Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellows Graduation, 9 June 2023

Back together for the first full division-wide celebration in 4 years, the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation had plenty of agenda items to address in addition to celebrating this year’s graduates of its Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship.

Graduates, family, friends, and colleagues met at the Hyatt Regency in nearby Coralville, just down the road from the UI Health Care – Iowa River Landing location. Attendees mingled and sampled appetizers and drinks before dinner.

After the meal, Division Director Mo Milhem, MBBS, welcomed guests and made it clear that because it had been so long since the whole division had reunited, there would be no formal presentations. Instead, he said, he wanted to keep the focus on everyone just catching up and enjoying each others’ company.

He then introduced fellowship Program Director Daniel Berg, MD, and Associate Program Director Usha Perepu, MBBS, MRCP. The pair then brought each of the graduates up one by one to say a few words about their time in the program and some personal anecdotes. The graduates offered their own thanks and all expressed how important their time in the program has been to them.

This year has been a year of goodbyes in the division for many reasons. Both Berg and Perepu are stepping down from fellowship program leadership after many years as a dynamic duo. Most notably, the two recently expanded the program’s slots from 4 to 6 fellows in each incoming class, helping fill an important need in the medical community.

They will be succeeded by two graduates of the program, both of whom “trained and stayed” at Iowa as faculty. Grerk Sutamtewagul, MD, will become Program Director, and William Zeitler, MD, will become Associate Program Director. Milhem, Berg, and Perepu each expressed their confidence in the pair’s abilities to lead.

Both Berg and Perepu described how much working with the fellows has meant to them and how much they would miss it. “They don’t build statues of program directors,” Berg said, “but I believe my legacy is in every one of the fellows who has come through this program. That’s better than a statue.”

Berg also offered his deep thanks to Jana Ringle, the fellowship Program Coordinator, who will remain to help guide Sutamtewagul and Zeitler. Berg said he appreciated her creativity, dedication, and willing ear.

Two other faculty members offered some words to the division. Steven Lentz, MD, PhD, and Donald Macfarlane, MD, PhD, each spoke about what their years at Iowa have meant to them, whether it was mentoring faculty toward their own successes or discovering beneficial cancer therapeutics.

And then it was time for some more photos.

Congratulations to this year’s graduates!

Laila Babar, MBBS
Austin Greco, MD
Kit Poonsombudlert, MD
John Reith, MD
Alex Tungesvik, MD (unable to attend)

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