April 17, 2023

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A young physician is honing his skills in family medicine during a residency that brings him to Van Diest Family Health Clinic twice a month.

Dr. Bennett Oden is about halfway through his three-year residency in family medicine. Originally from Oklahoma, Oden received his undergraduate and medical degree there. He’s traveled and studied in other locations, as well, including Germany, Washington, and New York. He said he feels lucky that he’s able to do his residency and to pursue training in rural medicine in Iowa.

“I’m excited to be a part of Iowa and Webster City and to contribute to the community,” Oden said.

Oden said his family is involved in healthcare. His mother and brother are both nurses. That connection and the desire to make the world a better place led him to pursue a career in medicine.

He’s found that working in a rural setting requires a special skill set, according to Oden.

“I think that’s a really fascinating challenge and also a meaningful one, to try to connect with the sense of community that places like Webster City can cultivate,” he said.

Oden explained that following medical school, doctors select their area of specialty and then apply for residencies. He chose a family medicine specialty and said he was lucky to be assigned to posts in Iowa for his residency. For the next 18 months, he will be seeing patients in Webster City every other Monday. The majority of his residency service is with MercyOne in Des Moines. He divides his time between the main hospital and with Primary Health Care, a network of clinics across Polk County.

“Between the two organizations, I work in the hospital and rotate through different clinics, services, and specialties. Throughout all of it, I have continuous experience providing primary care in Des Moines, as well as Webster City,” he said.

Residents work under the supervision of established physicians. At Van Diest Family Health Clinic, Dr. Elise Duwe is Oden’s preceptor.

Oden said he felt family medicine has a unique approach among medical specialties in that it strives to be help patients with a multitude of medical concerns.

“In family medicine, we always meet the patient where they are at,” he said. “It can be anybody, any age, any gender, any problem. That’s a really privileged place to be as a doctor.”

Oden said he has loved getting to know Iowa and has found that people here have been very welcoming and friendly.

The physician said he has no firm plans following his residency but hopes to practice family medicine either in Iowa or back in his home state of Oklahoma, providing a mix of inpatient and outpatient services.

Appointments with Oden can be made by calling the Van Diest Family Health Clinic at 515-832-7800.

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