A spirit of curiosity

This week is marked by the convergence of three events: Homecoming, Research Day, and our annual CME conference Progress. First, I want to wish a Happy Homecoming to all. The University of Iowa boasts a rich history spanning 176 years and the Carver College of Medicine for over 150 years. These institutions uphold the values and principles of their founders and those who have stewarded them over time. We all share a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and discovery, blending wisdom, compassion, and a unified purpose to leave a positive impact. Whether one’s journey here lasts a season, a few years, or an entire career, everyone contributes uniquely to this spirit’s strength. Amidst the festivities of tonight’s parade and tomorrow’s football game, please consider what it means to be a part of the Hawkeye community and to share in the pride it brings.

The Iowa spirit of curiosity exists throughout our department, from our most senior faculty to our most recently recruited trainees. The passion for inquiry was on display earlier this week at the 57th annual Internal Medicine Research Day. For nearly six decades we have dedicated a day to showcasing the broad scope of our department’s passion for inquiry. It has become tradition that every two years the leadership for organizing the event changes between divisions. This allows the event to stay fresh and shares the responsibility across our department. This year, the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism chose Drs. Marcelo Correia and Bhagirath Chaurasia, a natural choice given their own robust research activity as well as their connections outside the institution. Their choice for this year’s keynote presentation, LSU’s Dr. Steven Heymsfield, was an inspired invitation. His talk on the history of medicine’s approaches to obesity, including various means of measurement as well as therapeutics, was engaging for our broad audience. Similarly, the three invited faculty presentations and two chosen from abstracts submitted for the poster presentation highlighted our department’s strengths in collaboration, in rigor, and in our ability to mentor the next generation. Read the full story of this important traditional event is here, including photos and the winners of this year’s poster session.

Another annual tradition, which also continues to innovate, is the CME conference Progress 2023, led by Associate Dean for CME and Integrative Education Dr. Joseph Szot and the College of Pharmacy’s Dr. Ryan Jacobsen. For decades, this event has combined the expertise of physicians and pharmacists to deliver updates in a rotating cycle of subspecialties. This year’s planning committee members, including many of our own faculty, have directed presentations on gastroenterology, neurology and psychology, infectious diseases, and hospitalist and general internal medicine. Today is the second day of the event taking place just a stone’s throw from our Iowa River Landing facility in Coralville. Yesterday, after the presentations and another poster session—this time hosted by the Iowa Chapter of the Society for Hospitalist Medicine—one of our residents competed in the state finals of the Clinical Vignette Competition. After two rounds here, our judges selected third-year resident Dr. Alex Paschke to face off against finalists from three other Iowa programs. (Dr. Paschke went on to win first place yesterday. Congratulations!) What has traditionally been held during the meeting of the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians is now incorporated into the Progress event, giving greater exposure of the excellence of our training program to attendees from across the state and region. And, most likely, teaching attendees something new in a tight and polished ten-minute presentation. We all look forward to what Progress planners will offer next year.

Just as Drs. Szot and Jacobsen stay curious about what attendees want to see, I am glad to see that University of Iowa Health Care remains curious about what our faculty and staff think about their working life at Iowa. On Monday, October 9, the window for responding to the Working at Iowa survey will open through the end of the month. Each of us will receive a personalized link in our Outlook inboxes, which helps ensure the validity of the data, while keeping your responses completely confidential. More information and an FAQ can be found here. We are looking into the possibility of rewarding divisions whose members cross a certain percentage complete or of creating a mini competition between divisions. We will keep you posted. And, once the results are returned, we will again empanel an action committee to respond, just as we have with the results of the last two surveys.

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