Faculty Focus: Daniel Runde, MD, MME

Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Daniel Runde, portraitWhat is your hometown?

Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

How/when did you become interested in science and/or medicine?

As a young child, I had plans to be a Part Time Doctor, Part Time Crime Fighter. I’m still working on the latter (my martial arts skills need work), but am glad the doctor part has worked out in the meantime.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

July of 2014.

How or why did you choose to join the faculty at the University of Iowa?

I was lucky enough to have attended Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine as a medical student before leaving for my Emergency Medicine residency in New York City and then a fellowship in Los Angeles. When it came time to look for a more long-term position, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics was already on my list, and I was blown away by how much the Emergency Department had grown during my absence. Also, I had buried a chest of gold under the quad outside of Medical Eckstein Research Facility, and when I discovered that they had built the Biomedical Discovery Building on top of it, I realized I was going to need a proper cover if I wanted to infiltrate the building and retrieve it.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

Too many to name, but I need to try: My anthropology professor, Jim McKenna, from the University of Notre Dame, taught me so much about the importance of keeping perspective and finding joy in your work. Drs. Mark Clark and Dan Egan from my residency program were role models for how it’s possible to simultaneously be excellent physicians and human beings. My fellowship director, Dr. Wendy Coates, for demonstrating how passion and excellence will lead to success even in the face of barriers and adversity. Here at UI Hospitals & Clinics, I am continually grateful for the education and guidance provided by Dr. Azeem Ahmed, our executive vice chair, and Dr. Nick Mohr, our vice chair of research. They are also both great dancers.

How do you see your faculty role impacting medicine and/or science?

I feel like the solar-powered nano robots I’m working on are going to revolutionize the way that people consume and order stuff crust pizza. Aside from that, I see myself primarily having an impact in two areas: the first is as an advocate for evidence-based clinical practice with a focus on patient-important clinical outcomes and shared decision making. The second is as an educator and advocate for our medical students and residents. We ask our trainees to adapt to a rapidly changing health care environment in which clinical knowledge accumulates at an ever-accelerating clip. As faculty, we likewise need to challenge ourselves to meet their needs through deliberate practice and a willingness to change and adapt with the times.

What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in your field since you were a student?

The removal of black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm from the list of bodily fluids was really quite a game changer, thank goodness we’ve still got blood hanging in there. The other major changes I’ve noticed are the increased availability and utilization of procedural sedation in the Emergency Department for all manner of painful or scary interventions has been a huge boon to both patients and proceduralists alike. Similarly, the trend toward video laryngoscopy for emergent intubations has probably done more to lower trainer and trainee anxiety during intubation than anything else we’ve adopted in the last two decades.

What one piece of advice would you give to today’s students?

“It’s chaos, be kind.” Medicine is hard and getting harder.  There are ever-increasing demands on our time in a system that seems to focus less and less on provider wellness and fostering the provider-patient relationship. I think remembering to be kind, especially when you’re stressed out, exhausted, and feeling beaten down is so, so important. Getting out of your own head and remembering to connect with the patient in front of you and your colleagues in person and on that consult call are, I think, the keys to personal and professional success. 

I wish I could take credit for the “It’s chaos, be kind” thought, but it actually comes from the comedian Patton Oswalt, who attributes the motto to his wife, who died tragically and unexpectedly, far too young.  

In what ways are you engaged in professional activities outside the University?

I’ve been lucky enough to keep engaged on a variety of fronts. Currently, I’m proudest of, and most caught up in, the work of the Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition (IHRC), an organization I co-chair with Sarah Ziegenhorn, one of the most incredible medical students I’ve ever worked with. IHRC does too much work, on too many fronts, to neatly summarize here, but simply put, it is saving lives and reaching people who have fallen through the cracks of our current medical system. On a related note, I also serve as co-director of the Mobile Clinic, which brings together students from all of our health professions colleges to provide medical care to undeserved communities in and around Iowa City.

On the nerdier side, I am on the editorial board of TheNNT.com and Decision Editor for the Medicine By The Numbers series in the journal American Family Physician. I contribute evidence-based content for the website MdCalc.com and write a column on Myths in Emergency Medicine for Emergency Medicine News which focuses on using EBM to make patient-centered choices when it comes to providing care. In that vein, I am also a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians Clinical Policy Committee on opioid use in the Emergency Department.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

If I knew as much about medicine as I do about Narnia, Middle Earth, and the world of Harry Potter, I would have won a Noble Prize five years ago.

According to my two daughters, Jane and Alice, I am alternately very good at being a scary monster or being “so silly.” Not entirely sure what category I should put that in on my CV.