What's Next for Internal Medicine?
Q&A With Jochen Reiser, MD, PhD, Chairperson of the Department of Internal Medicine
September, Jochen Reiser, MD, PhD, joined Rush as chairperson of the Department
of Internal Medicine, the Medical Center’s largest clinical department. Reiser
replaced Stuart Levin, MD, who retired after 21 years as chairperson of the department.
nephrologist, Reiser came to Rush from the University of Miami Leonard M.
Miller School of Medicine. In addition to holding a named chair in vascular
biology and kidney disease at Miami, he was vice chair for research in the
Department of Medicine and chief of the Division of Nephrology and
has led international research on the molecular mechanisms of kidney disease,
spoke this spring about his plans to strengthen the department’s relationships
within and outside the Medical Center to support the growth of its clinical and
Q: Why did you decide to come to
Rush has a big name. It has a tradition of excellence in clinical care and some
excellent research discoveries — for example, the discovery of the base of
sickle cell disease. When I learned of the opening, I thought it would be a
positive challenge to infuse more basic and clinical research into what
primarily has been a clinically oriented department.
Q: What’s your vision for the
Department of Internal Medicine at Rush?
are not starting from scratch here. This is a fine department. It is full of a
lot of talent. Now is the time to build up the clinical enterprise, holding
ourselves accountable and collaborate with our colleagues in other departments.
want to build molecular and translational research on a larger scale. We
already have formed a program in molecular medicine out of existing grants and
newly invested funds. It will give us more definition in the department and can
eventually be largely sustained by grants, programs and industry contracts.
We want to
go out into the community and be a partner. For example, hematology/oncology has
formed a close collaboration with DuPage Medical Group. We want to build an
even stronger relationship with the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook
County, which is a fine institution that cares for many of the most in need.
want to improve education. How can we improve our teaching? We’re going to put
a question mark behind a lot of things and evaluate them.
Q: What other initiatives have you
have set up a committee on research, which is a group of distinguished faculty
with broad research expertise that review junior faculty projects. We want to
build the next level of leadership, where the department is infused with junior
clinicians and basic scientists.
also started an attending-directed service in hospitalist medicine. We have a
group of faculty in the hospital that is taking care of all kinds of acute
conditions without resident support, which improves flow-through of patients in
the hospital and assures compliance with residents’ work duties.
Q: Where do you want to see the
department being in five years?
think this department has the chance to transform into a stellar clinical and
research delivery system where the quality of the physicians, nurses and staff
make all the difference in delivering a unique and highly successful patient