Laura Hesemann, Nephrology Fellow 2011-2015, and family

For Laura Hesemann, MD, the Washington University Division of Nephrology’s training program had “the best combination of clinical and research activities to give a complete education…and offered all of this while in a friendly Midwestern city.”

Hesemann, a graduate of the program in 2015, now works in Columbia, Mo., holding multiple lead­ership positions for MU Health Care, the academic healthcare system for the University of Missouri. It is a home­coming of sorts, returning to Mizzou, as she earned her medical degree and completed her internal medicine and pediatrics residencies at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. She then moved to St. Louis to complete fellowship training in nephrology and pediatric nephrology and enroll in the Mentored Training Program in Clinical Investigation (MTPCI) as a research scholar at Washington University School of Medicine.

Related to her nephrology train­ing, Hesemann notes, “There is no substitute for volume when it comes to practical education. While the large clinical loads seemed daunting, the number and breadth of patients and pathologies provided wonderful train­ing while I was in St. Louis.”

What she remembers most about her fellowship and the MTPCI program were her faculty mentors. “The thing I remember most is the sense of respect and commitment,” she says. “The faculty all were focused on fellows’ education and were committed to teaching. They were tough, with high expectations, but always respectful.”

She worked hard to gain her mentors’ respect and recalls “celebrating” with a co-fellow in the clinic after working with professor David Windus, MD, HS, who has been the recipient of sev­eral Distinguished Service Teaching Awards from the university’s medical students. Says Hesemann with a laugh, “With his firm de­meanor and rare congratulations, anytime Dr. Windus muttered a ‘good job’ or ‘that’s smart,’ we would high-five each other — to which he would just shake his head!”

Near the end of her fellowship, Hesemann told faculty member Daniel Coyne, MD, how much she appreciated his positive evaluation because she really respected his teaching and expertise. “His reply, perfectly in keeping with all that he is, was ‘Of course you function at the level of a well-trained attending. I trained you.’ He smirked and walked away. I still smile about that!”

Laura with two of her daughters and one of their many chickens

Hesemann, who now also serves as MU School of Medicine’s Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Child Health, Vice Chief of Staff and Chair of the Peer Review Committee in addition to her clinical leadership roles, says she is drawn to building programs designed to enhance patient care. “Creating an independent pe­diatric dialysis program as well as a plasma­pheresis program that serves all MU Health Care facilities has increased patient access to these services and improved the quality and efficiency of care. Direct patient care remains my first love, but working to build teams and programs that will positively impact more patients than I ever could reach is truly fulfilling.”

As for fun, she and her husband, Nathan (an ophthalmologist who has a private practice and is Chief of Eye Ser­vices at Harry S. Truman VA Hospital in Columbia), have three daughters and a menagerie. “We have a dog, 12 chickens and several hundred goldfish,” she says. “And yes, there are frequent and dra­matic pleas from the children (and my husband!) for cattle and horses. There’s never a dull moment!”

Laura’s leadership positions at MU Health Care:

  • Vice Chief of Staff
  • Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Department of Child Health
  • Clinical Director, Plasmapheresis ServiceDivision Director of Pediatric Nephrology, &Medical Director of Acute DialysisMU Health Care