Peter Densen, MD Honored with 2017 Arky Award

Posted:
Oct 4, 2017, 4:51 PM

Peter-Densen,-MD.jpgAs the Carver College of Medicine's first Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Curriculum, he not only led the development and implementation of a radically revised curriculum but also the development and implementation of the CCOM Learning Communities as the element that connected student affairs and curriculum for the students. 

Upon his return to the deans office as executive dean in 2004 he was acutely aware of the differences that learning communities had made on the culture at Iowa and realized a number of other institutions were following Iowa's lead.  Leading the effort he issued an inclusive invitation to all medical schools to attend the first ever conference on medical learning communities.  Ten schools accepted along with representatives from the AAMC.  Dr. Densen urged the group not to let too much time go by so they gathered again a few months later in March 2006 at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Hosted by Dr. Louise Arnold plans were made to host the third meeting with the 2006 annual AAMC meeting in Seattle hosted by Marjorie Wenrich and Erika Goldstein.

The early meetings established our LCI structure, Iowa took on responsibility for the first LCI list serve. Peter urged the group to include an academic component. The results "Defining and Describing Medical Learning Communities: results of a national survey" (Ferguson K et al Academic Medicine 2009, 84:1549-56) were the first to describe medical learning communities. 

Dr. Densen's impact on the LCI has been profound. His legacy includes: 1. the LCI's name, 2. a national organization whose meetings continue to be hosted by member schools in order to show case individual innovations, 3. an organizational structure that contains the four original committees, and 4. a focus on measuring outcomes and publishing them. 

Full circle - Dr. Densen stepped down as Executive Dean in 2010. In 2014, he assumed leadership for one of Iowa&'s Learning Communities - a position he always described as the one of the best in academic medicine. In this role, over the last three years, he has been instrumental in forging closer links between community leadership and student transitions, student wellness and career advising as part of his commitment to promote ongoing connections to counter national trends in student burn out.