Changing Medicine. Changing Lives. ®

July 31, 2017

Sharing our story across the state

Of all the outreach efforts that UI Health Care faculty and staff members engage in throughout the year, none is more unique than serving as “ambassadors on wheels,” as many did during last week’s RAGBRAI event. Members of one group even assisted at the scene of a motorcycle crash.

On the way to the start of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, 10 members of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital RAGBRAI team traveling in an RV encountered the crash and a motorcyclist lying on the ground. An ambulance had not yet arrived. Team members stopped to help, with Jill Endres, MD, and Julia Shelton, MD, assessing the crash victim and providing first aid until the ambulance arrived.

The 26-member children’s hospital team rides under the slogan, “Cool Riders are Safe Riders,” to promote bike safety and the importance of wearing helmets while riding a bike or motorcycle.

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa fielded a team of about around 25 people riding to advocate for cancer control and research in preventing, understanding, detecting, and treating cancer. In addition, their team name “Kick Butts” carries an important anti-smoking message.

UI Health Care assisted again in providing medical care along the more than 400-mile route by operating and staffing the Mobile Emergency Simulation Lab. Although normally reserved for educational activities, the lab and its volunteer staff provided care to about 50 to 100 riders daily.

In the eight host towns and many small towns along the way, UI Health Care riders shared their message about health, wellness, and the special role UI Health Care plays in the state. And, the Iowans they met in those towns also had stories. Stories about how their lives have been positively impacted by UI Health Care—from successful treatment at the hospitals; to thanking us for outreach clinics that come to their towns; to participation in clinical trials; to degrees earned in the college.

As the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center, we exist to serve the citizens of Iowa, and we often struggle to find the most effective ways to share our story statewide. I thank our “ambassadors on wheels,” whether riding individually or in groups, who last week used a seven-day bike ride to share our message. They demonstrated not only their commitment to UI Health Care but also to the people of Iowa.

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