UI College of Medicine presents overhaul plans to Regents


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University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Dean Debra Schwinn went before the state Board of Regents Wednesday with plans to make the medical school a leader in college medicine.

When Schwinn was named dean in November of last year, she found the UI already had a stronger program than anticipated.

“Carver College of Medicine was stronger and better than I originally thought,” Schwinn said.

Schwinn was the head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, the Allan J. Treuer Endowed Professor of Anesthesiology, and adjunct professor of pharmacology and genome sciences at the University of Washington-Seattle.

Schwinn said the medium-size of the college drew her to the UI.  The size allows educators to be “nimble” and work efficiently in the education of its students.

The top priorities for Schwinn include developing successful doctors who will keep their roots in the state and a curriculum that will continue to push the UI to the front of the nation.

With these changes, she said, the college will be able to move forward with its education reforms.
“I think our guiding principle moving forward is innovation,” she said. “Tremendous progress has been made to have our faculty focus on the new curriculum while working with the old curriculum.”

The college has developed a rural farm program this past fall that picks four students a year. If these students eventually practice in a rural community in a primary-care area for five years in Iowa, they can be refunded up to $20,000 of their student loans.

This initiative is part of Schwinn’s goal to incentivize students to stay in Iowa.

While four students seem small in comparison to the enrollment of the medical school, Christopher Cooper, the associate dean for student affairs and curriculum, is optimistic about opportunities to expand the program.

“We’re hopeful that with the state budget there are some proposals that could help increase funding as well as a similar program that Des Moines University has,” he said.

While the college has been named a top medical school by U.S. World & New Reports, officials maintain they need to continue to develop their program in order to keep their prestigious ranking.

“I think that Dean Schwinn has accurately defined two critical means by which the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine can serve the people of Iowa,” said Donna Hammond, the interim executive associate dean.

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