Link: University of Iowa

Information About

Alumni Interview

Portrait: Del Lassen, M.D.

Del Lassen

74BS, 77MD

What is your hometown?

LeMars, Iowa

What is your official title?

I am a faculty physician at the Siouxland Medical Education Foundation in Sioux City, Iowa.

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

I’ve loved all things related to science since I was in grade school. Medicine seemed to be the natural progression of that interest.

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

I had much respect for physicians as a child and the “doctor” TV shows of the 1960’s didn’t hurt either! An older brother had broken the ice by going into veterinary medicine. My interest in medical education was encouraged by Dr. Hiram Curry – one of the fathers of family medicine – during a year I spent at the Medical University of South Carolina. Roger Tracy (67BA, 69MS) and Dr. Loran Parker (43BA, 45MD) then lured me back to Iowa.

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

I have received Teacher of the Year awards at the Medical University of South Carolina Department of Family Medicine in Charleston, South Carolina, from Broadlawns family Practice Residency Program in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Siouxland Medical Education Foundation in Sioux City, Iowa.

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

Too numerous to count! I was blessed with excellent teachers and mentors throughout my medical education at the University of Iowa. What a wonderful place! In more recent years, Dr. Jerry Woodhead (79F-Pediatrics) and Dr. Paul Mulhausen have been excellent leaders and teachers for me.

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

My older brother encouraged me to go to the University of Iowa for my undergraduate and medical school training. I took his advice and found the transition from undergraduate to graduate studies at the University was a smooth and enjoyable process.

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

My medical training prepared me well for residency, private practice and being involved in medical education. The quality of the broad based knowledge obtained at Iowa has opened doors at each professional juncture of my life. The teachers I had and the teaching methods which were modeled have made me a better teacher.

Please describe your professional interests.

My interests are in the education of medical students and residents, and provision of medical care to the aged.

What are some of your outside interests?

Raising children — many of them! Boating, bicycling and golfing for duffers.

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

The ultimate guidance in my work comes from the Bible. Additional philosophies that have served me well are “love your patients and they will love you back” which was told to me by a retiring physician, and also the responsibility I feel to teach and mentor those who follow in the profession.

If you could change one thing about the health care system in the United States, what would it be?

I would like to see a miraculous transformation that would allow us to spend more time with each patient during an office visit.

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

The conversion to total electronic medical records. It’s painful at times, but has some clear advantages.

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

Keep your patients’ well being and comfort foremost in your mind. Understand that the stressors, frustrations and complexity of practicing this noble profession must take second place to that.

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

I see a profession that continues to attract the best and the brightest and a profession that will continue to have its priorities straight. The intelligence and caring attitudes I see in today’s students at Iowa keep me optimistic about the future of our profession. Go Hawks!


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