By Steve Woodhouse Editor
The Journal Express
---- — Knoxville’s Dr. Brent Hoehns was recently elected president of the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians.
Hoehns has been with the organization since the late 1990s. Those who enter the medical field typically become members when they begin their residencies. Hoehns has been more active in the organization in recent years and has served on its board of directors. He has made his way up through the ranks of the board to become president.
Like any other professional organization, the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians provides the opportunity for those working in the field to share with those interested in learning more. Through his work with the organization, Hoehns earns 13 hours of continuing education credits each year.
One of his roles with the organization is also to lobby legislators on behalf of family physicians. Finding more students to go into the practice of family medicine is a shared goal.
The average student who attends school, medical school and goes through a residency in Iowa will enter the field with a debt of $168,000. That’s less than the $250,000 debt one-third of all doctors in the nation graduate with, but it is still a burden.
Doctors who specialize are paid more than family, general practice physicians. Hoehns and his organization successfully lobbied the legislature for a $2 million fund to help ease the burden on Iowa-trained doctors who agree to stay in Iowa to practice medicine in the hopes of keeping doctors in rural areas. Doctors can earn up to $200,000 in student loan assistance through the program. The organization will push for funding of this program in the 2014 legislative session.
Though he will have a larger role with his professional organization this year, Hoehns said it will not interfere with his duties at the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics.
Hoehns has traditionally used his vacation time to work with the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians and he will continue to do so.