Faculty Focus: Ginny Ryan, MD

Ginny Ryan
Date: Monday, July 24, 2017

What is your hometown?

I was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada but lived in 9 different homes in Canada and England before I graduated from high school.

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

I enjoyed and was successful in math and science classes in high school and considered engineering or medicine, though I had no frame of reference for medicine with no family members in the field. It was really in college, where my major was "Maternal and Infant Health and Society," that I seriously considered the impact I could make through practicing medicine.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

I completed residency and fellowship here at the University of Iowa and then joined the faculty immediately after fellowship, in 2006.

How or why did you choose to join the faculty at the University of Iowa?

I looked around at other faculty positions across the country but could not find a better place to live or work. The University and the College of Medicine provide a wonderful professional community of dedicated and caring providers, mentors and learners who inspire me every day. The Iowa City community is supportive, engaged, and diverse - it is an excellent place to raise and educate my family.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

Dr. Brad Van Voorhis has been a mentor and teacher for me since residency and I'm delighted that we are now colleagues.

How do you see your faculty role impacting medicine and/or science?

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

The ever increasing need to spend time in front of a screen, fulfilling the many compliance and documentation requirements of our field.

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

Don't give in to the forces pushing disconnectedness in society and in the patient-physician relationship. Unplug and make as many connections as you can with your patients and your community. It is the best antidote to burnout.

In what ways are you engaged in professional activities outside the University

(i.e. population based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/ expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagement off campus, etc.)?

I have been very involved with our local Girls on the Run organization as well as with a non-profit that partners with rural communities in Haiti (Community Health Initiative, Haiti). I take part in the SSTP program run by the Belin-Blank Center every summer (partnering gifted high school students with labs at the University of Iowa) and speak with local junior high and high schools, professional organizations, and Girl Scout troops about adolescent health and STEM education. I have recently begun a 2 year position as Chair of the Committee on Ethics of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. I also work at the Iowa City VA providing subspecialty women's health care and investigating the impact of sexual assault and military-related trauma on reproductive health.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

I am a runner, yogi and a lapsed triathlete and rock climber with 4 kids in elementary school. Thus the lapses!

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