Resident Life and Well-being

At the University of Iowa Internal Medicine Program, we know that we can only achieve our mission of helping our residence excel as clinicians, educators, and scholars in a culture that emphasizes collaboration and belonging and promotes wellness.

Our culture wasn’t built overnight and it takes work to maintain.  But we are proud of the way our program runs and the way we all work together as a team.  Our culture isn’t something that just stays in the hospital either.  We are proud of how our residents spend time with each other both in and out of the hospital.

Here is what we do to maintain our inclusive culture and promote wellness:

Transition to Residency

The transition to residency can be a tough time.  Many of our residents are moving to Iowa City for the first time.  We make sure that our residents feel right at home as soon as possible with a robust orientation and a peer mentoring program that connects residents in order to facilitate inclusion from day 1.

Peer Mentoring program

Each incoming intern is paired with a senior resident prior to orientation.  The mentor match is based on several factors including hobbies and career interests.  As interns arrive to Iowa City, they are encouraged to meet with their mentors.   Mentors are available for any concerns that come up at any point in time throughout the year.  Mentors are happy to answer questions about housing, adjustment challenges, and resident life in general.  Over time, peer mentors become close colleagues who interns can rely on in and outside of the hospital.

Orientation focused on Strategies for Success

During orientation, the new interns get to know the chief residents, who will be the go-to people for any concern or question throughout the year.  The chief residents go over practical skills like how to hand-off patients to the night team, how to stay organized on the wards, how to use the University of Iowa’s online resources, and how to perform the common procedures in internal medicine, like central venous catheter placement, paracentesis, thoracentesis, and lumbar puncture.

Resident-to-Resident Epic Training

In 2021, residents initiated a resident-to-resident epic training in place of the generic epic training.  Residents teach practical skills and share SmartPhrases that help the interns hit the ground running on day one.

New resident Objective Structured Clinical Experience (OSCE)

During orientation, our residents participate in an Objective Structured Clinical Experience (OSCE).  The goal of this OSCE is to get interns back in the swing of seeing patients again and also gives us an opportunity to provide just-in-time feedback to residents on skills to develop even prior to their first experience on the wards.

We were one of the first programs to implement an OSCE during orientation and our pioneering work on the OSCE (Assessing Entrustable Professional Activities Using an Orientation OSCE: Identifying the Gaps - PubMed ( was cited by the ACGME when it recommended all US resident programs adopt this evaluation tool during orientation.

Learn more about our past OSCE sessions: Seven years, seven OSCEs


Connection Between Peers

We have an amazing community of residents who enjoy spending time with each other both in and out of the hospital.  On the long days (and there will be long days) and your senior resident stays late too just to help you get your work done, that’s what we are about here at Iowa.

Welcome Picnic during Orientation

As a way to help interns get to know those associated with the residency program, a welcome gathering is held during orientation for residents, faculty, and their family.

Learn more about our 2023 Welcome Picnic

Annual Resident Retreat

Each year, a 1-day off-campus workshop for each residency class is organized to provide further skill development in areas of communication, teaching, leadership, team-building, and self-development.  On the day of the workshop, all of the residents’ hospital responsibilities are covered by the other cohorts, which provides a great environment for residents to relax and have fun together.



Y-week supper clubs

One of the great benefits of having an X+Y schedule is that there is a cohort of residents that all regularly have the same weekend off the whole three years of residency.  These cohorts often go to a local restaurant together after the academic half-day on Thursday.


Humanities and Wellness Committee Activities

Throughout the year, the Humanities and Wellness Committee organizes various social activities throughout the year.  These include a trip to the local apple orchard and renting out the local independent movie theater for the showing of a movie!

GME House Staff Council Activities

The GME House Staff Council organizes multiple events for all residents at UIHC throughout the year.  Last year, these events included going to two Iowa women’s basketball game (who played in the NCAA National Championship game last season.

Food truck Thursdays

During the warmer months, the entire scientific community at the University of Iowa is invited to relax around the lunch hour on Thursday.  Food trucks come from across the state and park just outside the hospital.  There is live music onsite as well.

Winter Recognition Event

The Internal Medicine Residency hosts an annual winter gathering at a local restaurant to recognize the hard work and dedication of our residents.  It is a welcome time to relax and enjoy tme away from the hospital with friends and colleagues.


Resident Graduation House Staff dinner

In June, the department hosts a farewell dinner program honoring the graduating residents and celebrating their accomplishments. 

Read about our 2023 graduation.

Resident hangouts throughout the year

Our residents are great about having each other over just to hang out and have fun outside the hospital.  These activities facilitated by the easy navigability of the city, the proximity of downtown Iowa City, and the many parks and outdoor activities nearby.

There are also many interest groups that are available to our residents as part of the University community.  These include the UIHC Writers’ Group, the Internal Medicine Book Club, and faculty/staff orchestra to name a few examples.



Resident Lounge

The Internal Medicine Resident Lounge is a community gathering space equipped with a small kitchen, a treadmill workstation, and many computers.  Residents often work from this space when on consult rotations.

Supporting Healthy Lifestyles

During your residency at Iowa, we will make sure that you have access to the resources you need to practice the habits of healthy living in your everyday life.

Employee Assistance Program

Free and confidential counseling services designed for employees to assist with emotional health, stress, fatigue, depression, suicide prevention, grief, and substance use.

There is a phone line that is answered 24/7 in case of immediate assistance.

Resident Workout facility

There is a work-out facility with showers in the hospital that residents have access to 24/7.  This facility is operated by the Office of Graduate Medical Education.

LiveWell Program

A gym membership that gets you access to all University gyms costs $40/month and if you go 4 times per month, the cost goes down to $20/month!

Personal health coaching is also available through this program to help great a personal plan to meet your wellness goals.

For more information, go to

Opt-out medical appointments

Started during the 2023-2024 academic year, the Office of Graduate Medical Education works on setting up residents with a Primary Care Provider in a department that they are not affiliated with (for Internal Medicine, that is family medicine).  Our residency program will facilitate you getting to your medical appointments, regardless of what rotation you are on.

Wellness Curriculum

For more information, go to Wellness Curriculum.

After-hours Rides

There are multiple transportation optins that will take you directly to your car if you are getting done late.  These options include:

GME will also pay for you to take a cab all the way home if you are too tired to drive.  For more information, contact the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Office (

Life in Iowa City

Iowa City is a vibrant community and a fantastic place to live during your residency.  The Internal Medicine Residents have put together a list of their favorite spots in the Iowa City area. We also invite you to check out more information on Iowa City in the below links to learn more about Iowa City.