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Medicine dean candidate stresses education, entrepreneurship

BY ERIC LIGHTNER | JUNE 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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Nancy Davidson said research, education, and entrepreneurship will move the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine forward in the medical community.

"Research is the bedrock of an academic medical center; without your research, we would not flourish," Davidson said.

The UI medical school hosted its second of five public forums Tuesday. The chosen candidate will replace current Dean Paul Rothman later in the year.

Medical-school officials will interview the candidates in the Medical Education & Research Facility, and each candidate will answer the question, "What is Your Vision for the Future of Academic Medical Centers?"

The second candidate for the position, Davidson is the director for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, a professor of medicine, pharmacology, and chemical biology, and associate vice chancellor for cancer research and professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

"[She has] a track record of academic excellence," Sue Curry, the dean of the UI College of Public Health.

Davidson said the staff in a medical institution is one of the most important things when creating a leadership circle.

"One of the most important things you can do as dean is that you have the right people," she said.

Collaborating with other colleges is one way to succeed as a strong institution, she said.

"It is absolutely critical that no college on a university campus is out by itself," she said. "I envision we interact with every single college."

Beyond interaction with other UI colleges, Davidson stressed interaction with the community and local government.

"Many of us have been a little loath to interact with our government officials, and that's bad," she said.

UI Professor Donna Hammond said she has been pleased with the candidates who have spoken.

"I'm really excited about the caliber of candidates we've seen so far," Hammond said, noting that the candidates were impressive and well-qualified.

Part of Davidson's plan involves promoting the UI Hospital & Clinic's clinical practice and moving toward becoming a hospital that provides "outstanding multidiscipline medical care."

"These hospitals should be first resort, the go-to place," Davidson said. "The success of an academic medical center rests on its clinical enterprise."

Davidson also talked about the importance of continuing on the hospital's research initiative and improving the connection between scientific and clinical research. She stressed the importance of strategic research and cooperation as well as making sure that the benefits of that research to the general public.

"All that we learn, all that we discover, all that we translate — we haven't done what we need to do if these insights aren't available," she said in response to a question about what involvement in social justice the medical school must have.


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