Faculty Focus: Ken Nepple, MD

Date: Monday, December 18, 2017

What is your hometown?

Templeton, Iowa (pop. 360)

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

I have always been interested in science, which morphed into an interest in medicine during college. My interest in surgery developed during medical school based on wanting to use my hands, focus on attention to detail, and directly impact patients.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?


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

I decided toward the end of urology residency that I wanted to come back to Iowa after urologic oncology fellowship. The department, the hospital, the college, and the people of Iowa are very important to me.

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

Dr. Williams, the former Chair of Urology for 25 years, was a mentor personally and professionally. He taught me to be demanding of myself and to advocate for what you think is right for your patient.

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

Taking care of one patient at a time, but while also trying to fix problems that impact healthcare delivery for many patients. I also value the role of trying to impact how students and residents approach the way they deliver patient care.

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

Technology. Technology is just starting to catch up to the needs of medicine. I do things on a regular basis that I would have thought were science fiction as a student.

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

Don’t settle for one piece of advice.

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 regularly get the opportunity to interact on the national level with thought leaders in urology, robotic surgery, oncology, informatics, and malnutrition care. I’m appreciative of the support system at Iowa that allows those contributions while still prioritizing the patient.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Spending time with family and watching our three kids grow up, kid’s activities including sports and drama, taking care of the yard including our mini-baseball field, overuse of technology.