Final Medicine dean candidate discusses her vision

BY ERIC LIGHTNER | JUNE 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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The final dean candidate for the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine used examples from private business as well as her own past experience to express her vision for the future of the academic medical center.

Debra Schwinn's presentation focused on industry-driven advancements and how to work with the changing medical community.

"Health care is going to be more commodity driven," she said, using Dupont product as an example of how to develop new materials in an efficient manner.

Schwinn is a professor of and the head of the University of Washington anesthesiology and pain medicine as well as an adjunct professor of pharmacology and genome sciences.

Schwinn was asked to answer the question, "What is Your Vision for the Future of Academic Medical Center." Each of the four candidates answered the question as well as questions from the audience after their presentations.

Sue Curry, the dean of the College of Public Health, said she was excited Schwinn had shown a desire to apply for the position.

"Suffice it to say, we are delighted by her interest in this position," she said.

Schwinn placed great emphasis on her experiences at the University of Washington, pointing out her supervision at five different hospitals.

"Washington is the only medical school for [the] five [neighboring] states," Schwinn said.
She spent most of her presentation citing her experience with rebuilding Washington's interdisciplinary pain-medication program.

"Pain medicine is broken in this country," she said, explaining how this experience was a prime example of how important interdisciplinary medicine is going into the future of academic medical centers.

Schwinn described her leadership style as one that is more hands-off unless her involvement becomes necessary.

"My leadership style is to hire great people and to let them do their thing and support them," she said.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said now that Schwinn has given her presentation, all that is left for the search committee to decide on a candidate.

"Clearly, the pool of candidates was very strong," Moore said.

Schwinn also spoke about the importance of interdisciplinary medicine and the need to get doctors out of their respective departments and working together.

"I don't think you're married to the research in your department," she said.

She said she would work around barriers to reward teaching faculty and make sure that they are able to reap the benefits of their hard work.

"It's very hard to reward our educators, so what we do are very creative," she said.

The problems faced when dealing with rewarding educators, she said, was a lack of funding and a paradigm that didn't properly value their services.

"Very few areas of medicine are education-rewarded, and yet most of our faculty are here because of our students," Schwinn said.

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