Link: University of Iowa

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Alumni Interview

Portrait: Dennis Boatman, M.D.

Dennis Boatman, M.D.

(64MS, 66MD, 70R-Urology)

Dr. Boatman is a trusted advisor, influential philanthropist and a tireless advocate for Iowans and the University of Iowa. His extensive service leadership has helped guide numerous civic, education and community health interests to better serve his Iowa neighbors. Dr. Boatman’s leadership of the largest capital campaign in UI Carver College of Medicine history helped construct the new Medical Education Research Facility and create endowments to support medical education, medical research and medical student scholarships for generations to come. Dr. Boatman is retired and resides in Cedar Rapids, IA. He is the recipient of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Service.

What is your hometown?

I was born in Bloomfield, Iowa but have lived in Cedar Rapids for 36 years

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

I decided at nine years of age I wanted to be a physician and never wavered from that decision.

What interested you to pursue a career in medicine and research?

I always enjoyed science more than other subjects. The creativity of research was fueled by being a laboratory technician in the pharmacology department during my undergraduate years.

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

I have been president of the Linn County Medical Society, the Iowa Urological Society, and the United Way of East Central Iowa. I have served as president of the Theatre Cedar Rapids Board of Trustees and am also on the University of Iowa Foundation’s Board of Directors.

I have received the Outstanding Community Volunteer Award from the Iowa Medical Society, the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion from the University and twice received the John Northcott Award. The Davis County Community Schools awarded me an Outstanding Alumnus Award.

I was formerly a professor of Urology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I have been chairman of the Madge Philips Capital Campaign and the College of Medicine. I have served on the Hall-Perrine Foundations Board of Directors, am former chair of Seeking Knowledge Through Healing National Capital Campaign at the University of Iowa and have received the Davis Award from Rotary International.

Is there a UI Carver College of Medicine faculty member who helped shape your medical education and training?

In the early years, Dr. John Paul Long (50BS, 52MS, 54PhD-Pharmacology) served as an important benefactor and mentor. Later in my medical education, Dr. Rubin Flocks in the department of Urology, was most instrumental in my career pathway.

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

I knew that the University of Iowa was an outstanding University. Coming from a modest background the choice was also the most practical.

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

My medical training at Iowa provided me with the skills that allowed me to have the option of multiple career pathways. I ultimately chose the private practice of Urology.

As a graduate of the UI Carver College of Medicine, what does being the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award mean to you?

I cannot think of a more meaningful honor than this one – coming from one of the finest college's of medicine in the world.

Please describe your professional interests.

My professional interests have focused on my career in Urology. More specifically prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, laser research and its uses in Urology, and the education of our Urology residents.

You have been a tireless advocate for the University of Iowa and civic, education and community health interests throughout the state. What has fueled your passion for service?

Being a physician is one's occupation. Being a volunteer pays our "civic rent". It seems the more you do, the more you are asked to do.

As a physician, service leader and philanthropist, what would you say has been your greatest success?

I am most proud of our ability to recruit outstanding urologists to Cedar Rapids. I am also grateful for the opportunity of helping my College of Medicine in fundraising and specifically in increasing the amount of money needed for medical school scholarships.

What are some of your outside interests?

I enjoy reading, working out at the gym, both fresh and salt water fishing and the close companionship of my family – and of course, the pride of knowing and loving my grandchildren.

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

Above all be honest and compassionate.

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

I would reduce the increasing stream of paperwork, and legislate a reasonable law for malpractice reform.

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

The incredible development of technology – especially in my field of Urology.

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

Go into medicine for the right reason – to help your fellow man.

What do you see as "the future" of medicine and medical education?

Our cost of health care is too expensive. We need to make critical decisions on health care delivery in the future. We cannot tolerate 50 million people without access to reasonable care.


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