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VPMA Voice

UI Health Care’s research enterprise is more prolific than ever, garnering $212.5 million in external funding in 2009. This tremendous productivity underscores what an amazing economic engine research is for our academic medical center and its importance to our rising national reputation.

Just one example of our faculty’s outstanding research efforts comes from Beverly Davidson, PhD, professor of internal medicine, neurology, and molecular physiology and biophysics, and Roy J. Carver Professor in Internal Medicine. Dr. Davidson and her team recently secured three extremely competitive “Challenge” grants from the National Institutes of Health worth a combined total of nearly $3 million.

Dr. Davidson’s research has enormous therapeutic potential against several high impact neurological diseases, including enzyme therapy to treat fatal lysosomal storage diseases in children; gene silencing approaches designed to treat Huntington’s disease; and gene therapy targeted to the brain to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease. These grants will allow Dr. Davidson and her colleagues to move their discoveries closer to potential human therapies.

All of UI Health Care’s researchers play a significant part in saving lives and improving the quality of life for Iowans and others across the nation and around the world. Patients have new therapies and treatment options as a result of this steadfast dedication.

Please continue to share your comments and suggestions with me via e-mail at vpma@uiowa.edu.

Signed, Jean Robillard

March of Dimes Event

Everyone is invited to a special event at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the John Colloton Pavilion atrium (Elevator F, Level 1). At that time, representatives of the March of Dimes and UI Health Care maternal and fetal health experts will present the March of Dimes 2009 Premature Birth Report Card for the state of Iowa and discuss plans to improve the state's premature birth rate. Speakers at the event will include:

• A March of Dimes mission family representative who will share her personal story about premature birth;

• Stephen Hunter, MD, PhD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and prematurity chair for the March of Dimes Iowa Chapter; and

• Kim Leslie, MD, professor and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Forum Thursday

Everyone working, learning, or volunteering with UI Health Care is invited to a UI Health Care Update Forum on Thursday, November 19, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Atrium Conference Center (Elevator E/F, Level 7). Topics will include:

• Expense reduction update

• Human Resources update

• General discussion, Q and A

A live webcast of the forum will be available to healthcare domain users from The Point or this link https://webapps1.healthcare.uiowa.edu/WebCast/. To send questions during the webcast use the “Feedback” link on the webcast site.

Consider UI Health Care

With the deadline for benefit enrollment nearing, eligible faculty and staff are encouraged to consider choosing UI Health Care for their health care needs. Sunday, November 22, is the final day for faculty, professional & scientific, and merit supervisory/exempt staff members to enroll in benefit plans, and there are many reasons to choose UI Health Care, including:

• All UI health plans—and most area health plans—include UI Hospitals and Clinics and UI Physicians as preferred, or participating, providers.

• UI Choice plan: Beginning in January 2010, co-pays for office visits to any UI Health Care provider will be only $5, while co-pays to non-UI providers will now be $20 per office visit.

• UI Choice or CHIP II health plans: Co-pay is waived entirely when visiting a UI QuickCare clinic.

• Easier access: More appointment times and new clinic locations will reduce wait times and facilitate better access.

UI Health Care locations in Lone Tree and Southeast Iowa City now offer extended hours, and UI QuickCare—East will open soon near Sycamore Mall with expanded morning, evening, and weekend hours. Beginning this month, UI QuickCare—Old Capitol Town Center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• UI Health Care—River Crossing, expected to open in February 2010, will be conveniently located just off Highway 218 near Riverside to serve nearby communities.

Learn more at http://www.uihealthcare.com/enroll or call UI Health Access at
319-384-8442 or 800-777-8442.

Joint Commission lab survey complete

Last week, the Joint Commission conducted a Special Function Laboratory survey at UI Hospitals and Clinics. Assistant VP for Compliance and Accreditation and UI Privacy Officer Debbie Thoman reports the survey team was “highly complimentary of our labs, our staff, and our obvious emphasis on patient care.”

She noted that the survey resulted in five “requirements for improvement,” for which staff will provide “evidence of standards compliance” within 60 days, and thanked all staff members involved in the survey.

Neonatal Center of Excellence

The Clinical Sciences Institute of OptumHealth has reviewed the most recent survey data from the neonatal program at UI Children’s Hospital and determined that the program continues to meet OptumHealth’s clinical qualification for participation in its Neonatal Centers of Excellence network. OptumHealth is one of the nation’s largest health and wellness companies, serving 58 million people.

Awards for innovation

A UI Health Care faculty member and a student were among nine Iowans who received Women of Innovation Awards from the Technology Association of Iowa last week.

Winning in the category of Post Secondary Education Innovation was Gail Bishop, PhD, Holden Chair in Cancer Biology and professor of microbiology and internal medicine, who is a member of the Governing Council of the American Association of Immunologists and is recognized for her scientific contributions to B cell immunology.

Winning in the category of Collegian Innovation was Alexandra Keenan, a UI senior with a triple major in biochemistry, biomedical engineering, and international studies. In 2008, she helped develop a community-based cervical cancer screening program for low-income women in Madurai, India.

Award for achievement

The Department of Internal Medicine has awarded its 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award to Gerald F. DiBona, MD, professor and vice-chair emeritus, internal medicine, UI Carver College of Medicine, and foreign adjunct professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Among other things, Dr. DiBona was honored for his pioneering research on the role of the renal nerves in regulation of renal function in physiologic and pathologic states; his leadership within the department, including serving as department vice chair (1977–2001); his leadership of national and international organizations; contributions to and editorship of national publications; and for university and national awards he has received.

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