Link: University of Iowa

Information About

Alumni Interview

Ann Harwood-Nuss, M.D.


70BS, 73MD

What is your hometown?

I was born in Sigourney, Iowa but our family moved to Waverly, Iowa when my father joined a multi-specialty clinic there in the mid-1950s.

What is your official title?

I am currently a Professor and Assistant Dean for Program Development at the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville. I stepped down as the Associate Dean for Educational Affairs and Director of Graduate Medical Education in July 2006, having served in that position for 14 years. I was responsible for over-seeing all of the residencies and fellowships on our campus.

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

Although my father is a physician, I was not especially interested in medicine when I entered my freshman year at Iowa. That fall, I was struggling to grasp the nuances of my required science course - and in fact, was doing rather poorly! At this critical point in my early years, I was so fortunate to receive tutorial services from the Science Department at Iowa. Somehow, the light came on and I did quite well in the course. Paul Horgen was my teaching assistant at the time and provided amazing support. I was invited into the Honors Program at Iowa at the end of my freshman year. Through this program, I met many life-long friends with mutual interests in academic excellence.

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

Since 1981, I’ve been with the University of Florida, based in Jacksonville. I’ve served in multiple positions over the past 27 years - Chair, Program Director, Assistant Dean and Associate Dean for Educational Affairs. From 1992-2006, I served as the Director of Graduate Medical Education for the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville programs. I was tenured in 1987. In 1992, I was the first woman to become a full professor of surgery at the UF College of Medicine.

In 2006, I was honored to receive the University of Florida College of Medicine Society of Teaching Scholars “Lifetime Achievement Award”. Also in 2006, a special College of Medicine award was created in my name: Ann Harwood-Nuss Resident Advocacy Award.

I’ve published widely in the field of emergency medicine. I served as the editor in chief of a major textbook in emergency medicine, “Harwood-Nuss’ Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine”, published by J.B. Lippincott. It is now in its 5th edition and well regarded as a resource for clinicians, residents and students.

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

Although there were many, some do stand out for their support and kindness:
Dr. Flocks, Dr. Jim Clifton (51R-Internal Medicine), Dr. Chapel.

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

There really was never any question where I wanted to go for my education.
My family has a long tradition at the University of Iowa. My 89 year old father, Arthur Harwood (42BA, 43MD), attended the University of Iowa for both undergraduate and medical school; my uncle, aunt, cousin, and brother also attended Iowa. At present, my dear niece is a pre-med freshman at Iowa, carrying on the tradition.

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

Iowa is just simply so well respected, that despite all of the colorful remarks one inevitably hears about Iowa (smile), underneath all responses is a solid core of respect for the University. I was always proud to be a graduate of Iowa - and this confidence led me to realize I could go where I wanted to and be who I wanted to be, with no barriers except my own limitations.

Please describe your professional interests.

I originally pursued post-graduate training in Urology, largely due to the inspirational excellence at Iowa. My clerkship experience in Urology was exciting and memorable.

I ultimately ended up in a career in Emergency Medicine. I suspect the coalition of certain influences was responsible. I did my internship in Grand Rapids, Michigan, fully intending to return to Iowa and do a Urology residency. Sadly, Dr. Flocks passed away during my internship year. Emergency Medicine, in the early 70’s, was just developing as a bonafide medical specialty and I had the opportunity to work with many of the founding fathers (and mothers) of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Emergency Medicine was a very exciting, challenging specialty and I have no regrets in the career path I took.

I developed an interest in medical education when I was in Michigan because there was a clear need for formal residencies in emergency medicine. In the late 1970’s, I was involved in the development of a new residency program in Grand Rapids. In 1979, I was recruited to the University of Chicago as Residency Program Director. In 1981, I was recruited as Chair of Emergency Medicine at University Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. UF is a large, busy, inner-city teaching hospital that has since come under the corporate Shands HealthCare and the University of Florida Health System.

I’ve served in multiple educational positions over the past 28 years - Program Director, Assistant Dean and Associate Dean for Educational Affairs.

What are some of your outside interests?

My husband (a gynecology oncologist and Dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville Regional Campus) and I both enjoy gardening, spending time with our family, daughters and grandchildren, and reading. I love to travel and have had many thoroughly enjoyable trips with my family.

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

This is probably a philosophy hard-wired into my DNA (having been born and raised in the great Midwest) - work hard, make a deep and consistent commitment to excellence, face challenges head-on, and believe that there are few obstacles that cannot be overcome.

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

The tremendous emphasis on biomedical technology. There is also more emphasis placed on professionalism by the accreditation agencies and university teaching programs. And patient safety – while hardly an original concept, is thankfully having more emphasis placed on this vital component of health care delivery.

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


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