Medicine dean candidate stresses education, research, patient care

BY ERIC LIGHTNER | JUNE 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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Jack Elias says education, research, and patient care will provide for a better University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

"We cannot achieve excellence in one area without achieving excellence in the other areas," he said.

Elias is the third candidate the UI search committee has seen out of the four finalists to replace current Dean Paul Rothman. Each candidate has answered or will answer the question: "What is Your Vision for the Future of Academic Medical Centers?"

Elias is the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine, professor of immunobiology, and chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. He is also a member of the Council of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, with the National Institutes of Health, and a past president of the Association of American Physicians, according to a UI press release.

Elias spoke to members of faculty, staff, and students about his vision of the college using three pillars — education, research, and patient care — but said each are crucial.

"Academic medical centers have three equally important missions," he said.

Sue Curry, the dean of the UI College of Public Health, said the medical school is looking for a visionary leader who understands the mission.

"We've had now three outstanding candidates who were very thoughtful about their answers," she said.

Besides the three pillars, Elias also stressed the importance of being a profitable institution.

"In many places in the U.S., there's competition [between] for-profit medical hospitals," he said, noting that the UI medical school is at an advantage for growth against competition because of its access to patients.

Elias said it was import- ant to make the UI medical research campus more attractive for private enterprise.

"I'm talking about joint ventures," he said. "I would encourage the UI to make itself maximally attractive to this generation of start-up companies."

Ken Kates, a co-head of the search committee and the CEO of the UI Hospitals and Clinics, said he felt positive about Elias' interest in the position.

"We're absolutely delighted with his interest in the current position," he said.

Elias said he not only looks toward a future that involves potential financial struggles but also spoke about the importance of personalized medicine in the 21st century.

"Personalized medicine is going to extend to every discipline in medicine," he said.

He had nothing but praise for the integration seen in the medical school.

"I am very impressed with the structure of the institution, the commitment of the institution," he said.

The final candidate will speak in the Medical Education & Research Facility at noon June 26, according to a UI press release.

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