Alan Hilgerson, D.O.’98, is a doctor, educator, husband, father and avid car lover. He found his way into medicine through his mother, a nurse in northeast Iowa who often took him to work with her. Hilgerson watched the doctors his mother worked with, many of whom were alumni of Des Moines University (DMU). He said he always knew he wanted to be in medicine; he even shows his students a picture of himself when he was a kid dressed up as a doctor for Halloween. Hilgerson added it was an obvious choice for him to attend DMU. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa, attended DMU and graduated in 1998 and did his residency in internal medicine from 1998 to 2001.
Hilgerson now works in internal medicine at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines. He also spends much of his time teaching at DMU. He credits Gary Hoff, D.O., associate professor of behavioral medicine, for introducing him to teaching and sparking his passion for educating others. Hilgerson finds a lot of enjoyment in teaching students and helping build their skills and compassion. He is very proud of his teaching and the many students with whom he still keeps in contact. Some of his favorite memories of DMU are teaching in the University’s Iowa Simulation Center, where he believes students gain a type of training that prepares them for a real environment as they learn how to deal with stress and talk the medical lingo.
Hilgerson also believes that those trying to get into the medical profession have to work harder than ever, because doing so is very competitive and the students who are getting in are top-notch. His advice to students is to get as much experience as possible through service trips, university clubs, research and shadowing and volunteering activities.
Although Hilgerson is very busy with his practice and teaching, he still finds time to be with his family. He is a coach for his son’s soccer team and tries to volunteer as much as possible. Although he says he doesn’t have as much time as he used to, he loves to read and be outside. His favorite hobby is attending car shows; he has started his own collecting but says he still does a lot of car dreaming.