In less than a week many of us will observe Thanksgiving. Before I go any further, a deep thank you to everyone who will care for our in-patient population, the same amount of people it takes to accomplish this work when we are not on holiday: physicians, APPs, nurses, EVS staff, cafeteria staff, maintenance teams, all of you. Neither illness nor our patients’ needs for healing recognize a calendar. Those of you working over this break or the next one coming in December are giving two sets of gifts—to your patients and to us. Your sacrifice and your loved ones’ sacrifice of their time with you is incredibly appreciated. Whether you are celebrating this holiday, or one of the many others this month as detailed by Dr. Jeydith Gutierrez last week, or just enjoying a couple days’ break from work, I hope that you are able to pause a moment and run through a list of things for which you are grateful. In a way this is one of the only holidays that comes with a responsibility. Many things demand our consideration all year long, but this holiday asks us to remember our joys, to not take the good things in our lives for granted. This holiday, to me, is an opportunity to treasure those things that do not make the same kinds of demands on us as our obligations do. These treasures can be a person or a memory or an achievement, but something you value, something that brings you comfort or pride or hope, that makes you feel grateful for their presence in your life. We all have so much.
Top of mind this week for my gratitude list are those faculty and staff who participated in the recent Department Consulting Group (DCG) meetings. These evening sessions had the challenging agenda of reviewing dossiers from every faculty member going up for promotion, a sizable total. No one having any role to play in this process, from the reviewing committee to the faculty mentors or the candidates themselves, would think of the promotions process as an easy or enjoyable one. It is tightly proscribed by requirements and regulations set by the college, the university, and the state’s Board of Regents, each with its own sets of boxes that must be checked. But last week’s evening sessions displayed the department at its very best.
The tone of the meetings was set by our Vice Chair for Faculty Advancement Dr. Christie Thomas and the committee chairs, Dr. Sarat Kupacchi and Dr. Jeffrey Meier, whose attention to detail shaped the discussion and approach for all in attendance. As prepared as everyone in the meetings was, no one was more in command of the details of each candidate and the ins and outs of promotion than Dr. Thomas. He was aided in these meetings’ organization by Amy McDonald and Jack Oller, a new face on our administrative team, who were equally as knowledgeable and helped things run smoothly. Everyone’s benevolence and curiosity allowed these discussions to be thorough and effective. Discussions were robust, frank, and insightful. The faculty in attendance asked many questions to get a balanced picture of the dossiers up for discussion.
What became clear by the end of this process is that Dr. Thomas’s true skill in ensuring the meetings were successful and positive was the amount of preparation work he and the members of the promotion committee had put in with each candidate. No one’s dossier was added lightly to the roster of candidates or appeared hastily assembled. The promotions process is a lengthy one and every candidate considered had clearly spent a lot of time ensuring that their achievements were well documented. What emerged was a slate of faculty candidates for promotion who are amazingly accomplished, creative, and productive. Their impressive lists of accomplishments are a testament to the nurturing environment at the University of Iowa and to the fact that the faculty we recruit in the Department of Internal Medicine have the promise to achieve great things. Their dedication, brilliance, and imagination were on display. What a pleasure it was to see assembled in one place so much of the great work going on in Internal Medicine by all of you!
I will have the distinct honor of sharing more of that great work with all of you when I deliver the 2023 State of the Department Address at the noon Grand Rounds on December 14. We will have much to celebrate in another challenging year and much to look forward to as key questions about the future of our department and UI Health Care have begun to resolve. I am grateful to everyone who has responded to requests for information for this presentation and to the work that Lori Strommer and Ann Armstrong have already produced in making sure that the data are organized and coherent for a too-brief, hour-long presentation. But until then, as we move into this week of Thanksgiving, I hope you will carry my hope for thoughtfulness and restoration wherever you find it.