Link: University of Iowa

Information About

Alumni Interview

Sue Beckwith, M.D.


(80BS, 84MD)

What is your hometown?

Boone, IA

What is your official title?

Colorectal Surgeon at The Iowa Clinic in Des Moines.

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

I had great high school teachers in math and the sciences.

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

I have a picture on my desk of my sister and me at about ages five and three. I am wearing a hand made “Ben Casey Intern” shirt and we are caring for a Hedda Get Bedda doll. Enough said.

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

I’ve held several positions over the years including President of the American College of Surgeons Iowa Chapter, Governor representing the Iowa Board of Governors American College of Surgeons, Examiner of the Board of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and Vice President of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

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

Dr. Ken Printen and Dr. J.L. Ehrenhaft (38MD, 48R-Surgery) helped spark my interest in surgery.

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

I played basketball for four years in undergrad, but really considered no other schools to attend as the University of Iowa is the center of medical education in Iowa.

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

I’ve always felt that the University of Iowa is remarkably well respected around the country, and found all doors open when interviewing for residencies and fellowships. Of course, my medical school education also gave me a good foundation for any course I chose to pursue afterwards.

Please describe your professional interests.

My practice has focused on colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and major intra-abdominal procedures.

What are some of your outside interests?

I have too many it always seems! Watching and playing sports, the family business (Fareway Stores Inc.), working outside, volunteering and philanthropy.

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

I think all physicians are guided by the same philosophy; doing what is best for our patients.

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

I would want to be able to focus on the practice, rather than the business, of medicine.

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

Technology and less continuity of care in regards to an individual patient and physician.

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

Only pursue it if you wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.

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

I think physicians will work shifts much like nurses. In addition, I think we will lose much of the art of the practice of medicine by going to standardized practice patterns and pathways. Technology will continue to have a huge impact.


Medicine Alumni Society
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