Building community

If there has been any lesson from the last few years, it is that what we achieve on our own cannot compare to what we can achieve when we work together. We do this in small and large ways all the time. We see this when we are weighing the achievements of multidisciplinary research programs or the many benefits of building integrated healthcare teams. The concepts of community and collaboration and how they should be defined has been a topic of much thought and discussion for me as I am sure it has been for you. Last week’s turn of events with regards to Mercy Iowa City has only further deepened this conversation. Now that it appears that we will be coming together and as we near the completion of the North Liberty location’s construction, it will be important that we understand what it means to collaborate across distance and how we can build sustainable communities to meet our shared goals. I think models of this already exist within our institution in community and satellite clinics and referral services or across the street at the VA Iowa City Health System, particularly their robust telehospitalist program. This is an exciting moment, one in which we get to grow our community with other clinicians throughout the state, delivering UI Health Care’s excellence to even more Iowans.

One of our largest, strongest and perhaps most untapped communities are state and regional clinicians. On a smaller scale, they can be and often are a source for patient referrals, but they can also be medical educators or potential research collaborators in clinical trial recruitment. And we are fortunate to collaborate on a larger scale through our continuing medical education events. Today, many and more varied options exist for clinicians to fulfill annual CME requirements, especially post-pandemic when more options appeared online to fill the need, whether via live webinar or asynchronously. But we are fortunate to have an innovative CME office within the Carver College of Medicine that recognizes the value of real-time, in-person events where attendees can focus on and better benefit from the content. This year, for example, the Progress 2023 event once again offered a host of high-quality updates in multiple subspecialties, including one presentation which was so information-rich we invited the speakers to repeat it at a recent department Grand Rounds. Organizers Dr. Joseph Szot and Pharmacy’s Dr. Ryan Jacobsen repeated other favorite elements from previous years, such as the state finals of the ACP Clinical Vignette Competition, which was won by our own PGY-3 resident Dr. Alex Paschke. And the Iowa Chapter of the Society of Hospitalist Medicine held its annual poster session during the noon hour of the first day, at which one of our residents, Dr. Laurel Smeins, took second place. This year, Drs. Szot and Jacobsen also designed a program-closing team-based quiz competition based on the conference’s content. The pair felt the addition was a success, and certainly the winning teams whose registration fees are covered for Progress 2024 would agree.

There has been so much more in-person CME this fall, all of it equally labor- and time-intensive to organize and execute, and this department has been proud to support the activity, including from our Design Center. As I said above, it is a valuable service to our regional and state providers, and it offers a considerable number of opportunities throughout the events to build new relationships. Our thanks to all the presenters, organizers, and attendees for making these other CME events a success. This is just some of what our divisions and faculty delivered this fall:

One other addition to the Progress 2023 schedule caught my eye. Iowa Chapter ACP Governor Dr. Katherine Harris, only the second woman governor in Iowa chapter history, organized a lunch on the second day for women attendees of the conference. She was aided by a Coralville physician, Dr. Rachel Dirksen, who some may recall as a former member of our Division of General Internal Medicine. Drs. Harris and Dirksen saw an opportunity to create a space for connection, to build a community where one might not exist but should. I applaud their first steps in this direction and hope that others would feel similarly encouraged to aid in its development.

And, finally, speaking of community and ACP, the largest professional organization in the country for physicians, their annual “Internal Medicine Day” was last weekend, the same day as the birthday of Dr. William Osler, considered one of the founders of modern postgraduate medical education. If you were not on the department’s social media accounts on Saturday, itself a source of community-building, you missed appearances from five of our colleagues and what they value about their specialty of choice. Take a look at the Who and their Why.

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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