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Faculty Focus: Wayne Bowers, PhD

Date: Friday, January 17, 2020

Wayne BowersWhat is your hometown?

Appleton, Wisconsin

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

I became interested in psychological problems when I was 19 and was involved in a Crisis Intervention Hotline while in College. As part of the program I received 40-hour counselor training that increased my awareness of my interest in helping others.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

I became a member of the Department of Psychiatry as an adjunct assistant professor in 1988 and an assistant professor in 1991.

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

I had been a non-faulty psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry since 1976. After a fellowship in cognitive therapy at the University of Pennsylvania and work with eating disorders while in the Department of Psychiatry my skill set fit what our new Departmental Chair (Dr. Robert Robinson) needed to expand clinical and research in those areas.

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

Three people come to mind. During undergraduate work a professor (Robert G. Lane, Ph. D.) encouraged my interest in using psychotherapy as a means to assist others past difficult situations.  Brian Shaw, PhD, from the University of Toronto was instrumental in shaping my interest in research especially the use of cognitive therapy with depressed inpatients. Aaron T. Beck who was a mentor during my fellowship trained me in the use of cognitive therapy with depressed individuals while fostering an interest in research and encouraging me to adapt this therapeutic approach to inpatient settings and with individuals who had developed an eating disorder.

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

My role as a teacher and clinician has helped move the use of cognitive therapy to an inpatient setting and aided others to expand the use of cognitive therapy on an individual basis with anorexia nervosa.

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

The biggest change in research has been the increase in the power of statistical methods. This has allowed more sophisticated understanding of the human condition.

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

Learn to be adaptive to the stress of being in a helping profession.

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 involved in Academy for Eating Disorders which is an international organization with the goal of understanding, treating and reducing the impact of this disorder. I have been in a leadership position and various parts of this organization with a primary focus most recently in the training of future professionals.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Music (Play guitar). I love to read (history and mystery) and I love old movies (film Noir). I have been involved with the breeding, showing and training of Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and Broholmers (aka Danish Mastiff).

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