50 Heroes: Dr. John Bowling

June 1, 2020

Dr. Williams At Town Hall Meeting On Campus 6 13 2016.

John Bowling, DO, could sense if a student was cut out for rural medicine.

The founder of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s nationally recognized Rural Osteopathic Medical Education program evaluated all sorts of factors, such as students’ home town and parental income. But it was often during face-to-face interviews that he trusted his gut on whether students had what it took to practice medicine far from the sprawling medical complexes and countless specialists in the city.

That’s why Dr. Bowling interviewed every potential student personally.

That level of commitment and his willingness to drive all over Texas to create a network of rural physicians – many of them his former students – to volunteer their clinics for student training rotations built the program into an elite success.

“Their generosity and commitment to working with us to develop this program into what it is today is very meaningful to me,” Dr. Bowling said shortly before retirement in 2016. “The many relationships I’ve built here are what I will truly miss the most.”

After 18 years of practicing family medicine and obstetrics in rural Ohio, Dr. Bowling joined TCOM’s Department of Family Medicine in 1988 with the mission of developing a rural family medicine track. In 2006, he oversaw creation of the Rural Scholars Program, an innovative four-year curriculum designed to better prepare students for rural practice.

During his 28 years at TCOM, Dr. Bowling transformed how the medical school trained students to deliver health care in rural and underserved populations. People in rural communities across Texas live healthier, fuller lives under the care of talented TCOM rural medicine graduates.


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Join us throughout 2020 as we celebrate the people, events and innovations that made UNTHSC all it is today — and look ahead to the next 50 years.

For the 50th anniversary, team members nominated people whose contributions make them HSC Heroes. Each week, a new Hero will be revealed.

View the list of all our Hero profiles published so far this year. There is a new one each week.

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