Link: University of Iowa

Information About


Alumni Interview

Alan Wentworth, M.D.

Portrait

(54BA, 56MD)

What is your hometown?

Marble Rock, Iowa

What is your official title?

Retired Neurosurgeon

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

I grew up with it. My dad was in general practice and I accompanied him on rural rounds and saw the good side of what he did for people in the 1940s.

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

A lot of "peer" pressure from my dad and his friends. I learned to love science and the art of medicine at an impressionable age. I always loved teaching, and found much to pass along in my practice over the years.

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

Some of my achievements include bringing things like bipolar cautery, acrylic cranioplasty, microvascular decompression for tic douleureux and hemifacial spasm to Green Bay, WI, working with AOA was a highpoint for me in college and a lifesaving award for CPR resuscitation from a boating organization. Following up on former patients in the Green Bay area is the most rewarding part of being retired.

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

Certainly, all of them in one way or another helped shape my general medical knowledge. There were special ones like Albert McKee, Woodrow Morris, Adolph Sahs, Ignacio Ponsetti, Adel Affifi, Maurice Van Allen, Bob Joynt, and Olan Hyndman that really stood out.

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

Initially, the decision was pretty well made for me by my parents who both graduated from then "SUI." Fortunately, I was accepted into their prestigious medical school and never regretted the decision to stay.

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

Of course, I learned my craft of neurological surgery here, what works and what doesn't and the science behind it. But the overarching advantage of being in Pre-Med at Iowa in the 1950's was Liberal Arts opportunities that rounded out one's knowledge and appetite for life-long learning.

What still resonates with you today about your training at Iowa?

Mostly my classmates and some of the instructors. The Airliner, Ellen Mae Moody, and Chancellor Virgil Hancher.

Please describe your professional interests.

The neurological sciences still hold the fascination of the unknown, the vexing chase to understand better the illnesses that we can't treat effectively, and a certain pride in noting the improved outcomes of neurosurgical patients from the 1940's to the present time.

What are some of your outside interests?

Boating and cruising the beautiful waters of the Great Lakes. Traveling to Egypt, Paris, Geneva, and so many destinations within the USA. Electronics, photography, and too many other diversions.

Are you involved in service to your alma mater through volunteer activities, serving as community based faculty, etc. or have you had any opportunities to work with or train UI medical students?

No. I did work with the residents at the Medical College of Wisconsin on a visiting professorship in Milwaukee.

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

One of the biggest changes I've experienced is the reliance on imaging and the diminishing emphasis on historical and physical examination data. Depersonalization results, we have become more robotic as we are becoming assisted more and more by robotic instruments.

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

Strive for positive outcomes and excellence in your practice, but never forget that your greatest contribution to a patient's comfort may be a sympathetic ear, an encouraging remark, or a kind touch.

Contact

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