Kathleen A. Cooney, MD

Kathleen A. Cooney, MD

Chair, Department of Internal Medicine

I would like to welcome you to the Department of Internal Medicine’s website. Here you will learn about our activities, our faculty and staff, and our plans for the future.

In 1943, Maxwell M. Wintrobe, MD, became the University of Utah’s first Chair of Internal Medicine at the newly formed four-year medical school. Dr. Wintrobe was a world-renowned hematologist focused on patient care, awarded the first extramural grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also served as the director of the country’s earliest hematology training programs. Dr. Wintrobe’s leadership embodied the tripartite mission of academic medicine. His balanced focus on patient care, research, and education remains the cornerstone of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Today, the Department of Internal Medicine is the largest department at the University of Utah with 14 divisions and more than 340 faculty treating important diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. We are committed to patient care.  Our clinicians see patients throughout the Mountain West – approximately 10 percent of the geographic area of the United States. I am extremely proud of the high quality care our patients receive. Of our providers, 26 percent score within the 99th percentile for patient care and 50 percent are in the 90th percentile according to Press-Ganey scores. Aligned with the efforts through our health system, we are actively striving to improve quality while reducing the cost of care for our patients.

For more than 70 years, our faculty have directed life-sustaining and preventative research breakthroughs, including creating the artificial heart, artificial kidney, and dialysis. Our faculty have also discovered genes linked to breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and other life-changing diseases. The department’s commitment to research remains strong. Internal Medicine represents nearly half of all grant funding in clinical departments within the School of Medicine. We are committed to strengthening and diversifying our portfolio of federally-funded research grants. To reach this goal, we will strategically recruit clinical, translational, and basic investigators to the department. We are fortunate to have many philanthropic gifts and endowed chairs to support our investigators.

Our department plays a major role in education for the medical school providing nearly 30 percent of all teaching for students. We also train 35 percent of all residents and fellows as well as 49 percent of all post-doctoral fellows for the entire School of Medicine. We have nearly 120 residents enrolled in our program and as a group, our graduates score in the upper 10 percent on the American Board of Internal Medicine Certifying Exam.  It is our goal to continue to provide high value, innovative educational experiences for our students, residents, and fellows.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead such a prestigious department at an institution that is in the forefront of healthcare transformation. By reviewing the information throughout our website, I hope that you will be able to discover the many unique strengths that the Department of Internal Medicine and the University of Utah has to offer. Most importantly, I hope that you will be able to gain an appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff.