Leadership here, there, and everywhere

It is still thrilling to be able to reunite with friends and colleagues in person at conferences again. The time spent in in-person conferences and council meetings feels to many of us like a distant and treasured memory. Not surprisingly, getting “back to normal” feels like something worth celebrating and not taking for granted. In my last post, I talked about finding the joy in work well done and some of that was displayed by our trainees and their mentors at Midwest SGIM, courtesy of our Division of General Internal Medicine. Other meetings these last few weeks have replicated that communication and shown not just how well we train, but also has given us an opportunity to exercise our responsibility as leaders in academic medicine.

The beginning of last week found many faculty and trainees from the department in Chicago at the joint scientific sessions of the American Heart Association (AHA). The sessions were energizing and highly interactive with participants engaging in lively discussion after the sessions had ended. Seeing the volume and breadth of activity occurring within a specialty not only sparks new ideas for your own work but it can be encouraging to know we are pursuing answers to the same or similar questions as others. One great example is the poster by one of our chief residents Dr. Ahmed Abdelhamid on acute myocardial infarction in patients after chemotherapy in the new exciting area of cardiooncology. (click images for larger view)

That support from peers is one of the many benefits of community. But some standout moments at last week’s meeting reminded me that Iowa really has been a leader in this field for decades. Chief among those moments was the presentation of the AHA Distinguished Achievement Award to Dr. Steven Lentz for his significant and career-long contributions in research. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition! I bid farewell to the Women’s Leadership Committee of the Council on Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology that I served on for a decade and chaired for two years. In another meeting at the end of last week, the Iowa training brand held strong while current resident (and Carver College of Medicine alum) Dr. Madalyn Walsh presented work alongside recent residency grad (and now first-year allergy-immunology fellow at Washington University) Dr. John Salomone. The pair, mentored by Dr. Mary Beth Fasano and Dr. Ben Davis, presented their work at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Asthma, Allergy, Immunology in Louisville, Kentucky.

Leadership in research can be more than achievement in the lab or decades of devotion to mentorship and education as in Dr. Lentz’s case, both as a PI and as director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. Leadership can also come in the promotion and dissemination of others’ discoveries through editorial work. Many of us spend hours and hours each year as referees and judges of abstracts for these meetings, which is a form of editorial service, but there are a few among us who dedicate far more time to publishing and leading academic medical journals, a massive contribution to science and medicine. Recently, Dr. Barry London, our Division Director for Cardiovascular Medicine, completed a ten-year term as editor-in-chief of the high-impact Journal of the American Heart Association. Kudos on a successful run with many thanks from all of the researchers whose careers you have helped, in addition to advancing the communication of peer-reviewed science. Meanwhile in the Division of Immunology, Dr. Zuhair Ballas continues his run as editor of the prestigious Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, while Dr. Bharat Kumar readies himself to take the reins as physician editor for The Rheumatologist next year.

Dr. Kumar has shown his willingness to lead locally and regionally as well, co-directing with Dr. Petar Lenert, the 32nd annual Rheumatology Symposium, with a focus this year on bone health. Our Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism also recently hosted the Advances in Diabetes and Obesity Management CME event under the direction of Dr. Yumi Imai and Dr. Marcelo Correia. We have a responsibility to our fellow clinicians in the state to share our knowledge and clinical pearls with colleagues who are more focused on the front lines of clinical care. In doing this, we not only raise the quality of care for all Iowans, but we also build strong connections with referring providers, ensuring that they feel comfortable reaching out to us for aid and, say, when we discharge someone back to their community, that we are comfortable in their continuity of care.

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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