Perseverance pays off

The Messenger family: Caden, Andy, Mya, Avery and Dana.
The Messenger family: Caden, Andy, Mya, Avery and Dana.

Dana Jacob Messenger, D.O.’04, knew she wanted to be a doctor since elementary school, when her mother, Joan Jacob, found her dissecting a grasshopper with a box cutter. She and her husband, Andy, also knew they wanted to have children. Perseverance made both goals possible.

Messenger says a rotation in obstetrics and gynecology showed her the field offered the “perfect mix of the excitement of delivering babies to the next day seeing an older patient with whom you’ve developed a relationship.” She set her sights on the four-year ob/gyn. residency program at the University of Iowa. The challenge: No D.O. had been accepted into the program before.

“I knew several physicians who’d gone through the program and was impressed by them,” she says. “But it wasn’t the easiest road.”

While striving to overcome any misconceptions about D.O.s among her M.D. colleagues, Messenger – who’d struggled to become pregnant – gave birth to her first daughter, Mya, 10 weeks before her due date. She credits her ability to survive “that drama” to her and Andy’s supportive families nearby, the preparation she gained at DMU and her own will power.

“Let it be an inspiration to all that you can have it all if you stay at it,” she says.

Messenger hopes to share that inspiration as a new DMU alumni mentor for current students. She’s happy that since she completed her residency, two more D.O.s entered the program. Now the mother of three – with Mya, now five, Caden, three, and Avery, two months – she was thrilled in March to be named a partner at OB-GYN Associates, P.C., in Cedar Rapids, IA, where she’d practiced for two years.

“I’m so thankful for my training and opportunity that DMU gave me,” she says. “I love my career. The group has welcomed me with open arms, and it’s so much fun taking care of these awesome women.”

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