What is your hometown?
I grew up in Humboldt, IA, graduating from Humboldt H.S. in 1989. I attended Wartburg College in Waverly, IA graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree and biology major in 1993.
How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?
During ninth grade biology, I had a teacher (Bruce Gunderson) who really stoked my interest in the biological sciences which then consumed the chemical and physical science as well. The biological sciences were still my favorite. This transcended into health related interests and eventually medicine. The first time I can remember stating that I wanted to be a doctor was in fifth grade. I actually wrote a short essay on the subject. My mother showed me this essay not long ago. I had all but forgotten its existence and my early desire. My biology and premedical studies at Wartburg gave me the knowledge and proved to me my ability to pursue a medical education at the University of Iowa.
What interested you to pursue a career in medicine and medical education?
Growing up in rural Iowa, my thoughts of a "doctor" was that of a family physician. Our community of approximately 5000 people had several family physicians. Our family physician was Dr. Laine Dvorak (78MD), a graduate of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He is still practicing there today. This "jack of all trades" type of doctor is eventually the type of physician I wanted to pursue. There really is a connection between a family and their primary care physician, and I wanted to provide that type of care and build those relationships. I can't imagine a more fulfilling career than that in family medicine
Is there a teacher, mentor or Carver College of Medicine faculty member who has helped shape your education?
I attended the Quad Cities Genesis Family Practice Residency Program in Davenport, IA. This program is affiliated with the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. There I had the privilege to work with outstanding fellow residents and staff physicians. I couldn't have come out of residency more prepared for practice than I did at this program. Our residency staff and rotation mentors were fantastic clinicians, teachers and people. I still keep in touch with many of them and ask of their friendly consultation.
How or why did you choose the UI for your education and medical training?
For me, the choice to attend the University of Iowa to obtain my medical degree was easy. I am a native of Iowa, and the university has always been "the" institution of higher education in this state. It reflects nothing but success for those who are willing to put forth the effort to pursue whatever degree they so choose. The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine is no different in those respects. I am honored to be a graduate of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. It allowed me to be easily accepted into the residency of my choice and prepared me exceptionally well for that transition.
What kind of professional opportunities or advantages has your UI medical training provide?
I have served as the vice president and president of the Des Moines-Louisa County Medical Society, assistant chief and chief of medicine/family practice at Great River Medical Center in West Burlington, a member of the medical executive committee at the same facility, and a member of numerous committees at large.
What are some of your outside interests?
I do enjoy many things outside of medicine. I am married to Ann and have two children, Abby (5) and Jacob (2). We enjoy family time and travel. I am a full time Hawkeye fan and am active in the I-Club. I am a season ticket holder for football and men's basketball and attend many other events including wrestling, women's basketball, away football and basketball games and bowl games. Our family enjoys music and theater. Outside recreation, hiking, camping, boating and travel occupy much of our summers.
If you could change one thing about the practice or business of medicine, what would it be?
This has certainly been an interesting seven years with continued Medicare and private insurance battles. I guess this has been one of the more frustrating aspects of medical practice. It seems as though one is always battling for their cut of the reimbursement pie. It's hard to focus on patient care with the constant insurance and Medicare badgering, bullying and hassle factors. Documentation and dictation are an innate part of daily life as a physician also. It's unfortunate that I have to spend as much time with these unfulfilling activities as I do with actual patient care. It's frustrating that a document that is intended for patient care has more need and value as a legal document for attorneys and insurance companies.
What is the biggest change you've experienced in medicine since you were a student?
The evolvement of the electronic medical record (EMR) is really changing physician-patient interaction as well as medical documentation. It certainly makes medical information more readily available, but it also creates a whole new concern for confidentiality and can cause information overload. The EMR can become the focus of medical care rather than a tool to make patient care easier and more efficient. However, as the medical community becomes more comfortable with its use, EMR will be a standard tool in medicine. The future of medicine will likely involve more team effort between primary care and specialists. Also allied health members and social service providers will be in large demand. With the aging population, our resources will be maximized to the limits. Assisted living and retirement communities will explode in number. Nursing homes will be filled to capacity and family members stressed to physically and financially care for their elders. This is why family practice and primary care medicine will be at an increasingly high demand. We are the ones that will be dealing directly with these issues and those involved.
What one piece of advice you would give to today's medical students?
My advice to current medical students is to be committed to your profession but enjoy the process of your medical education. We invest and sacrifice too much of ourselves to not enjoy that for which we are working to obtain. Treat your fellow students, patients and eventual students as you would like to be treated. A comfortable environment is much more conducive to learning than one that is cut throat and ego filled. There will be plenty of stressful opportunities ahead, but your education at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine should provide you with a strong foundation through your residency, fellowship and eventual practice. A medical education is a lifetime pursuit and will certainly not be complete at the end of your four years.
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