minimize any harm to the patient. She manages a list of almost 100‐150 patients every day and works with numerous agencies and providers to ensure that these patients are cared for in a safe and effective manner. Numerous other institutions have an OPAT team consisting of 4 to 5 people but here she does this job almost all by herself with help from our nurse Laura Goddard and administrator Stephanie Cecil. Thank you, Toni, for all that you do. You are truly an asset to our division.

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