A new year, a new phase

Clearing a path for clinicians, researchers, and educators all to perform as effectively and efficiently as possible and to be appropriately recognized for their efforts are foundational goals for me as a department leader. This first day of a new fiscal year represents the next phase in an ongoing effort to make sure that your hard work is rewarded appropriately. For the better part of the last twelve months, my predecessor and I have each led a department committee charged by the Carver College of Medicine to construct a faculty compensation model that connects productivity with pay more transparently and equitably. This model equates effort across all three missions, no matter your chosen subspecialty. Each faculty member’s salary begins at a base salary that is aligned with their practice and then adds incentive payments determined by individual effort. Each division will also track certain metrics that their division directors have chosen and for which faculty can aim for additional incentive payments. Whether you are primarily a clinician, researcher, educator, administrator, or some combination of all of these, your individual effort will determine your individual compensation.

Throughout this fiscal year, we will road-test this new model. Faculty will be able to get regular reports from their division director and division administrator with a clear understanding of how their activity is being measured and how it compares to appropriate benchmarks. When I last wrote about this in February, I made it clear then and I want to repeat it now: your compensation for the new fiscal year that starts today is not driven by the new compensation plan. After we have learned everything that we have learned in this coming year, including—perhaps, most important— what you tell us, and after we have adjusted the new compensation model to address concerns and the department’s fiscal needs, then the new model will be in full deployment on July 1, 2023. Other departments in the college made other choices, but given that change is difficult and because equity and transparency are guiding principles of the new plan, we felt a year to phase in and adjust would be key. The details of all this—the plan itself, including division-determined addenda, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a graphic summary of the plan’s main elements—were sent to faculty yesterday. Please take the time to digest this information and let department and division leaders know what questions and concerns you have. Our Clinical Department Administrator Denise Zang and I will be coming to each division faculty meeting to discuss the plan further and to take your questions.

It should be clear that we are approaching this new era with caution and an abundance of data and feedback. I am deeply grateful to the other members of the committee who have labored for long hours to produce this plan, which has had to balance an extraordinary number of considerations. My thanks to Vice Chair for Clinical Programs Dr. Kim Staffey, Vice Chair for Education Dr. Manish Suneja, Denise Zang, Lori Bassler, Amy McDonald, and all of the division administrators and directors. In particular, I would like to recognize Thomas Callahan, our Lead Application Developer and chief data guru, who tirelessly worked through the process from Day One. Each of you has been instrumental in getting us to this point. Your commitment to the future of this department and its members is noteworthy.

Today is also the first day of a new academic year. Welcome to our new interns, who officially start today but have been going through orientation all week, including taking part in our innovative Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCE), a clinical skills assessment. Our OSCEs have inspired new formative assessments within our department, such as those used for evaluating teaching skills, other residency programs outside our department, and more focused training for our medical students to better prepare them for residency. Every year additional departments in the Carver College of Medicine reach out to our Education Leadership team to ask if their interns can also run through our OSCEs. Moreover, the ACGME—the national governing body overseeing all graduate medical education—has used published results of our OSCEs’ effectiveness to recommend their implementation in all programs across the country. All this is to say to our newest members, welcome to a training program that will never stop looking for ways to align our instruction to your individual needs.

It is also my honor to extend the first welcome of many to our new faculty members, many of whom are officially beginning their academic appointments today. In the coming weeks, the Communications team will introduce you to our newest colleagues and, as our new clinicians get settled, we will invite them to the New Provider Orientation that our Human Resources team organizes to supplement the session provided by University of Iowa Health Care. We want you to be aware of the array of resources at the institution, but especially those unique to this department that can help you succeed. There is editorial and graphic support for posters, manuscripts, and grant proposals within our Design Center for anyone looking to communicate their work, as well as an array of other research support services to give you time and space to focus on what you are trained to do.

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