Link: University of Iowa

Information About

Alumni Interview

Norman K. Rinderknecht M.D.


58MD, 65R OB/Gyn

What is your hometown?

My hometown is Atkins, Iowa, a small town in Benton County just west of Cedar Rapids.

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

After graduating in a class of 12 from Atkins High School, I was somewhat intimidated and undecided during my first year at the University of Iowa. I soon began to realize that I enjoyed the sciences and being with people, and I hoped in some way to combine these choices into a career that would allow me to enjoy the profession and also contribute to others in a meaningful way. While I really didn't know many physicians, I had great respect for the few that I had been acquainted with and I had great respect for the medical profession.

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

After embarking on the rigors of a pre-med curriculum and the first few medical school years, I combined my early training and my personal interaction with fellow students, faculty and patients to steer me toward choosing Obstetrics and Gynecology as my ultimate career choice.

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

After graduating from medical school in 1958 and spending a few years in the Army Medical Corps, I returned to Iowa City in1962 to start my Ob-Gyn residency.  Dr. William Keettel was the Professor and Head of Ob-Gyn at that time and he was a great influence in shaping my professional career. His personal character, his medical knowledge and his teaching ability shall always be remembered and appreciated. My family and I then moved on to Des Moines in 1965 where I joined a very busy private practice and was in that practice until my retirement in 1998.

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

Having grown up less than 50 miles from Iowa City and going to Iowa City on many occasions to visit relatives attending the University of Iowa, I really gave little thought to going anywhere else after my high school graduation in 1951.

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

While in practice for 35 years I had the opportunity to work closely with most all of the University of Iowa Ob-Gyn residents as they went through their Des Moines rotation at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.  My medical staff activities in Des Moines also included serving as Chief of Ob-Gyn, the President of the Medical Staff and I was on multiple committees. I was also very much involved with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). I was the Iowa Section Chair, District VI Chairman, and a member of the ACOG Executive Board.  I chaired the ACOG Council of District Chairmen and in 1996 received the Outstanding District Service Award from ACOG.

In 1994, I was very pleased that the University of Iowa College of Medicine nominated me to represent the College on the University of Iowa Alumni Association Board of Directors. For six years this allowed me the opportunity to become reacquainted with the College of Medicine and to meet the Alumni Association staff and the many other Board members and fellow alumni from around the country.

What are some of your outside interests?

My interests outside of medicine have centered around family. My wife Eloise and I have three children and seven grandchildren. Two families live here in Iowa and one family lives in Atlanta. We enjoy frequent visits to their homes and we have traveled extensively both in this country and in Europe. We have Hawkeye basketball and football season tickets and have attended most of these games for many years. When we are at home, I enjoy reading and frequent trips to the golf course as the Iowa weather allows. I have also been very much involved in my church over the years.

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

My philosophy, both personal and professional, has always centered on faith, family and friends.

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

It is really a challenge to list the "biggest" changes in medicine since I was a student.  People haven't changed but the tools and technology have brought about many advances. Those most affecting Ob-Gyn of course come to my mind and these are ultrasound, fetal monitoring, laparoscopy, robotic surgery and the many advances in assisted reproduction. A change that is unwelcome is the very real threat of malpractice suits for most any bad result.

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

My advice to today's medical students is to:

What do you see as “the future” of medicine?

I see the future of medicine as very bright as long as physicians are willing to adapt to change and take a decisive role in bringing about change which is affordable and keeps our country in the position of providing the best medical care in the world.


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