Wendy Shen, MD, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
What is your hometown?
When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?
How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?
Both my parents are physicists. Under their influence, I always liked science, especially the logical and meticulous thought process in physics and mathematics. In high school, I was exposed to biology and chemistry. I was fascinated and amazed that one could apply the same process from numbers and forces, etc., to something more tangible. After that, pursuing medicine seemed a very natural step to take.
What interested you to pursue a career in Family Medicine?
In Family Medicine as a clinician, I felt I could truly make a difference in people’s lives.
Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?
There are many people who have influenced my life and helped me to achieve this level of success in my career.
Among them: my parents are the ones who gave me the key to the world, and my PhD advisor, Dr. James Fuchs at the University of Minnesota, who gave me the ability to see medicine from a different perspective.
How or why did you choose the University of Iowa?
University of Iowa is one of the best medical schools for Primary Care.
It has provided me with the opportunity to work with some of the greatest family physicians, and to be involved in the training of the finest future primary care physicians.
The University of Iowa’s faculty members are united to provide exceptional patient care while advancing innovations in research and medical education. How does your work help translate new discoveries into patient-centered care and education?
The Department of Family Medicine is committed to improving the health of patients, families, and communities by being a leader in the discovery, development, and dissemination of new knowledge and innovative clinical teaching models.
I am thrilled to be part of this resolute team.
What kinds of professional opportunities or advantages does being a faculty member at an academic medical center provide?
I am able to work with some of the finest primary care physicians and specialists. It also provides me great opportunity to work with learners regularly, as teaching is also one of my major professional interests.
Please describe your professional interests.
Like any family physician, I provide care to patients of all ages. My special interests, though, are in pediatrics, women’s health, alternative medicine, obstetrics, and office procedures.
I like teaching residents and medical students. I am especially interested in exploring effective and efficient approaches in the provision of comprehensive care.
What led to your interest in Family Medicine?
Family medicine is the only specialty that provides continuity and comprehensive care to people of all ages. Being a family physician, we have to be proactive in disease prevention and treatment.
We provide special care to each patient as an individual, as well as in the context of the family and the community.
How does working in a collaborative and comprehensive academic medical center benefit your work?
It is the collaborative relationships and stimulating conversations among colleagues that help me to provide up-to-date, comprehensive care to my patients.
What are some of your outside interests?
Reading (mostly fiction and history), cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?
The silent treasuring up of knowledge; learning without satiety; and instructing others without being wearied (Confucius).
If you could change one thing about the world (or the world of medicine), what would it be?
Affordable health care for everyone.
What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?
Along with new diagnostic tools, there is the Electronic Medical Record, and the fact that we are spending so much more time on documentation.
What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?
“Whenever I travel along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them.” (Confucius)
What do you see as "the future" of medicine?
Disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment on a molecular biology level.
In what ways are you engaged with the greater Iowa public (i.e., population-based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagements off campus, etc.)?
I provide job shadowing to college students, exposing them to primary care.
I am active in teaching the annual life support skills in obstetrics to family practice residents in the state of Iowa.