Faculty Spotlight: Rodney Bates, DO

Dr. Rodney Bates has extensive clinical experience as an Internal Medicine and Hospitalist specialist for over 12 years. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and a fellow of the Osteopathic Association of Osteopathic Internists.    Dr. Bates was born and raised from the rural seeds of Idaho in the small town of Murtaugh near Twin Falls. He attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he completed premedical studies and obtained an undergraduate degree in business management. He then attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri, followed by a Michigan State internship and residency program at Botsford General Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.    After completing residency training he established a successful Internal Medicine and later Hospitalist practice serving the people of Rexburg and Idaho Falls, prior to relocating his family to Meridian. Dr. Bates has trained many medical students and allied healthcare students since practicing in Idaho. He has had multiple associations with aspiring premedical students and hopes his teaching and counseling have somehow helped shape their desires for medical service in a caring and professional manner.    Dr. Bates has served in various capacities professionally. He was Chief of Staff at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho, from 2007-2009, and director of the Madison Hospitalist program from 2014-2017. He and his wonderful wife, MJ, and their eight children now live in Meridian.

Dr. Rodney Bates has extensive clinical experience as an Internal Medicine and Hospitalist specialist for over 12 years. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and a fellow of the Osteopathic Association of Osteopathic Internists.

Dr. Bates was born and raised from the rural seeds of Idaho in the small town of Murtaugh near Twin Falls. He attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he completed premedical studies and obtained an undergraduate degree in business management. He then attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri, followed by a Michigan State internship and residency program at Botsford General Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

After completing residency training he established a successful Internal Medicine and later Hospitalist practice serving the people of Rexburg and Idaho Falls, prior to relocating his family to Meridian. Dr. Bates has trained many medical students and allied healthcare students since practicing in Idaho. He has had multiple associations with aspiring premedical students and hopes his teaching and counseling have somehow helped shape their desires for medical service in a caring and professional manner.

Dr. Bates has served in various capacities professionally. He was Chief of Staff at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho, from 2007-2009, and director of the Madison Hospitalist program from 2014-2017. He and his wonderful wife, MJ, and their eight children now live in Meridian.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine?

A: My initial interest in becoming a doctor was planted in me as a very young child while embraced in the arms of my adorable grandmother, Ruby. At the time, I was living in my childhood rural Idaho home seated on Ruby’s lap on a very comfy couch. In fact, I can still sense the sweetness of her perfume. She held each of my hands and fingers pulling them closer into her view in a deliberate manner. This engraved an emotional memory of self-discovery when she then spoke the indelible words to me, “you have doctor hands!”

It really started as simple as that! However, as I developed through my years of grade school, junior high, then high school, and working full-time from the ages of 13-19 during the summers for a local farmer, I began to lose that sense with a realization that I just was not meant to become something so seemingly lofty as a doctor and should just consign myself to another service trade such as becoming a barber that was a much more attainable goal at the time, and something I held in high esteem. I just did not have the educated exposures that I needed in this small town to mentor me and help encourage this initial interest that began at such a young age during that intimate moment with a grandmother.

Subsequent events then began to change me dramatically after pursuing secondary education, serving a mission, and meeting another remarkable woman, my wife. I then had the opportunity to shadow her father who was a pathologist in Twin Falls, Idaho. What eye-opening experiences then developed to help resurrect the childhood desire to peruse my grandmother’s prophetic pronouncement, “you have doctor hands!”

Q: How did you transition into academia, and what inspired you to work for ICOM?

A: At the time I heard the news Idaho was seeking to bring an osteopathic medical school into the state, I was heavily involved in assisting newly developed Internal Medicine Hospitalist programs blossom in Rexburg and Idaho Falls. I wholeheartedly supported this Idaho medical school idea, and on a local level had already been assisting in the training of medical students from various schools in their third and fourth year Internal Medicine rotations in a hospital setting and previous private clinical setting. I enjoyed these interactions and the feedback I received from these students was remarkable to know that I had somehow helped them progress in their training and experiences.

ICOM was then announced and came to my attention through social media platforms, and with further research, I found that the new Dean chosen to lead this great development was someone who I extolled as a significant leader in the world of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI). I then met with Dr. Robert Hasty at a national ACOI conference and he shared some information with me that again perked my interest in supporting the cause of ICOM and serving medical students even more! 

Q: What is your favorite memory from your time at medical school?

A: As funny as it may seem, I have fond memories of hours spent studying something new and having the proverbial “light turn on” and making connections of understanding that is so crucial as a young student. I can recall a moment when I was seated at a cubicle for eight hours, without a break, in a study area at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine that we termed the “dungeon.” This was a basement with no windows, concrete painted walls, and about 1,200 feet of space, but there were several well-known students to me who frequented this study space and we became good friends. Could I do that again? I am not certain I would have the stamina!

Q: Knowing what you now know, what advice would you give yourself as a first-year medical student?

A: I would recommend improvements in my study habits of making more connections with the material by developing my own list of questions related to the material that I thought may be most important. I had some moments when I was able to practice this study technique, but did not fully trust in this method and wish I would have. I often wonder if I could go back and revisit some of those concepts that I have now seen in clinical practice... oh wait, I am doing this now as a faculty member at ICOM! 

I would also seek out more personal connection with those who have been through the experience such as upper classmates or seasoned faculty who at the time I did not want to “bother” because of the belief that they would just think I am “stupid.” I now realize there is no such thing as “stupid,” just less informed.