Building and re-building community

The rare, destructive elements of Iowa springs notwithstanding, it feels good to see winter receding in our rearview mirrors. For many of us, warmer weather can expand our imagination and our capacity to navigate challenges. Even if it is just an after-work event. More light in the day decreases our impulse to hibernate and makes it easier to gather with friends and colleagues. It is no secret that one of my goals is that we gather more regularly as a department. The resumption of in-person Grand Rounds has reduced the convenience of just logging onto Zoom from your pandemic-induced, closed-door office, but it has increased our engagement with one another and with the presenter. The demonstration of clinical decision making by visiting lecturer Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal was a particularly good example of the importance of in-person attendance. Everyone who was in the auditorium that day or at yesterday’s presentation and panel discussion on the interesting topic of uncertainty will know what I mean. I have seen colleagues greet each other at Grand Rounds as though they had not seen each other face to face in years. These small interactions matter. They add up. Please stay tuned for announcements for our department-wide Employee Appreciation Day and other events in the next months to mingle and socialize. Similarly, I was pleased to see Immunology Division Director Dr. Ben Davis and Administrator Danielle Allen organize an off-campus retreat for their members. The team learned things about each other as individuals and they recommitted themselves to a shared mission according to defined goals and values. Time well spent!

Community gets built in so many ways from solid foundations, but most easily when we are all agreed on what the structure should look like. The educators and medical students within the Carver College of Medicine certainly have agreed on the shared goal of producing physicians steeped in medical knowledge but tempered with the compassion and wisdom to apply it generously and judiciously. Because there is so much talent and dedication within CCOM, its Collegiate Teaching Award is often given to four educators each year. Two of them this year will be presented to Dr. Donald Brown and Dr. Amal Shibli-Rahhal at the college’s Celebration of Excellence at the end of this month. Congratulations to them both on these well-deserved recognitions. In addition, for the first time in five years, an Internal Medicine faculty member will receive the 2023 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, given to exemplars of humanism in medical care. Congratulations to Dr. Bharat Kumar on this recognition! Along with Dr. Kumar, three of our residents and three of our faculty members will also be inducted into the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Gold Humanism Society.

Alex Paschke, MD; Rachel Anderson, MD; Truman Nguyen, MD
Krista Johnson, MD, MME; Katie White, MD, MME; Melissa Ludgate, MD

It should be noted that all of the above recognitions, the Collegiate Teaching Awards, the Tow Award, and the society memberships, are the result in part of medical student and resident nominations. That they took the time out of their day to sit down and write about their appreciation for the impact you have made on them says as much as the content of their nominations themselves. You should all be proud of this evidence of the difference you make for them. Evidence of our impact on fellows and postdocs can also be seen in some recent grant wins. Four Career Development Awards from the American Heart Association will help our late-stage trainees take the next step toward building independent research careers. Congratulations to these four—Drs. Jin-Young Yoon, Jared McLendon, Gourav Bhardwaj, and Ravidner Reddy Gaddam—as well as their mentors. Other young faculty just received scores for their K-awards that make us very hopeful they will be funded. More on these noteworthy successes in mentoring and building our research community to follow. Here is a research opportunity for your consideration:  Only two fellows have come through our new VA-sponsored health services research fellowship so far, but co-directors Drs. Michelle Mengeling and Hilary Mosher are beginning to review applications for new recruits. You can read more about that 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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