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Faculty Focus: Tarah Colaizy, MD, MPH

Date: Monday, August 20, 2018

Tarah ColaizyWhat is your hometown?

Osceola, WI, population 5000

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

I have been interested in biology since childhood, and my mother claims I’ve been saying I wanted to be a doctor since I was 5

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 saw Iowa as a place I could get the support and mentorship I needed to develop a successful career in neonatal patient-oriented research.

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

Frank Morriss, who was my first mentor here.

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

I have been working for 10 years to study the safety, health, and nutritional outcomes of very low birthweight infants fed donor human milk, as well as to expand and promote human milk use in this population nationwide.

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

When I was a student, preterm infants were considered to be too early to survive at 24 weeks of pregnancy. Now, infants born at this gestational age here at the University of Iowa have an 86% survival rate.

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

Always closely observe and listen to your patients and their families. Always be kind, I have never wished I had been less understanding in any interpersonal interaction.

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 one of the few remaining humans who enjoys large lecture teaching, I routinely travel the US talking about human milk, nutrition, and breastfeeding in preterm infants.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

I train and compete in the sport of Weightlifting, and recently qualified to compete at the 2018 Masters’ World Games in Barcelona, Spain. My husband and two middle school aged kids and I enjoy outdoor pursuits like hiking and biking together, as well as comic books and science fiction movies.