Link: University of Iowa

Information About

Alumni Interview

C.J. Rater, M.D.


(61MD, 69R-Radiology)

What is your hometown?

Ottumwa, Iowa

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

I became interested in medicine at the age of nine or ten.

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

My uncle, who was a physician, influenced me and I believe led to my interest in medicine.

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

Graduating medical school and completing my residency program at Iowa are definitely highlights.  I am also a Fellow in American College of Radiology and completed my Masters of Science in Management in 1994 at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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

I am an Iowa native, and applied to Iowa for medical school as a state resident.

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

The University of Iowa gave me an excellent experience and excellent training.  In retrospect, my experiences at Iowa were wonderful.

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

A sense of wonder at both the complexity of medicine and the skill of the faculty.

Please describe your professional interests?

I have a strong interest in medical organization and quality of care.

What are some of your outside interests?

I enjoy reading, languages (French), playing golf, travelling and spending time with my family.

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?

My wife and I have taken part in the HOST program, where we host Iowa medical students who are visiting the area during their interviews for residency positions.

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

Above all else, honesty and integrity.

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

Shortly before his death Avis Donabedian (Father of Quality Assurance) said the following about the commercialization of care:

“I have never been convinced that competition by itself will improve the efficiency or the effectiveness of care or even that it will reduce the cost of care.  I think that commercialization is a big mistake.  Health care is a sacred mission.  It is a moral enterprise and a scientific enterprise but not fundamentally a commercial one.  Doctors and nurses are stewards of something precious.  Their work is a kind of vocation rather than simply a job; commercial values don’t really capture what they do for patients and for society as a whole…ultimately, the secret of quality is love.  You have to love your patient, you have to love your profession, you have to love your God.”

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

“The Coming of the Corporation” as described by Paul Starr.

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

I see more industrialization and rapidly advancing science. I also see a continuing struggle over cost and reduction in physician autonomy.


Medicine Alumni Society
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