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April 10, 2017

Strategic Plan update

Talented people doing their best work in strong, collaborative, teams focused on excellence across research, education, and patient care: That is where University of Iowa Health Care is headed with the 2017–2020 UI Health Care Strategic Plan.

I was very pleased to present this plan, which is a full integration of our tripartite mission, to the Board of Regents in February. And, even as we await formal acceptance of the plan at the April 19 Board meeting, we have moved ahead with preparing for the implementation phase. Proceeding with detailed planning is important so that we can determine our priorities and ensure that key initiatives for year one of the plan will be funded in the fiscal year 2018 budget currently in development.

Five teams comprised of faculty and staff members from all areas of our tripartite mission—patient care, research, and education—are charged with prioritizing tactics and developing work plans for years one, two, and three of the plan. The teams are led by an “accountable triad” of leaders who will present the fully-integrated work plans for feedback and approval to the Vice President for Medical Affairs Cabinet. Project managers are assisting each team with tracking, uniform reporting, and linking goals when advantageous.

All of this is critical to ensuring that our end product is a detailed, forward-looking plan that keeps us focused on our priorities in the next three years. We cannot, however, believe we are “done” once we have our plan. We must continue to monitor the ongoing changes in health care in all of our mission areas and be ready to respond accordingly, adjusting our plan if needed.

In the coming weeks in this column and in our other internal news sources, we will feature the strategic plan’s five goals and more detailed information on each team’s planning progress. In the meantime, you can visit the Strategic Plan site on The Point to review an overview of the plan.

I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this process and provided us valuable input and feedback so far. As always, you can send comments or suggestions regarding the strategic plan, or other issues, to

Financial math may help build a better HIV vaccine

What do particle diffusion in liquids and stock price prediction have to do with building a better HIV vaccine?According to University of Iowa microbiologist Hillel Haim, MD, PhD, you can apply concepts from the first two to predict the evolution of HIV surface proteins, information that can then be used to design better vaccines. Using computational tools and approaches inspired by mathematical models developed to predict changes in stock prices, Haim and his team were able to accurately predict how different properties of the Env protein evolved in the population of Iowa over the course of 30 years. Key to the work was a unique resource available at the UI. In the 1980s, Jack Stapleton, MD, UI professor of internal medicine, established an HIV clinic in Iowa City. Over the decades, the clinic collected blood samples from several hundred patients. The ability to accurately predict future changes by testing a small number of patients could potentially allow tailoring of vaccines to the specific forms of HIV present in different populations worldwide.

UI clinician spearheading melanoma treatment

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher Yousef Zakharia, MD, has presented promising data at a national meeting about combining a new investigational immunotherapy drug with an FDA-approved immunotherapy drug to treat patients with advanced melanoma. The two drugs, indoximod and pembrolizumab, are both immunotherapy treatments which help activate the patient’s immune system to better fight cancer. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is an FDA-approved treatment for patients with advanced melanoma. According to Zakharia, the main limitation of the study is that the clinical trial had no control arm, which means that a large-scale, placebo-controlled randomized clinical is needed to confirm the current results.

Mahoney named March 2017 DAISY winner

Congratulations to Thomas Mahoney, RN, winner of the March 2017 DAISY Award. Mahoney, a staff nurse in the CVICU, was recognized for his optimistic nature and ability to coach a student nurse. A patient’s family member wrote: “Tom was always optimistic. Even towards the end of his 12-hour shift it was obvious that Tom loves his job and enjoys making his patients as comfortable as he can.” Read the full nomination on The Loop.

Martinez and Lee honored with Diversity Catalyst Award

Experiences that Denise Martinez, MD, and Amy Lee, PhD, had growing up left lasting impressions and sparked strong personal commitments to improving diversity and inclusion in their workplaces and communities. In recognition of their commitment, Lee and Martinez each received a 2017 Diversity Catalyst Award. The awards are sponsored by the Chief Diversity Office and honor those who have promoted the development of an inclusive, diverse campus community at the University of Iowa. Colleagues who nominated Lee and Martinez spoke of how both are improving diversity and inclusion on campus, but specifically UI Health Care—whether through official programs, informal groups, or personal mentoring. In addition to working with current faculty and students within UI Health Care, the two have occasionally worked together to recruit new faculty and students, representing the university at national conferences of underrepresented groups, including events recruiting medical and biomedical science students.  Learn more on The Loop.

Poulakos honored with mentorship award

Carolyn Poulakos, RN, a retired UI Hospitals and Clinics neuroscience nurse and now a hospital volunteer, was recently honored with the Mary Decker Mentorship Award at the national American Association of Neuroscience Nurses conference in Boston. She was nominated by Michele Wagner, RN, and Karen Stenger, RN. Part of their nomination reads: “She was invaluable working nights because we knew that she would be there to share her expertise to any of the nurses or residents that didn’t feel comfortable with how to perform an in-depth neuro assessment or how to act on a new deficit. The answer to ‘Would you come look at this’ or ‘What do you think about this’ was always delivered competently, professionally, and in the best interest of the patient.” To read the nomination letter, visit The Loop.

April Patient Experience Newsletter now available

In this month’s Patient Experience Newsletter, Scott Hamerlinck, now a senior application developer in Health Care Information Systems, tells us about his personal story with cancer, and how his experience as a patient inspired him to come work for University of Iowa Health Care. Also read patient comments about respect and dignity, both positive and missed the mark, and see a list of the new patient education handouts. Visit The Loop to read more.

7RCN is now open

Additional inpatient beds began accepting admission last week on 7RCN (Elevator D, Level 7). The Adult Acute Care Unit is an extension of 6RCP (Elevator D, Level 6) and under the same nursing leadership, with one charge nurse (one pager) for both 7RCN and 6RCP. Effective April 5, eight adult inpatient beds became available for admission. A total of 18 inpatient beds in   15 rooms will be available on the 7RCN Adult Acute Care Unit on or before April 26, 2017. Questions? Contact Dan Lose, nurse manager, Voalte 7-6862.

Celebrate OT at event on April 14

Be sure to thank members of our occupational therapy team for the important work they do to help patients return to healthy everyday living. April is Occupational Therapy Month, and this year the profession turns 100 years old. Members of our OT team are planning a demonstration of tests and therapies they employ during a special event from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, April 14 in the Fountain Lobby (Elevator C, Level 1). The exhibit also promises to show how the profession has grown and changed over its first century. For some added fun, everyone is invited to color the commemorative doodle the OTs commissioned for the 100-year celebration. Download the doodle on The Loop, or pick one up at the April 14 event.

National Library Week events are this week

The Patients’ Library (Elevator F, Level 8) and the Janice and Bruce Ellig Children’s Library (UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Level 1) are celebrating National Library Week, April 9 to 15, 2017. Stop by during the week to grab a free snack, and children can pick a free book! You can also join the Janice and Bruce Ellig Children’s Library for a special Story Hour event at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 12. Create a fun craft or watch live on Channel 114. To have craft materials delivered to you, call 678-5678. See our new Family Education Center in the Janice and Bruce Ellig Children’s Library, featuring X-Plain education on the iPads. The X-Plain staff will be here from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 13, to show the new software to patients, families, and staff and answer questions. The Children’s Library hours: 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The Patient’s Library hours: 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Construction at Kinnick to impact pedestrian and vehicular traffic

Beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 1, the north lane of Evashevski Drive will be closed to westbound traffic from Hawkins Drive to the west side of Parking Ramp 3. The south entrance/exit lanes to Parking Ramp 3 also will be closed to traffic, as will adjacent sidewalks. All entry and exits to/from Ramp 3 will be from Hawkins Drive. Detour and other directional roadway signage will be set in place over the weekend. Pedestrians will be routed to the south side of Evashevski Drive. The Kinnick Stadium project will run through June 9.

Construction on southbound I-380 to begin soon

Construction is scheduled to begin on the southbound I-380 bridges over the Iowa River and Hwy. 965 within the next few days, weather permitting. The southbound lanes over the bridges will narrow and be shifted periodically to allow completion of the construction. Commuters may experience traffic slowdowns and backups during peak traffic times and if accidents occur. The bridge resurfacing project should be finished in August of 2017.  Construction activity on I-380 will increase over the next several years as the project to replace the I-80/I-380 interchange begins, which includes projects that will add an interchange at Forever Green Road and increase I-380 to six lanes between the two interchanges.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in any program, please contact the individual listed in the event announcement in advance at their provided contact information.

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