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VPMA Voice

After signing the landmark health care overhaul into law last week, President Obama returned to the University of Iowa’s health care campus, where, as a presidential candidate in 2007, he first laid out his promise to enact major change in our nation’s health care system. During his speech Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 Iowans, the President called the new law “an historic step to enshrine the principle that everybody gets health care coverage in this country, every single person.”

For the 32 million uninsured Americans it means newfound protection and dignity in being able to gain access to needed health care services. With the expansion of coverage, patients are more likely to receive timely primary care, rather than relying on emergency rooms for their health care needs.

For those who are insured, the new law offers security so that if someone loses their job or gets sick, they can keep their insurance. And, for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, it eliminates denial of coverage.

The weeks and months ahead are sure to bring about many changes as the task of implementing the new reforms gets under way. Many of the details about how the new law will affect our organization’s research, education, and patient care missions remain unknown. However, I am confident that the world class people of UI Health Care will continue to put patients first and deliver the best possible patient care to everyone.

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

Signed, Jean Robillard

College continues accreditation

The Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) recently confirmed continuing accreditation for the UI Carver College of Medicine. This follows a fall site visit by an LCME accreditation team.

The team identified areas of strength, those needing improvement, and those in transition. (See below.) By mid-April, the College will submit to the LCME a plan of action and timeline to address the areas needing improvement.

Areas of Institutional Strength

• Opportunities for students to enhance their educational experience through global health experiences, humanities, research, and service

• The Medical Student Counseling Center

• The Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education

• Exemplary system that collects feedback from clinical faculty and returns end-of-clerkship evaluations to students in a timely manner

• A strong and commendable culture of mentorship

Areas Needing Improvement

• Central oversight and responsibility for the curriculum

• Review of the medical curriculum as a whole must be undertaken as the last review occurred 15 years ago. (See request for participation in curriculum review below.)

• Educational resource issues: some educational affiliation agreements require updating; and secure storage space for students’ personal belongings on inpatient areas

Areas of Transition

• The impact of the new mission-based budgeting system (CARTS) needs to be assessed over time

• The impact of recent changes in the procedures for students to seek assistance after or to report incidents of abuse should be monitored over time

Volunteers invited for curriculum review

Faculty and students at all levels are encouraged to apply to be part of the process of curriculum renewal for the Carver College of Medicine. The process seeks to combine the best practices of the current curriculum with the most innovative and dynamic ideas being implemented elsewhere to solidify the medical education program at Iowa as among the best.

If you are interested and available for committee work April through August, please send your name and a brief (no more than one page) description of why you are interested and your past educational experiences (as medical educator, teacher, student, etc.) to both Dr. Peter Densen and Dr. Richard Williams, co-chairs of the Curriculum Renewal Committee, by April 5, 2010.

April is Donate Life Month

April is designated National Donate Life Month to celebrate the generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, and eye donors, and to encourage more Americans to follow their example. Nearly 101,000 people still need organ transplants in the United States, including more than 500 people in Iowa.

As of March 2010, the Iowa Donor Registry surpassed the 1 million mark in donor registry entries. That means that one-third of all Iowa residents have signed up to become organ, tissue, and eye donors. That number is expected to grow to 2 million Iowans by July 1, 2012.

Do to the urgent need for more donors, UI Health Care faculty and staff, and all Iowans, are encouraged to join the Iowa Donor Registry online or call 1-877-366-6742. Questions? Please contact in-house organ donation coordinators Sue Witte or Rachel Asbury at 356-2207.

Dr. Ballas will head new division

Zuhair Ballas, MD, is the director of the newly formed Division of Immunology in the Department of Internal Medicine, which merges the allergy/immunology and rheumatology divisions.

Announcing the merger and appointment, Internal Medicine head Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, said “This merger places us at the forefront of a national trend that brings these two disciplines together because of the common ground they share―immunology.” Adding, “For many years, Dr. Ballas has championed the fundamental value and essential nature of basic and clinical immunology and has led our department into a position of national prominence in the field.”

Dr. Gantz appointed to medical specialist certification board

Bruce Gantz, MD, Professor and Head of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, has been appointed to the board of directors of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), representing the American Board of Otolaryngology.

The ABMS oversees the board certification of physician specialists in the United States. Dr. Gantz will serve as a board member for three years. The appointment was announced at the organization’s recent meeting in Chicago.

Doctors Day March 30

To recognize the dedication and commitment of resident, fellow, and faculty physicians, UI Health Care is sponsoring a special luncheon Tuesday, March 30, 2010, Atrium Conference Center, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All clinical physicians are invited.

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