David J. Bjorkman, MD, MSPH, SM
Interim 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.
The Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah has a rich history. In 1943, Maxwell M. Wintrobe, MD, became the first chair of the department at the newly formed four-year medical school. Dr. Wintrobe was a world-renowned hematologist focused on patient care. He was also awarded the first extramural grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 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 12 divisions and more than 375 faculty treating important diseases such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, and cancer. We are committed to patient care; more than half of our providers score within the 90th percentile nationally for providing an excellent patient experience. 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 75 years, our faculty have found 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.
Our department plays a major role in education for the medical school, providing nearly 30 percent of all the teaching for students. We also train 35 percent of all residents and fellows at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Our faculty, along with the support of nearly 300 adjunct faculty support the training of our more than 120 residents. Our residents are well-prepared for the next step, with 100 percent pass rates on the American Board of Internal Medicine Certifying Exam for the last three years.
I have personally had the privilege of being a part of the department since I began my medical school career at the University of Utah over 30 years ago. It has been impressive to watch the department continue to evolve to meet the needs of our community. As a public institution, it is our mission to serve the community by preparing the health care leaders of the future, providing quality care to our patients, and advancing health with life-changing research discoveries. The continuous innovation we see in the Department of Internal Medicine is a testament of our dedication to that mission. It is truly an honor to lead this remarkable department.