Holidays for the residents

In a year when nothing has been like any other year, it has been important to leadership in our Internal Medicine Residency Program to keep morale high among our residents in addition to making sure they see just how important they are and valued by the department and the rest of University of Iowa Health Care. Not just for their work on the wards and in the clinics, but that they are very much part of the Internal Medicine family. Over the last couple weeks, some very public demonstrations emphasized that point.

First, a surprise Ugly Sweater Party was sprung on them during Noon Conference last week. One by one, before the conference began, the Chief Residents and Education Leadership team danced their way into the Medical Alumni Auditorium accompanied by Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” After the session, each of them said a few words thanking them for everything they did on the frontlines of the pandemic this year. Even the Chair, E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, got into the act, donning a string of working Christmas lights, one of his many sweaters, a stocking cap, and even for a moment (and the camera) a large poinsettia donated by Donald Heistad, MD.

A little more than a week later, and the real surprise was sprung. Rather than a typical educational session at noon conference, the residents’ Humanities and Wellness Committee revealed their plan. Because travel home this year was not recommended, the committee reached out to the residents’ families for a little piece of home. Each of the residents’ families was asked to send photos that would remind the residents of home, which the committee framed and put on display in Med Alum.

While they ate their lunch, the residents were treated to a slideshow of photos on the screen and a Zoom-ed in Abel, who reiterated what an unusual year the residents had just come through. He thanked them and congratulated them on all they had proven themselves to be capable of. Residency Program Director Manish Suneja, MD, offered his own words of gratitude.

Chief Resident Roger Struble, MD, then gave directions on how the socially distanced version of gingerbread house building would proceed. Teams would work in the Bean Conference Room in shifts over the remaining hour, at which time their results would be judged.

The winners of the gingerbread house building contest are below. From left to right: R1 Katelin Durham, MD (first place); R1 Mahak Saad, MD (runner-up); R3 Hildur Jónsdóttir, MD (third place)

Congratulations to all the builders!

Thank you, Residents, for a remarkable 2020. The Department of Internal Medicine hopes that you have a safe, warm, and restful holiday this year. You have more than earned it.

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