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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 2, 2003

Skorton To Receive UI Department Of Internal Medicine Award

The University of Iowa department of internal medicine has named UI President David J. Skorton, M.D., recipient of its 2003 Distinguished Achievement Award.

Skorton will receive the award Oct. 2 as part of the department's "Progress in Internal Medicine" conference.

The award was created in 1984 to honor individual faculty, alumni and friends of the department who have made significant and enduring clinical or scientific contributions in internal medicine. In alternating years, the award is made to individuals who have established careers away from the UI and individuals who are current or emeritus faculty at the University.

"President Skorton's commitment to medicine and to this University are exemplary," said Peter Densen, M.D., professor and interim head of the UI department of internal medicine. "For twenty years, this award has been given to leaders and innovators connected with our department who have contributed significantly to the science and practice of internal medicine. David's contributions to our knowledge of medical imaging, to our care of patients with congenital heart disease, and to the education of new generations of physicians have been notable."

Densen continued, "President Skorton has a tremendous ability to assimilate new information, find consensus, muster resources and move us forward. He is an energizing individual who is particularly well suited to lead our university in meeting the needs of our community and of all Iowans."

A cardiologist, Skorton came to the UI in 1980 as an instructor. He was named assistant professor in internal medicine in 1981 and assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering in 1982. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and to professor in 1988.

Skorton's research has focused on congenital heart disease in adolescents and adults, and on cardiac imaging and computer image processing. He has published numerous articles and two major texts in the areas of cardiac imaging and image processing. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, the American Heart Association and private agencies, including the Whitaker Foundation and Hewlett-Packard. He was director of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Specialized Center for Research in Coronary and Vascular Diseases at the UI.

Within the UI department of internal medicine, Skorton served in a variety of administrative positions, including director of the Cardiovascular Image Processing Laboratory (1982-96), director of the division of general internal medicine (1985-1989), and as associate chair for clinical programs (1989-1992).

Skorton was appointed UI vice president for research in 1992 and named interim vice president for external relations in July 2000. He became vice president for research and external relations in March 2002. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa named Skorton the 19th UI president in January 2003.

A strong proponent of interdisciplinary programs in teaching and research, Skorton developed a number of model internal funding programs for research at the UI, including the nationally recognized Iowa Arts and Humanities Initiative, as well as the Bioscience Initiative, while he was vice president. He also sees patients regularly at UI Hospitals and Clinics, where he is co-founder and co-director of the UI Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic. He has been a national leader in research ethics. He serves as the charter president of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc., the first entity organized specifically to accredit human research protection programs.

As UI vice president for research and external relations, Skorton headed a research and development program that still ranks among the nation's top 20 public research universities in obtaining external funding. Under his vice presidential administration, yearly totals for external funding increased from about $153 million to $353 million. He oversaw more than 30 administrative units, including the Division of Sponsored Programs, Information Technology Services, the University Hygienic Laboratory, Oakdale Research Park, the Technology Innovation Center (the University's business incubator), the Office of the State Archaeologist, the International Writing Program, the University of Iowa Press, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Broadcasting Services, and University Relations.

Skorton was born in Milwaukee. He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology in 1970 and an M.D. in 1974, both from Northwestern University. He completed a medical residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, before coming to the UI.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,