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Gutierrez named Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Internal Medicine is pleased to announce that Jeydith Gutierrez, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor in General Internal Medicine, has accepted the position of Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for the department, effective immediately. She steps into the role following the departure of longtime Associate Chair for DEI Nicole Nisly, MD. Dr. Nisly’s tenure in the role was an exceedingly productive one, helping to found the state’s first LGBTQ Clinic, as well as spearheading smaller—but no less transformative—changes, such as the addition of the “Preferred Name” field to the patient’s electronic medical record. Dr. Nisly gave tireless service to every Iowan and to the belief that all of us are stronger when marginalized voices are heard and heeded and that the quest for justice and equity must shape our decisions.

The department is confident that Dr. Gutierrez will have a similar impact as she shares that same philosophy. She joined the department as faculty in 2015 after completing residency at Temple University in Philadelphia and medical training at Central University of Venezuela. In addition to an interest and background in basic research, Dr. Gutierrez also has a passion for global health and health services research. She has already distinguished herself in service to DEI as an inaugural member of the Carver College of Medicine’s Latinx Faculty Council and was just elected to her first three-year term on the University of Iowa’s Faculty Senate. She has the esteem of her peers as evidenced by her receipt of the 2019 Laureate Award from the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the UI Physicians’ 2020 Team Quality Award, and the 2020 Excellence in Research Award from the Iowa Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine.

In recent years Dr. Gutierrez’s clinical work has focused on innovations in delivering health care to rural populations via telemedicine. She led a pilot project in which hospitalists at the Iowa City VA Health System provided care to veteran inpatients at a VA facility in Wisconsin. This project has expanded and currently provide services to 3 other VA medical centers. Their efforts resulted in decreased daily census and length of stay and showed that access to care is one of many social determinants of health that we can affect. In her new role as Vice Chair, Dr. Gutierrez tells me that she wants to continue to focus on developing evidence-based practices to tackle health disparities and to guide DEI efforts in academic medicine. recognizing that providing quality care to all Iowans means outreach to underserved populations no matter who or where they are. She will also empanel and lead a standing DEI committee, whose members will represent a cross-section of our department. This group will work closely with our partners at the collegiate level and the community, who continue to innovate in positive directions.

When asked a couple years ago to name an inspirational woman in health care, Dr. Gutierrez cited Dr. Lya Imber de Coronil, the first woman medical school graduate in Venezuela in 1936, who later led UNICEF, an organization dedicated to providing health care to the children of the world. “My medical education,” Dr. Gutierrez wrote, “was certainly impacted by her work, as we were taught that health care is a human right and that social determinants of health are key (if not the most important) components of the practice of medicine. We should strive not merely to cure the disease, but most importantly to prevent it.”

Congratulations to Dr. Jeydith Gutierrez as she takes on this new role and continues to advocate for and lead us toward change and an environment that is welcoming, supportive, and just.

Friday, February 3, 2023