July Highlights

University of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsUniversity of Iowa Health Care leaders announced that for the 20th time in 20 years, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics appeared on the list of the leading hospitals in the United States. U.S. News & World Report compiles “The Best Hospitals in America” listing annually. Three UI specialties ranked among the nation's top 10 in their respective categories: otolaryngology, third; ophthalmology and visual sciences, sixth; and orthopaedics and rehabilitation, eighth.

Despite the historic flood, that displaced and interrupted many research programs during summer 2008, University of Iowa faculty generated impressive growth in extramural support in fiscal year 2009. Total external funding achieved yet another all-time record of $429.5 million, which represented a 10.3 percent increase over 2008 and continued a trend that has seen consistent increases over the past 23 years.

The University of Iowa was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the Top 20 On-site Green Power Users, with a rank of 15th in the nation.

University of Iowa researchers' quest to find more effective treatments for epilepsy received a boost with a gift commitment of $1 million from Beth L. and Nathan R. Tross of Highland Park, Ill.

Seven faculty from undergraduate colleges across the state were the inaugural faculty fellows of the FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent—Uniting Research and Education) in Biomedicine Program. The initiative is building a network of scientists and science educators to benefit undergraduate science education and strengthen biomedical research in Iowa.

The National Institutes of Health awarded a five-year, nearly $3.6 million grant to University of Iowa researchers who seek to understand the genes and disease processes involved in glaucoma, the second leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and the leading cause among African Americans.

Aerial view of campusUniversity of Iowa Facilities Management received APPA's Effective & Innovative Practices Award for its Energy Hawks program, which seeks to reduce energy costs in 60 major buildings across campus. The award recognizes programs and processes that enhance service delivery, lower costs, increase productivity, improve customer service, generate revenue, or otherwise benefit educational institutions. APPA is an association of educational facilities professionals.

A University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of Political Science indicated that 40 percent of Chicago residents have little to no web access. The city-commissioned study, conducted as a partnership between the UI and the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2008, showed one in four Chicagoans were completely offline and an additional 15 percent had limited Internet access. The researchers will do a follow-up study in two years to see if providing free wireless spurs economic development, creation of jobs, and better wages in depressed urban areas.

Being active at the age of 5 helps kids stay lean as they age, even if they don't stay active later in childhood. Health and sport studies professor Kathleen Janz in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences said young children should get as much physical activity as possible early on because the protective effects continue to pay off as children grow older, no matter what happens in between. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, indicated that kids who are active at age 5 end up with less fat at ages 8 and 11. The average 5-year-old in the study got 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day.

President Barack Obama named Philip Kutzko, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences collegiate fellow and professor in the Department of Mathematics, a recipient of a prestigious 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. Kutzko was one of 20 individuals and organizations honored for their mentoring of minority students studying mathematics, science, or engineering. The award marked the second time in five years that Kutzko and his UI colleagues were honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence.

Our People

Iowa Lions Eye Bank executive director leads team through innovative new procedures and organization methods..

For many people, gazing at a colorful sunset or studying the intricacies of a classic piece of art are effortless activities, done simply by opening one’s eyes.

For those with impaired or no vision, these activities cannot happen. But Cindy Reed is working to make sure that sight becomes a part of every person’s life.

Reed is the executive director of the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, a nonprofit organization affiliated with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) founded in 1955 by Alson Braley as a joint project of the UI Department of Ophthalmology and the Iowa Lions. Technicians recover cornea tissue donated from the deceased and send it to the eye bank, where it is screened for diseases or imperfections and then prepared for surgeons who will perform transplants.

Reed, who has held the position since August 2004, leads the team of skilled professionals through administrative work, organization, motivation, and innovation. Last year was the eye bank’s best fiscal year ever as technicians recovered 1,011 corneas for transplant—300 more than the previous record.

Reed received two degrees from The University of Iowa (a BS in nursing in 1978 and an MA in education in 1981), worked as a nurse in behavioral health for 22 years, and has a great interest in alternative medicine. She says she never took a particular interest in visual sciences during that period, but she had a personal connection to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank. When her brother passed away, his eyes were donated to the eye bank. Reed’s mother always held on to the letter from a previous executive director, thanking her for the donation.

Now that she has been working in ophthalmology for five and a half years, Reed says the best thing about vision restoration is witnessing the impact she and her colleagues can have on a patient’s life.

“So many times in medicine you see people in crisis, when they can be at their worst,” says Reed. “We really get to see people when they’re at their best. We get to see the result of restoring a function that’s critical to somebody’s daily life.”

Among the many projects Reed has led was the creation of the Iowa Lions Donor Memorial and Healing Garden, a stone and plant area near the UIHC entrance. The garden commemorates more than 25,000 Iowans who have donated eyes, organs, and tissues throughout the eye bank’s 55-year history.

“We really designed [the garden] around the theme of hope, renewal, and transformation,” she says. “We hope that it serves as a place of reflection for anybody—visitors, patients, staff, students. We also hope that it encourages people to think about donation and how that can help others.”