Running Towards the Fire: Tom Moore

Issue: 

Tom Moore

Tom Moore (BA’80/MA ’84) got a call late one night from a nursing supervisor asking him to come in and meet with a couple from Dyersville and help them write a news release. Their son had been injured in a farm accident and unfortunately, they lost him.

 “I knew right away these were special people because most of the community was there in the waiting room in their time of grief. And it turned out, they didn’t want me to write a news release—they wanted me to write a thank you letter,” said Moore, the spokesperson for University of Iowa Health Care.

“They thanked the first responders, the ambulance crew, their hometown’s emergency department staff, the air care crew, our staff here in emergency care and the intensive care unit, and then the social worker who worked with them to help them make the decision to donate their son’s organs,” he said. “I was so impressed with these people because, on what had to be the worst day of their lives, they thought of others.”

As he recounted the story, his voice brimmed with emotion, revealing the unwavering passion he holds for his role within the leading health care institution he serves. Moore said the best part of his job is getting to meet people like the Dyersville couple and learn from their strength.

Moore is the face and voice of University of Iowa Health Care, interacting directly with the media and providing them with resources to help appropriately represent it. He oversees media coverage for the Carver College of Medicine, UI physicians, and UI Hospital and Clinics (UIHC). This is no small feat, as UIHC alone is an expansive operation that served nearly 1 million people last year, according to the UIHC 2016 annual report.

UIHC Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Kathy Dean said Moore’s ability to maintain solid relationships within the media and the greater Iowa community makes him a valuable asset to their mission.

“Tom always knows who to go to and how to get to them,” she said. “I really rely on him.”

Moore said one of the more difficult parts of his job is navigating the waters between what journalists want and protecting patients and their confidentiality. UI Assistant VP for External Relations Jeneane Beck said Moore works as a tough but fair source for the media, and is an essential team player.

“For example, after the shooting on the Ped Mall, Tom was up in the middle of the night and headed into the emergency room to make sure the staff was taken care of, and if media arrived, he would handle them,” Beck said. “You couldn’t ask for a better person in taking care of a situation as it happens.”

“Tom always knows who to go to and how to get to them,” Kathy Dean said. “I really rely on him.”

In 2016, Forbes Magazine named UIHC the No. 1 best place to work in healthcare. However, this does not mean UIHC is without their crises. While most run from these fires, Moore runs toward them offering insight and clarity along the way. To some this, task may seem daunting, but Moore said the kindness and humanity he witnesses makes his amount of responsibility more manageable.

“Some of the people who work here are literally the best in the world at what they do, and it is such an educational opportunity to see them operate and function,” he said. “Everyone here is so committed—sometimes you just get caught up watching them. It’s just a wonderful environment in which to work.”