Faculty Focus: Stephanie Chen, MD

Date: Monday, March 2, 2020

Stephanie Chen, portraitWhat is your hometown?

Bellevue, Iowa

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

On Saturdays, after dance class, I used to wait in the lounge at the clinical laboratory where my mom worked in the lab and as a phlebotomist. On multiple occasions, I was allowed to see interesting tidbits related to laboratory medicine. The pathologists showed me what a microscope was and what patients' tissue looks like under the microscope. From that point on, my parents (especially my mom) encouraged me be inquisitive and to use the resources around me to learn as much as possible about science and the way the world works.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

In the Fall of 2017.

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

As an Iowa native from a small town, I always wanted to return home. I'm very fortunate that we have such an outstanding hospital and college of medicine here at the University of Iowa, and that my colleagues in the Department of Pathology are so wonderful to work with. I'm proud of the level of care we provide our patients.

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

Many important mentors helped shape my career, so narrowing it down is incredibly difficult. Gerald Eagleson at Loras College helped solidify my understanding of the scientific method and taught me I was capable of more than I realized. During medical school here at the University of Iowa, Ginny Woodard, Jane Rowat and Peter Densen were constant sources of support, guidance and mentorship. I learned, and continue to learn, so much from each of them about work-life balance and being an educator.  During residency, Scott Owens at the University of Michigan taught me that my passion for quality improvement and patient safety is valuable. Bob Robinson, Leslie Bruch and Megan Samuelson have served as invaluable mentors as I learn how to navigate my relatively new role as a faculty member in the Department of Pathology.

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

I think the biggest impacts I'll have on medicine and science will be those I can make by trainee education. This includes education related to both the science of medicine and to education about continued process improvement and focus on patient safety. These areas can exponentially impact medicine.

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

Although patient safety and quality improvement have always been important in clinical pathology, I think they (appropriately) continue to become more prominent in our field.

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

Always be willing to keep an open mind. If you are willing to think outside the box, you might just be surprised what you can accomplish.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Spending time with my husband and kids, spending time with our extended families, harmonizing with my husband, playing piano, boating on the Mississippi, bicycling and listening to live music.

Learn more about Stephanie Chen, MD