By Andy Mitchell
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics welcomed a new face to the UI medical community on Wednesday with visions of a bright future.
In Kinnick Stadium’s W. Brechler Press Box, J. Brooks Jackson, the new vice president for Medical Affairs, was received by members of UI faculty and the public nearly a week into his new role.
The UI announced on Oct. 16 that Jackson would fill the spot left behind after Jean Robillard stepped down. The UI had been searching since Robillard announced his intent to step down on Sept. 30, 2016.
“Simply put, this is ushering in the next era of the UIHC system,” UI President Bruce Harreld said.
He spoke at a podium in front of a wide window view of the UI Hospitals and Clinics.
Harreld regarded Jackson’s body of work with esteem. Jackson has served as vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school at the University of Minnesota since 2014.
“Brooks Jackson is, first and foremost, a great team player, collaborator, and communicator,” Harreld said. “That’s as good as it gets from a UI perspective.”
The three largest components to Jackson’s new role, Harreld said, are research, academics, and clinical care. He called Jackson’s background in all three of those fields stellar. On the research side, Jackson is internationally recognized for his contributions to AIDS research.
“His credentials are impeccable,” Harreld said. “There are a lot of people in this world who are alive today because of his research.”
Harreld also thanked Robillard for his more than 40-year tenure as VP for Medical Affairs and expressed his gratitude to the VP Search Committee.
“[Jackson] will bring a lot of fresh ideas,” said Patricia Winokur, the executive dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. “He has a very deep understanding of health care.”
Winokur also said Jackson has learned quickly and spent his first week mostly listening.
“He’s highly regarded in academic medicine,” said Kenneth Kates, the associate vice president for and CEO of UIHC. “That we were able to recruit someone of Dr. Jackson’s caliber, I think, is fabulous for UI health care and the entire university.”
Jackson was invited to the podium to speak after Harreld, and he talked about his excitement about the future and high regard for the UI’s institutions.
“There are challenges in this rapidly changing environment,” Jackson said. “This institution is very well-positioned, better than most, to deal with these problems.”
Jackson said it is also an exciting time in medicine, speaking of what he called incredible advances in cancer therapy and treatment as an example. He also said that he thinks the UIHC is in a great position to be world leaders in disease prevention, especially in HIV and Hepatitis C, citing the UI’s vaccine-evaluation unit.
“Our overall mission is that we will be able to provide new treatment and therapies and social changes so that we can all live longer and more fulfilling lives,” Jackson said.