Link: University of Iowa

Information About


Alumni Interview

Portrait

Gena Benoit, M.D.

99MD

What is your hometown?

Sabula, Iowa

What is your official title?

Faculty Physician at Genesis Quad Cities Family Medicine Residency Program.

How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?

I grew up in a small Iowa town and was the youngest of six children. My dad farmed and my mom was a homemaker. My siblings were all quite a bit older than me, and none of them attended college. I went to a very small school and had always done well. My family was very encouraging, and I always felt determined to pursue higher education and do something more.

When I was a junior in high school, I took an elective class in Anatomy and Physiology and it really sparked my interest in science. The following year, my mother died of colon cancer. She had been ill for a number of years, and I had watched her go through so much. School had made me interested in the science aspect of medicine, but the life experience with my mother made me interested in the human side of medicine. As most doctors say, I wanted to help people.

What interested you to pursue a career in medicine and medical education?

When I began college at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, I knew that becoming a physician was what I really wanted to do. I began pursuing a major in Biology, but also minored in Psychology and Philosophy. I really enjoyed all of my classes. I especially liked my Anatomy class, which included cadaver dissection. But I felt that every class, regardless of the subject, was giving me a broad background and forming the basis for the person and physician I would become.

After graduating from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1999, I pursued my residency at Genesis Quad Cities Family Medicine Residency Program in Davenport, Iowa. I then went into private practice in Bettendorf, Iowa. I really enjoyed my patients and taking care of their families. I also thoroughly enjoyed the time spent teaching medical students. Being around medical students made me revisit all the reasons I had pursued a career in medicine in the first place. And, it keeps you on your toes! Therefore, when a position was offered to me to teach at the residency where I had trained, it was easy for me to accept.

Please highlight your major career achievements, awards, discoveries, etc.

In 2008, the graduating class at the residency program where I teach named me "Preceptor of the Year". It is an award I am very proud of and it means so much to me on a personal level. My three year old son Michael was diagnosed with cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma) in December of 2006. The following year I was often absent from work while he was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. In the midst of all that, we also experienced the birth of our third son. I felt that I was where I most needed to be, which was with my family, but often felt that I was neglecting the residents whom I work with and enjoy teaching so much. They honored me with the award for having been there for them whenever I was able and for teaching them about medicine, but even more about life.

Is there a teacher, mentor or UI Carver College of Medicine faculty member who has helped shape your education?

There were a number of faculty that I will always remember 'pearls of wisdom' from, such as Drs. Peter Rubenstein, Jean Jew, Joel Gordon, Geordie Lawry, and Harold Adams (74R-Nuerology). Dr. Peter Densen was also a terrific role model. The list goes on and on.

How or why did you choose the University of Iowa for your education and medical training?

I had always hoped to attend the University of Iowa for medical school, as it had an outstanding reputation. I also felt strongly about training in my home state of Iowa and staying here to practice.

What kind of professional opportunities or advantages has your University of Iowa medical training provided?

I feel that the University of Iowa's reputation speaks for itself. When people inquire as to where I did my training, I am proud to answer, "The University of Iowa". It simply conveys excellence.

Please describe your professional interests.

I love Family Medicine for the variety it offers. I am fortunate enough to be able to care for people from their birth until their death, and I get to become a part of a family's life. I enjoy women's health and obstetrics, in particular.

What are some of your outside interests?

I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jason, and our three boys, Daniel, Michael and Adam. We spend a lot of time boating, waterskiing, and fishing, as we live right by the Mississippi River. We love to swim and recently put a pool in our backyard. We enjoy snow skiing, as well. We are Hawkeye fans and also enjoy the Cubs and the Bears. In addition, I love to read, travel, and pretend I'm a good cook.

Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?

I try to remember that my job is to help people, no matter what it is that they may need. I also just try to "do the work", as it takes more time to avoid things than to just buckle down and get the job done.

If you could change one thing about the practice or business of medicine, what would it be?

I would love to see all people enjoy the same access to quality medical care that is affordable. It is hard to watch people not able to afford the care or the medications they need, or to watch people lose everything because of catastrophic medical problems.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in medicine since you were a student?

Technology. Even in the 10 short years since I graduated from medical school, the advancements have been amazing. The access we now have to electronic medical records opens many new doors to managing patients and maintaining high quality medical care.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's medical students?

I think it is important to work hard and to find enjoyment in what you do. Remember that you are providing a service to people and stay involved in your community. Always tend to your own well being and that of your family because ultimately that is the most important thing. Your time is precious, so use it wisely.

What do you see as "the future" of the medicine?

I think there will have to be changes in providing access to health care. I would love to see more graduates pursuing primary care careers, such as Family Medicine. We certainly need more primary care physicians, especially in Iowa. I think more and more people will be seeking a 'medical home' and we can provide that much needed service.

Contact

Medicine Alumni Society
medicine-alumni@uiowa.edu
Phone: 319-335-8886
Toll Free: 877-MEDIOWA
Fax: 319-384-1746