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Carver College of Medicine honors outstanding graduates with Distinguished Alumni Awards

Date: Friday, May 27, 2016

The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine will recognize five exemplary graduates as Distinguished Alumni for their outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. The 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards will take place Friday, June 10, at 4:00 p.m. in the Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF), as part of Medicine Alumni Reunion Weekend.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1998. It is the highest honor the UI Carver College of Medicine bestows upon its graduates.

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients:


John Hoepner
63BS, 66MD – Ophthalmology

As a clinician, teacher, and academic leader, John Hoepner has devoted his career to the quest to cure diseases that cause blindness. During nearly 30 years as chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, Hoepner worked to establish major initiatives, including co-founding the university’s Center for Vision Research (CVR) in 1997. In his role as administrative director, his tenacious efforts to attract outstanding scientific talent and procure funding have helped to grow CVR into a self-sustaining, nationally recognized vision research group that has made important discoveries on the possible causes of retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.

Albert Mintzer
53BA, 56MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Unwavering dedication to his patients and longstanding service to his profession have been hallmarks of Albert Mintzer’s professional life. Over the course of his 41-year career as an obstetrician-gynecologist in Des Moines, Mintzer delivered thousands of babies while also helping establish new standards in OB-GYN care. He was one of the first physicians in the state to routinely use ultrasound and other emerging tests and procedures that improved women’s health care. He also was an early advocate of prenatal education, natural childbirth methods, and allowing fathers into the delivery room. Mintzer retired from private practice in 2004; for the past decade he has served as a part-time instructor at the OB-GYN clinic at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, working with medical students and residents.


Susan Nayfield
72MS, 74MD – Aging and Geriatric Research

For more than 35 years, Susan Nayfield has achieved distinction as a clinician, researcher, epidemiologist, program director, and administrative leader. At the Medical College of Virginia, Nayfield established her expertise in hematology, oncology, and cancer control and prevention. Nayfield spent 20 years at the National Institutes of Health—including program director of the National Cancer Institute’s Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program and later as chief of the geriatrics branch of the Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology Program at the National Institute on Aging. Since 2010, Nayfield has been a faculty member and chief of the clinical research division in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research at the University of Florida College of Medicine, where she continues to inform and strengthen the field of research on aging-related issues.

Early Career Achievement

Lauren Hughes
09MD – Family Medicine

Lauren Hughes’ commitment to the care of the underserved is evident in the impressive list of activities and leadership positions she has compiled since earning her medical degree. In roles ranging from national president of the American Medical Student Association to her current membership on the board of directors of Family Medicine for America’s Health, she has maintained a national presence in efforts to expand access to high-quality primary care for vulnerable populations. As deputy secretary for health innovation for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, she now develops, coordinates, and leads statewide strategies to improve health and health care delivery for the state’s residents.

Douglas Van Daele
91BSE, 96MD, 97R – Surgery; 99F – Otolaryngology; 03R – Otolaryngology

In nearly three decades associated with the University of Iowa, Douglas Van Daele has emerged as a respected voice in conversations surrounding innovations in health care delivery. His appointments to vice dean for clinical affairs in the UI Carver College of Medicine and executive director of UI Physicians, the state’s largest multispecialty group practice, came as he developed an international reputation in teaching, research, and clinical excellence in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery. He played a crucial role in the institutional transition to electronic health records, enhancing care coordination, and outcomes research across patient populations. As part of the nation’s first class to earn board certification in clinical informatics, he has positioned UI Health Care as a leader in data-driven practice.

Story Source: Benji McElroy, UI Carver College of Medicine, 200 College of Medicine Administration Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Media Contact: Jennifer Brown, UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu