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April 24, 2017

The Best People

As promised, I will be using VPMA Voice columns to introduce the UI Health Care 2017–2020 Strategic Plan, beginning with Goal 1: The Best People—foster an environment in which the most talented want to learn, work, and lead here at Iowa.

Who are the best people? Are they the smartest? Those with the most education? The people who make the fewest mistakes? We already have some of the best people in the world working here. Here is how I define “the best.”

The best people are loyal and dedicated to UI Health Care.  They are committed to the tripartite mission and to doing their best work every day for their patients, their research, and their students. They keep things safe and clean and prepare our food. UI Health Care needs to keep these people and find more like them. So, we will be focusing on several strategies to improve retention and recruitment.

The best people come from many different backgrounds and bring unique perspectives and ideas. UI Health Care is stronger because of the diversity of the people who work, study, volunteer, and get care here. Respecting the diversity of our patients and each other, listening, and understanding the value of those differences is important. We will work to ensure we continue to seek out diversity, whether we are providing patient care, designing an experiment in a laboratory, or teaching students clinical skills.

The best people are true collaborators and like to work in teams. We know that patient care, science, and education are made better when people work in interprofessional teams, so we will be escalating our efforts in team education and training.

The best people want to improve. As an educational institution, UI Health Care values professional and educational development and offers several programs and methods for faculty and staff members to advance their education and learn new skills. In the next three years, we are committed to increasing opportunities for learners.

You can read more about Goal 1 to the right of this column, and if you have ideas for the team, please contact one of the leaders listed, or as always, you can send comments or suggestions to



More about Goal 1: The Best People

The focus of Goal 1 is to foster an environment in which the most talented people want to learn, work, and lead here at Iowa. The Goal 1 team is comprised of faculty and staff members from all areas of our tripartite mission—patient care, research, and education—and its leaders are:

  • Alan Reed, MD, MBA, director, Organ Transplant Center
  • Chris Cooper, MD, senior associate dean, Medical Education
  • Richard Shields, PT, PhD, chair and DEO, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

There are three main strategies for Goal 1 (listed below), each with a set of critical tasks which the team will prioritize and put into work plans. In addition, the team will determine the metrics that indicate success for each strategy. When the team has completed its work it will make a presentation to the Vice President for Medical Affairs Cabinet.

Strategy 1.1

Enhance recruitment and retention of high-performing individuals toward achieving greater diversity.

  • Create a more effective human resources structure that bolsters the key areas of talent management, employee onboarding, and compensation and classification.
  • Enhance professional development and leadership opportunities through mentoring, succession planning, and increased autonomy.
  • Provide opportunities for beneficial quality of life through aligned incentives, excellent support services, and improved work/life balance.
  • Direct investments to ensure the continued strength of the research enterprise.

Strategy 1.2

Enhance interprofessional team science and education.

  • Change promotion and tenure, compensation models, and other organizational structures to incentivize and align basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, and interprofessional education; and develop financial models to support interprofessional team science and education.
  • Develop interprofessional team-training programs across the spectrum of learners, including faculty, staff, and students.
  • Collaborate with other health science colleges to escalate interprofessional educational training and develop care-delivery experiences that demonstrate interprofessional care delivery.

Strategy 1.3

Increase individualized learning opportunities through the continuum of medical, scientific, and professional development education.

  • Strengthen educational bridges and commonalities in undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education, and continuing medical education.
  • Develop longitudinal, self-directed, competency-based curricular modules for all learners and employees.
  • Develop simulation center (and other innovative training models and platforms) with open access.
  • Better align funds with the educational mission, and directly reward participants for their efforts in education.
  • Explore innovative models to reduce the cost of medical education.

For more details and to see the full 2017–2020 Strategic Plan, visit or The Point.

Van Heukelom and Greene honored with awards

Paul Van Heukelom, MD, and Christi Greene, RN, were both recognized by the Iowa Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) at the 23rd Annual ENA Conference in Des Moines on April 11. Van Heukelom has been a clinical assistant professor in emergency medicine at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics since 2008 and medical director since January 2016. He was nominated for ENA’s Emergency Provider Award. The award recognizes an emergency department physician or mid-level provider who not only provides great care to patients but is also an ED nurse advocate. Greene won the Emergency Nursing Frontline Staff Award, which recognizes a frontline ED nurse who provides exceptional care, is a resource for other staff, and who you would want caring for your family. Greene has been a nurse in the UI Hospitals and Clinics Emergency Department for 12 years. During this time, she has held various roles such as charge nurse and triage nurse, and she has precepted numerous students.

New MRI installation is May 1

The Department of Radiology will begin a capital project to install a new state-of-the-art 1.5T MR on May 1. This new unit will replace an older MRI unit, and offers many advantages for increased throughput and image quality. This project, which is important for the maintenance of our MR fleet, will take an MR unit out of service from May 1 to approximately Aug. 1. To minimize the impact this will have on patients and providers, considerable attention has been given to shorten the duration of this project; we have waited until the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital MR unit was operational; appointment times have been added for late afternoon and evening; and staff hours have been shifted to support extended hours of operation.

UI Health Care opens new location in Johnston

University of Iowa Health Care opens its new Johnston location today, Monday, April 17, improving central Iowa’s access to UI Health Care offerings, including adult and pediatric specialties and occupational health and medicine services. The new Johnston location brings some additional care options to the region while also consolidating a number of services previously provided elsewhere. Offerings include the only comprehensive amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) care in Iowa that incorporates the expertise of neuromuscular specialists and pediatric specialties that include genetics, nephrology, orthopedics, and urology. For more information, visit

Help celebrate our volunteers

During National Volunteer Week, which runs Sunday, April 23, through Saturday, April 29, take a few minutes to thank and recognize the 1,415 volunteers throughout University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Last year, our volunteers donated more than 110,000 hours of their time. In fiscal year 2016, our volunteers’ efforts contributed $490,000 through the contributions and donations process to several services and programs benefiting patients and families at UI Hospitals and Clinics. To celebrate, participate in the Volunteer Services trivia hunt. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about volunteering at UI Hospitals and Clinics, as well as a chance to win a $50 Volunteer Services gift card. Trivia hunts are available on the Volunteer Services website, in the Volunteer Services Office (Elevator F, Level 8), or at the National Volunteer Week Display in the Colloton Pavilion Lobby (Elevator F, Level 1). You can sign “Thank You Card” posters, which are available through Wednesday, April 26. The posters are at the entrances to the Fountain Dining Room (Elevator C, Level 1), outside the Volunteer Services office, at the Volunteer Services display in the Colloton Pavilion Lobby, as well as Nick’s Theatre on Level 1 of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Executive Leadership Academy taking applications

The University of Iowa Health Care Executive Leadership Academy is now accepting applications for the 2017–2018 academy year. Applications are due Friday, April 28. The academy is targeted at current and high-potential leaders such as medical directors, nurse managers, research leaders, and administrators early in their career to gain skills to lead in an academic health care environment. Learn more at or email Holly Kolfenbach at

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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