Faculty Focus: Jason Wilbur, MD

Date: Monday, August 20, 2018

Jason Wilbur, MDWhat is your hometown?

St. Louis, Missouri

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

I became interested in medicine as a high school student and that interest grew in college when I worked as a volunteer in a free clinic and spent time as an observer in clinics, operating rooms and the local ER. When I worked with a family physician for the first time as a third-year student in medical school, I knew where I wanted my career to go.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

I’ve been a faculty member since July 2003.

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

I wanted to share my passion for family medicine and especially the care of older patients with medical students and young doctors. I’ve completed fellowship training in geriatric medicine and I see that there is a gap in what we know about caring for older patients and the care that our health system actually provides. We can make a huge difference in the quality of life of our growing elderly population by teaching principles of geriatric medicine to providers in all areas of health care.

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

I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my career: Dr. Jerry Jogerst has fed my interest in geriatric medicine, Dr. Mark Graber has been an indispensable teacher and collaborator for several books we have written together, and Dr. Paul James helped me to develop leadership skills.

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

I hope that I have imbued dozens of currently practicing physicians with a determination to do what is right by their patients and to apply principles of geriatric medicine to the care of older patients.

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

So much has changed, it is hard to pick one thing. The entire delivery of medical care for older patients changed with the passing of Medicare drug coverage and the “modernization” of Medicare. There are so many new medications since I graduate medical school in 1999 that I have to work to keep up. I remember being told that “half of what you learn in medical school will be wrong in 10 years”. While that may be an exaggeration, there have been huge changes in medical knowledge.

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

Follow your passion.

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 am the editor for the Iowa Family Physician, a journal of the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians. I also have edited 4 editions of a board review book. I’ve traveled to Indonesia 4 times to help develop family medicine education programs with Gadjah Mada University.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

I love spending time with my brilliant and beautiful wife and my 2 teenage sons. Together, we enjoy traveling, hiking and spending time outdoors.