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Release: June 1, 1999

Winniford is named physician director of UI Heart Care

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Michael Winniford, M.D., University of Iowa professor and vice chair of internal medicine, has been named physician director of UI Heart Care, a new service for patients requiring high-quality heart and vascular care.

"This is very exciting for me personally," Winniford said. "We are committed to making UI Heart Care a world leader in cardiac and vascular-related services, incorporating both our current, highly rated patient care services and innovative cardiovascular research."

Winniford, a cardiologist, will be assisted by Douglas Behrendt, M.D., professor of surgery, who will serve as co-physician director, and by Ellen Cram, who will serve as nursing director.

Winniford said UI Health Care--which describes the partnership between the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the UI College of Medicine--already has many of the comprehensive service components necessary to help UI Heart Care achieve its goals.

"We have a complete array of highly rated specialties available including anesthesiology, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, nursing, radiology and vascular surgery," he said. "What's new and different is an organizational commitment to improving the efficiency of heart care services provided to patients and referrers. Every member of our cardiovascular care team will have a single point of accountability and will share in helping us achieve our overall objectives."

Among those objectives, he said, is a significant improvement in communications with referring physicians coupled with a commitment to address the full spectrum of patient needs.

"We have been listening carefully to patients and referrers," Winniford said. "We can successfully address their needs and interests in a variety of ways. While patient satisfaction with cardiovascular care has been high, for instance, we believe we have an opportunity to improve access to cardiovascular services, deliver more consistent continuity of care and provide more effective patient education."

R. Edward Howell, director and CEO of the UIHC, said Winniford has excellent qualifications as UI Heart Care physician director. "Mike Winniford is an internationally recognized cardiologist who has dedicated his professional life to providing heart patients with the best and most advanced care possible," Howell said. "His caring approach to meeting individual patient needs is exemplary. We are extremely fortunate to have someone of his caliber available to serve in this new role."

Robert Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine, said Winniford's extensive experience with cardiovascular research underscores a vital component of UI Heart Care's mission. "UI Heart Care represents more than high-quality care for heart patients," he said. "It combines compassionate patient care with a commitment to world-class research and medical education. This commitment assures that Iowans benefit from continuing advances in our understanding of cardiovascular disease, and that society's needs for well-trained medical professionals is met."