After nearly eight years as Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Richard Hoffman, MD, MPH, Professor of Internal Medicine, will step down and retire to Arizona, effective January 3, 2022. He will continue collaborating with UI colleagues as an Emeritus Professor. Since coming to the University of Iowa from the University of New Mexico, Hoffman’s tenure has been marked by several significant achievements, most notably his support for implementing the lung cancer screening programs at UI Health Care and at the Iowa City VA Medical Center, successfully recruiting many clinician educators and researchers, and his stewardship of the division throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The establishment of the Influenza-Like Illness clinic relied on many members of Hoffman’s division and the recognition that primary care clinicians would constitute the vanguard of much of the institution’s prevention efforts. Once COVID-19 infections began to rise and the importance of keeping those individuals safe at home became critical to their health, to slowing the virus’s spread, and to preserving precious bedspace in the hospital, the GIM hospitalists’ Home Treatment Team became an important component of our pandemic response. Hoffman has continued to support clinical care and research into understanding the disease through the staffing and recruitment of faculty members to work in the hospital’s influential Long COVID clinic.
His own research has had impacts on the national conversation, particularly around the importance of shared decision-making for screening for prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers and for treatment decisions for low-risk prostate cancers. Among his more than 200 publications, Hoffman has explored the questions of which populations possess the highest risk and should be screened and which were exposed to greater harms through screening. Before coming to Iowa, Hoffman had been site-PI on NIH/NCI-investigations looking at correlations between race, comorbidity, diagnosis, treatment, and long-term prostate cancer outcomes, particularly among African Americans. That focus on inequities continued here as funding from the VA Office of Rural Health allowed him to examine differences in lung-cancer outcomes for rural veterans. Funding from the NHLBI, CDC, and VA Office of Rural Health allowed Hoffman similar avenues of investigation in evaluating strategies to implement decision-support for cancer screening, particularly incorporating decision aids and telemedicine.
“Since he came here, Rich has been an essential member of this department’s leadership team. The Division of General Internal Medicine is stronger today because of his pragmatism and his perpetual focus on what is best for the patient, our faculty, and our trainees,” Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, Interim Chair and DEO of the Department of Internal Medicine, said. “He has been consistently dedicated to educating our residents through mentorship and even with financial support for sharing their scholarship. He has been selfless with his own time at every level, whether serving as a judge at poster sessions or reviewing seed grant applications to the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. He continually shows his commitment to medicine and the scientific community. As he steps into this next stage, he leaves Iowa with our gratitude for his years of dedicated service.”