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VPMA Voice

A considerable amount of our organizational effort and energy these past few months has been focused on reducing expenses. It’s been a difficult process, and we still have more work to do; but I believe UI Health Care is on the path to a more sustainable and healthy future.

For several months, we have encouraged you to provide suggestions to the VPMA e-mail address. Much of the feedback we’ve received has focused on expense reduction, but I have also been pleased to receive some wonderfully innovative and entrepreneurial ideas for growing successful programs and expanding revenue. I hope that all of our faculty, staff, and students will continue to share ideas on how we can grow as an enterprise. A free flow of ideas will be integral to our success, and I am positive that, together, we can shape a strong future for UI Health Care.

In the coming months, we will continue to evaluate opportunities for revenue enhancement. Among other things, we will aim to build awareness of—and improve timely access to—our services. Our efforts may involve trying some new things—or doing some “old” things in new ways. Some opportunities may require new investment. But one thing is clear, every solution begins
with a good idea and no one is more qualified to generate those ideas than the world class people of UI Health Care.

As always, please continue to e-mail me at vpma@uiowa.edu.

Signed, Jean Robillard

UI Health Care leaders will report to Regents

On Wednesday, August 5, UI Health Care leaders will meet with the Board of Regents in Cedar Falls. In addition to a report on the operations and financial performance of UI Hospitals and Clinics,
the agenda includes:

  • Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences report by department head Keith Carter, MD
  • Conflict of Interest update
  • Expense moderation update

UI external support increases 10.3 percent to record $429.5 million

Despite the historic flood, which displaced and interrupted many research programs last summer, UI faculty generated impressive growth in extramural support in fiscal year 2009. Total external funding achieved yet another all-time record of $429.5 million, which represents an impressive 10.3 percent increase over 2008 and continues a trend that has seen consistent increases over the past 23 years.

UI Carver College of Medicine contributed significantly to the UI research enterprise numbers for FY 2009, with total external funding of $214.5 million, an increase of 7 percent over fiscal year 2008.

Couple commits $1 million for epilepsy research

UI researchers’ quest to find more effective treatments for epilepsy received a boost with the recent gift commitment of $1 million from Beth L. and Nathan R. Tross of Highland Park, Ill.

The gift, made through the UI Foundation, establishes the Beth L. Tross Epilepsy Research Fund in the Department of Neurosurgery, a unit of the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Matthew A. Howard III, MD, neurosurgery chair, said the gift will significantly accelerate efforts to discover new treatments for epilepsy. “We are extremely grateful for the Trosses’ gift,” Howard said. “We intend eventually to use the Tross Fund to endow a professorship that will ensure that top UI faculty always have the financial resources necessary for advancing world class epilepsy research.”

Christopher Adams receives research award

Christopher M. Adams, MD, PhD, Internal Medicine, has received a 2009 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. This year the Foundation distributed awards of $135,000 for three years to 14 physician-scientists conducting clinical research. Dr. Adams is researching the Molecular Biology of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy.

A standing panel of 24 experts, including 15 Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientists, reviewed 153 nominee proposals and recommended the strongest for funding. The 14 investigators are working in 11 states and include physician-scientists from Johns Hopkins, Duke, Yale, Vanderbilt, Columbia, and Stanford.

Governor’s Volunteer Awards

Three individuals and one organization with ties to UI Health Care received Governor’s Volunteer Awards from Governor Chet Culver at a ceremony June 19 in Marion.

The awards program honors volunteers for their contributions to Iowa’s governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations.

  • Jean Frauenholtz, ARNP, UI clinical research assistant, and Timothy Starner, MD, an asthma specialist with UI Children’s Hospital, were recognized for their contribution to the American Lung Association. Frauenholtz began volunteering for the association in 1982 and has served on the board for 20 years. She also has served as the head nurse for the Asthma Adventure Camp. Dr. Starner serves as the volunteer medical director for the camp.
  • Kris Westphal, a community volunteer with UI Hospitals and Clinics Volunteer Services, was honored for serving nearly 1,500 hours in support of the Memories Videos program at UI Hospitals and Clinics, creating video mementos without charge for patients battling life-threatening illness.
  • Cherished Portraits was selected for its program at UI Children’s Hospital to provide private, caring, professional portrait sessions at no charge for infants and children with life-threatening illnesses, or who are facing the end of life, or for families who have lost a child. Sheila Frascht and Jane Wilkins are staff volunteer supervisors with UI Children’s Hospital, and the photographers who volunteer their services are Mindy Decker, Jaimy Yoder, and Nina Scott.
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