New VPMA, new opportunities, same great fundamentals

I think we all knew that the arrival of Dr. Denise Jamieson, our new dean and vice president for medical affairs, was likely to bring a new energy and a new direction for University of Iowa Health Care, but I doubt few had any idea such dramatic change would happen so quickly! There are still a lot of questions that come with the recent news of Mercy Iowa City’s potential union with UI Health Care. I wish I could provide more answers for you but I will refer you to the statement from Dean Jamieson and UI President Barbara Wilson from Monday and we will share more information as it becomes available. As always, our Feedback Form is open to your signed or anonymous questions as well. We read each and every one and your comments and questions are factored heavily in our discussions as we gauge what matters most to you. Make your voice heard!

I had every intention already of using this space this week to welcome Dean Jamieson to the University of Iowa and Iowa City. Her arrival is just in time for the White Coat Ceremonies for our physician assistants last week and our medical students today. She even sampled one of the Science Thursday food trucks last week. This recap of her first week here is worth a read and a watch. It is gratifying to see that familiar Iowa red carpet rolled out for a new colleague and hope that Dean Jamieson feels as excited to be here and to get to work as we are that she has joined us.

If you have attended any of these welcoming events and heard her speak and take questions, you would know that Dean Jamieson has been very forthcoming about what she sees as the strengths, challenges, and opportunities for UI Health Care and the Carver College of Medicine. I have found her to be an excellent and active listener with insightful questions. I agree that she is not only well-versed in the areas that need the most attention, but she has also brought an outsider’s perspective on aspects that you and I might take for granted. On just one question, recruitment and retention, she offered her own experience of being welcomed so warmly as evidence for a possible tactic and solution. That same welcome, that Iowa friendliness we assume is something everyone everywhere offers, is in fact relatively unique in academic medicine and a competitive advantage. It pays dividends when we bring recruits to campus or when we work to foster collaborations among researchers, clinicians, and educators of different stripes. It is a story we can all tell from heart, having experienced it ourselves, and it should be at the top of our list when we speak with recruits.

Similarly, the other factor Dean Jamieson has noticed because of her “new kid on the block” perspective is the Iowa City community itself. She has talked about the ease of living here compared to her recent life in Atlanta, the virtually non-existent traffic, and the accessibility of both nature as well as cultural amenities. This has been a pitch many in our residency and fellowship programs have been making to trainees. A recent example is this video our department communications team produced for our Infectious Diseases Fellowship with Dr. Sabrina Tan. She hits all the highlights of what makes life so good here. Indeed, we have already begun to move this conversation beyond trainee recruitment and into faculty recruitment as well. Our video team has produced this first video answering the question: What is life like in Iowa City? Another video will be ready soon featuring faculty testimonials addressing things like recreation, culture, and the school system. Thank you in advance to those interview participants who are helping to take Iowa City and our institution from the best-kept secret in the country to one that should be no secret at all.

This is not to say that we play down all the traditional aspects that make UI Health Care strong, from the cutting-edge patient care we offer to the world-class breakthrough research we conduct, all of which we do while training medical students, residents, and fellows. Our size can feel like we are slow to move, but we have the capacity to be nimble. Our Executive Leadership Academy is about to begin a new year with five administrative and faculty members of this class from our department. Over the next year they will develop and deploy improvement projects while mentored and supported by faculty and peers. Assistant professors may also wish to participate in THRIVE, a career-development program led by Dr. Gerry Clancy. Initially formed to counteract some of the social impacts of the pandemic, this program  will continue into a second year with a new class. Details on the fall application process to come soon. UPDATE: Dr. Clancy reports that THRIVE 2.0 will focus on population health and value-based care/reimbursement models. The program will start in January and applications will open up mid-September.

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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