I had hoped to begin this week’s post extolling the virtues of my interim replacement, but alas, that work is still ongoing. We appreciate the care and consideration that leadership is exercising in this process. We know they want to ensure continuity and stability during what everyone hopes will be an efficient but thorough and exhaustive search for the department’s next permanent chair. I am confident that once in office both of these next two leaders—the interim and the permanent chairs—will provide strong and transparent stewardship with a vision that aligns the department’s missions in a way that will garner strong support from all the members of our great department. Collaboration and consensus have always been the culture of Internal Medicine; it existed before I arrived in this office and will persist long past all of our tenures.

We have always respected tradition in Internal Medicine at Iowa. The trailblazers of today will be the elders offering their wisdom and the benefit of experience to tomorrow’s class of seekers. One such trailblazer-turned-statesman is Dr. Jack Stapleton. Long before public opinion shifted, he set a standard for treating people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, opening the first clinic in the state here. It is not difficult for anyone today to imagine the challenges of those days fighting a new, destructive, and mysterious virus. And yet, over the decades as medicines emerged alongside better understanding, the heart of that standard—compassionate, evidence-based care—has never shifted. And as new avenues allowing us to treat the whole patient emerged, the recognition that some basic factors must first be met before healing can begin evolved as well. UI Health Care is celebrating 100 years of incorporating social work into the care we provide, and since 1998 the HIV / AIDS Clinic has offered that care as well. We are proud that these eight social workers call our department home.

To provide world-class care here, our clinicians follow the evidence. They stay on the cutting-edge in part because they themselves are conducting the clinical trials or the bench research that forms the foundation of new knowledge. In other cases, they are collaborating with colleagues from other institutions or organizations to amplify the impact of their work. An impressive 17 abstracts emerged from our Division of Nephrology and Hypertension to take the national stage at this year’s Kidney Week hosted by the American Society of Nephrology. It should be noted that more than a couple of those abstracts have authors who are currently in our residency program. We never miss a chance to get our trainees the exposure to scholarship that will make their career transitions all the smoother. Other programs’ trainees can also count on our faculty members’ support. An impressive publication from Dr. Saket Girotra and Emergency Medicine’s critical care fellow Dr. Erin Evans finding deviations from accepted guidelines in shockable in-hospital cardiac arrests was published in a recent issue of the BMJ.

Our willingness to stretch beyond the confines of our campus is common and celebrated. The Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation recently selected Dr. Doug Hornick and his Adult CF care team for the CFF 2021 Outstanding Care Center Partnership Award. The award recognizes the team’s regular engagement with the Iowa Chapter of the CFF in Des Moines in a variety of activities. This extra commitment in time and effort has resonated with our patients with CF, and their families know that faculty and staff in Iowa City remain committed to treating and managing their CF. The Pulmonary Division leads in cystic fibrosis care and hosts the leadership of the lung transplant program, with some of the best outcomes in the country in both. In the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dr. Joseph Dillon continues to lead the Neuroendocrine Tumor Center for Excellence, the only center of its kind in the United States. Their group also joined a rare group of institutions with the designation as a Pheo Para Center of Excellence. I will always run out of breath before I run out of examples to cite of just what an outstanding set of clinicians populate this department.

Finally, I must always make a pitch and a thank-you for those faculty members giving up a bit of time to interview our next class of interns. We are only a month or so in but the caliber of applicants I have seen so far has been off the charts. Success breeds success. Some of that annual success is due in part to Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education Dr. Mark Wilson, who has spearheaded several initiatives over the years to raise our national profile and improve the GME experience for our trainees. Recently the ACGME recognized what we see all the time and awarded him a 2021 Parker J. Palmer Courage to Lead Award. Congratulations!

About E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD

E. Dale Abel, MD PhD Francois M. Abboud Chair in Internal Medicine John B. Stokes III Chair in Diabetes Research Chair, Department of Internal Medicine Director, Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Director, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering

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