Cristen Page, the second candidate finalist for the University of Iowa vice president of medical affairs and Carver College of Medicine dean, discussed past and present challenges, and opportunities faced within academic health systems during an open forum Thursday.
“I hope you’ll walk away with the sense that I am a mission-driven experienced leader ready to tackle whatever it is before us,” Page said.
She is the second candidate to visit the University of Iowa for the position occupied by current Vice President of Medical Affairs and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine Brooks Jackson. Jackson will hold his current position until his successor has been chosen.
The current Executive Dean of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine opened by discussing her background and the reasons why she got into the medical field. Page credited a trip to Tanzania as the catalyst for her calling to public service in medicine.
“Public health was really the place I found a strong fit,” Page said.
Page has served in her position of executive dean has been held by Page since 2019. She also currently serves on the University of North Carolina Health Board of Directors and the University of North Carolina Executive Council.
Page’s presentation covered multiple facets of health care systems and detailed the challenges and opportunities within them, challenges she had previously and currently dealt with. She specifically pointed out what she deemed the ‘tripartite mission,’ or the three-key factors of the health care system.
This mission includes patient care, research, and education, all which Page stressed the importance of. She also added that before any of that work can be completed, it is essential to look inward toward the workplace environment first.
“We can do nothing to forward the tripartite mission without investing in our people and our culture. That element of caring well for your people is critical,” Page noted.
She went on to detail the importance of clinical care, a factor of her mission.
“I love being a doctor,” Page said. “Getting to deliver babies for 15 years and having multiple generations in my practice has been such a joy.”
Discussing challenges such as behavioral health in patients and finding methods to better serve them was another part of the clinical care factor. This includes the need to move older generations into a new era, Page said.
“It is part of a continuous improvement, how we move ahead to do what’s right for patients,” she said at the forum.
The second factor Page emphasized was research and its impact on future generations. Page noted that people can now have opportunities to advance research in the medical field. She also mentioned the challenges faced in research, specifically the gap between funding for many areas of research.
“We have some work to do as a scientific community and a public health community to restore that,” Page said.
Page said she had previously launched a research committee and reassured the audience that she would invest in all forms of research at the UI. She emphasized investing in the infrastructure of research and the people in research.