The education thread

One week later, and I am still thrilled by what an excellent Residency Match Day our department and the Carver College of Medicine had. After the outright cancellation of festivities in 2020 and the limited return of some traditions in 2021—aided by good weather—it was a wonderful feeling to see so many expectant medical school graduates and their friends and family fill the Robillard Atrium in MERF. The cheers, the hugs, and the relief, all were great to hear and see as graduates, nearing the end of one phase, learn where the next phase of their careers will take shape. And of course, as Dr. Manish Suneja and I wrote last week, we are so proud of the graduates who will be joining us officially on July 1. I was grateful to participate in the last half of this class’s recruitment as Interim Chair, and I was impressed to witness what Dr. Suneja, the Associate Program Directors, and the administrative professionals—Abbey Gilpin, Denise Floerchinger, and Cindy Batzkiel—all accomplish every year. They are an extraordinary team and they showcase our department at its best.

Although their group is the most visible component of our department’s education mission, training and mentoring is threaded throughout everything we do. You can find that educational element, keeping an eye toward the short- and long-term future of our profession, in just about any story that appears elsewhere here on the department news site, Making the Rounds. One of our communications team’s most recent stories features a first-year medical student working in Dr. Mohamad Mokadem’s lab. Hussein Herz has received a research fellowship award from the American Gastroenterological Association for this coming summer, studying diet’s impact on energy balance in mice. I know Dr. Mokadem and all of us are excited to see another potential future physician-scientist make his first discoveries.

A physician-scientist we have been fortunate to train and watch develop over the years is Dr. Tyler Rasmussen, currently Chief Fellow in the cardiology fellowship program, graduate of our Physician-Scientist Training Pathway, as well as of the Carver College of Medicine. Dr. Rasmussen recently published, along with Drs. Saket Girotra and Mary Vaughan-Sarrazin, an analysis of more than 38,000 patient records at 170 hospitals across the United States. What their article in JAMA Network Open details is a wide variation in incidence of in-hospital cardiac arrest. Rigorous analyses such as these are crucial first steps in producing better outcomes for those who entrust themselves into our care.

Formal training programs like our residency, our PSTP, and our fellowship programs have curricula, expectations from national governing bodies, proven methods, and space to grow and adapt over time. Our investment in them is significant and highly visible. Less visible but too-often easily forgotten or discounted is the education that happens in formal and informal mentoring relationships. Checking in on the just-arrived junior faculty members, making sure they have what they need, answering their questions about a grant application can all go a long way toward helping someone stay balanced in a new role. Our department has always been one that works to welcome. It is not just because it is the right thing and the kind thing to do, but our work benefits from their fresh ideas and their energy. In this recent story about an R01 that Drs. Sanjana Dayal and Steven Lentz received, Dr. Dayal mentions that Dr. Lentz had served as a mentor to her during her postdoctoral work and that they have built a very trusting and productive relationship over many years. And now the pair of faculty members will work as co-PIs as they explore a theory behind COVID-19 induced coagulation.

Finally, if you want to expand your already-significant contribution to education of our residents, consider a donation to the International Residency Rotation Fund on or before the upcoming One Day for Iowa fund-raiser on March 30. Now that international travel is starting to seem a little more dependable, this incredible opportunity for our residents will once again become available. That fund and two others—one funding research into the pulmonary impacts of climate change and the other to our legendary and award-winning LGBTQ Clinic—are the three options we have identified for this 24-hour donation blitz. You can read more about all that and how you can take part here.

About Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD

Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD; Interim Chair and DEO, Department of Internal Medicine; Kate Daum Endowed Professor; Professor of Medicine – Cardiovascular Medicine; Professor of Radiation Oncology

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