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VPMA Voice

Since celebrating the receipt of a $33.8 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2007, The University of Iowa has made fantastic progress on this important initiative. The five-year grant is among the largest ever awarded to the UI and makes UI Health Care part of a national consortium that is transforming how research moves from the laboratory to the clinical setting.

The University of Iowa is pleased to host today and tomorrow the 4th annual meeting of the Upper Midwest Consortium of clinical and translational sciences organizations. Representatives from several of our counterpart consortium schools are joining us for the meeting which will feature a live webcast of key speakers for all interested parties who are unable to attend.

The purpose of the meeting is to share successful inter-institutional collaborations and challenges, develop networking, spawn collaborations of scholars and mentors across the institutions, plan consortium-wide projects, and initiate plans for building and administering the growing consortium.

These important projects take us to the next level of both research and patient care, as well as bolster our overall efforts to be one of the best academic medical centers in the country. I would like to acknowledge the many people who collaborate, University-wide, in our ongoing efforts to promote creative research and elevate the process of innovation. I am truly proud of the work you have done.

As always, please continue to e-mail me at vpma@uiowa.edu with your comments and questions.

Signed, Jean Robillard

Leaders update Regents on FY 2010 budget, other items

UI Health Care leaders travel to Ames on Wednesday for the UI Health Care Committee meeting of the Board of Regents. Among other items on the agenda, Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard will discuss plans for dealing with an estimated $45 million gap in the UI Hospitals and Clinics fiscal year 2010 budget.

He will note that despite the best efforts of faculty and staff to cut costs, and contributions pledged in the voluntary expense reduction programs, worsening economic conditions and reduced third party reimbursements will require the hospital to trim its 6,600-member workforce by eliminating some filled positions. The positions being eliminated will result from normal attrition, normal retirements, and layoffs. In addition, many vacant positions will remain unfilled.

He will note that leaders regret the necessity of this action and have worked very hard to avoid having to take this step. While faculty and staff have eliminated more than $23 million in costs this year, it has not been enough. UI Hospitals and Clinics must close the $45 million gap in order to achieve a balanced budget with at least a 1 percent operating margin in fiscal year 2010. He will also note that in addition to the planned elimination of positions, leaders are continuing to explore alternatives for achieving a further 2 percent reduction in operating expenses.

Staff members whose positions are being eliminated will be notified by June 30, 2009. Information about additional reductions in operating costs will be made as details become available.


Some other items on the committee’s agenda:

  • UI Carver College Medicine update: Dean Paul Rothman, MD, will talk about the new FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent—Uniting Research and Education) Program that will bring seven faculty members from Iowa colleges to laboratories of the UI Carver College of Medicine for an eight-week summer research fellowship. Participating are faculty members from Northwestern, Luther, Coe, Loras, Graceland, Drake, and St. Ambrose.
  • Epic project update: Kristy Walker, Health Care Information Systems, and Drs. Daniel Fick and Doug Van Daele will discuss progress made since implementation on May 2 of Epic modules for inpatient, outpatient, and Emergency Treatment Center clinical documentation and provider order entry. In addition, they will outline next steps, including implementing portal access for referring physicians and patients.
  • Volume and financial performance: Associate Vice President and CFO Ken Fisher will review reports for July 2008 through the end of April 2009.
  • Expense moderation: Associate Vice President and CEO Ken Kates will review progress made in UI Hospitals and Clinics’ expense moderation programs from July 2008 through April 2009.

More information, including the PowerPoint presentation leaders will use at the Regents meeting, is available on The Point.

Regional research meeting being webcast

The University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science will host faculty, scholars, and program leaders from regional institutions involved in clinical and translational science during the Fourth Annual Upper Midwest Consortium Meeting today and Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville.

Today, from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m., several presentations will be webcast live, including the keynote address by Geoff McLennan, MB, PhD, UI professor of internal medicine, radiology, and biomedical engineering, “Personalized Medicine through Multi-Scale Pulmonary Imaging.”

Information on the webcasts and a complete meeting agenda are available.

Looking Ahead

Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will present “Costs of Care: Directions in Health Care Reform” from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, in the William Bean Conference Room, SE301 GH. Dr. Deborah Thorne, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Ohio University, will provide comment. The event is part of the 2009 Obermann Summer Seminar Series.


In last week’s VPMA Voice we incorrectly spelled Dr. Timothy Kresowik’s last name when we announced his election as president-elect of the Iowa Medical Society at that group’s annual meeting in April. We apologize for the error.


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