Medical School Alumnus Cherishes Duluth Campus Experience

A few weeks into Dan Soular’s, MD, medical school career, Sept. 11, 2001, took place. 

“I still remember the chaos and misinformation in those first few hours. Then, I huddled around the television with my classmates all day and into the night,” he said.

With nearly two decades between then and now, this memory still stands out and has motivated Dr. Dan Soular, who graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2005, to consider not only the patient care of family medicine but also the administrative side as well. As a practicing physician in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Dr. Soular also serves as the vice president of medical affairs at the Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital.

“I like being involved in formulating our vision and strategy moving forward,” he said. “I like learning the business side of healthcare and interacting with non-clinical colleagues.” 

These non-clinical peers include professionals in finance, human relations and the technology sector of the medical profession. For the most part, every day is different, and giving back to his community is paramount. As with most careers, there are challenges. 

“Oftentimes, seeing the patients is the easiest part of the job. However, it gets lost in the non-clinical requirements that continue to increase for physicians,” Dr. Soular said.

For students aspiring to reach the physician status, he recommends getting involved in the community once they begin treating patients. “See what patients experience in their lives outside the walls of your clinic. Market yourself to the types of patients you would like to see,” he added. 

In order to live his advice, Dr. Soular incorporates his love for musculoskeletal medicine by volunteering at a local high school and community college. The athletic program leaders seek his advice and expertise on the sideline during the coverage of events.

When considering his career, Dr. Soular looks back to when he graduated from Mesabi East High School in Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. At the time, his personal family physician was also a graduate of the Medical School, Duluth Campus. 

“Our doctor introduced me to the possibility of medical school when I shadowed him while still in high school and again as an undergraduate at Hamline University,” he said. 

When Dr. Soular describes why the Duluth Campus was attractive as a school option, the small class size matched his prior experiences and felt like the perfect fit. “Medical school was challenging, but the community was amazing. I enjoyed the fierce battles that took place over lunch hour on the basketball court with our class. We had a large group participate with a wide range of skills, including guys who played collegiately as well as hockey players who never played competitive basketball. We also had an intramural hockey team, getting second place one year. Not bad for a bunch of old guys playing against 18-22 year olds,” he joked.

While patient care and collaborating with colleagues fills his days, he also trains for marathons, plays golf and spends time in the great outdoors. As an avid Minnesota sports fan, he has a great affinity for athletics in the land of 10,000 lakes. He also has profound admiration for Bo Jackson, an Atlanta-born professional athlete who is one of the few who has earned an All-Star status in both football and baseball. 

“Bo Jackson had a humble upbringing,” Dr. Soular said. “Through hard work and dedication, he made himself into the greatest all-around athlete our generation has seen. I have such respect for Bo. We even named our son after him, and growing up admiring someone like Bo, he inspired me to work hard and that anything is possible.”

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