From the VP

In thinking about this issue of Medicine Iowa, I am reminded of a popular expression: The future ain’t what it used to be.

It’s one of the many witticisms attributed to baseball great Yogi Berra, but it offers insight into how we understand our world. It suggests that the future changes as our assumptions about the future change. Solutions to problems that were inconceivable a generation ago now seem possible—even probable—today.

This is certainly true in academic medicine. Advances in technology, new approaches to teaching, and innovations in patient care are inherent to the work we do in our classrooms, laboratories, and clinics. What we know today about genomics or cellular biology, for example, is the foundation for what we’ll teach, investigate, and practice 20 years from now. The key is to keep asking questions, challenging assumptions, and looking ahead.

Ken Kates, CEO, UI Hospitals and Clinics; Debra Schwinn, MD, Dean of UI Carver College of Medicine; Jean Robillard, MD, VP for Medical Affairs
In this issue, you’ll learn about work by UI neurologists and neuroscientists to better understand sudden unexpected death in epilepsy—a significant, and under-recognized, cause of premature death in people with this disorder. Our story details a unique approach that allows researchers
and clinicians to measure brain activity of patients with epilepsy at the level of individual neurons.

You’ll also read about new and expanded telehealth services at Iowa. From a telestroke robot to emergency telemedicine services to long-distance neonatal consultations, UI Health Care programs are using emerging technologies to provide specialized care to patients across the state in new and exciting ways.

Also in this issue is a feature about interprofessional education (IPE), a concept that is gaining momentum at health science colleges around the country. IPE has a strong grassroots tradition at the UI, but work is under way to formalize programs so that students in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health have greater opportunities for team-based learning and practice. Because, after all, the experiences and opportunities we give students today undoubtedly will influence how they shape the future of health care tomorrow.


Jean E. Robillard, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
University of Iowa