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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Carol Scott-Conner, M.D.

Picture of Carol Scott-Conner
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Carol Scott-Conner, M.D.

“Surgery is a wonderful way to help people directly. You have an immediate impact. It combines knowledge of the human body with the art of using your hands and mind to help another person.”


James A. Leach



As an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carol Scott-Conner studied electrical engineering and was drawn to the workings of the human brain-feeling it emulated a computer. Still fascinated by the human nervous system when she graduated from medical school, she leaned toward becoming a neurologist.

"But then one of those freak things happened," she recalled. "My first husband, Chris Scott, died from a massive stroke; we were just over four years into our marriage. After that, I didn't want to go on studying the human brain, but I was still drawn to medicine. I found surgery, and it was deeply satisfying."

Thanks to this fateful discovery, Scott-Conner went on to become a surgeon and over the course of a remarkable career has become an eminent teacher and writer on the topic. As Professor and Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, as well as a staff surgeon at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, she does surgery, teaches and mentors students. "I am a practicing academic surgeon; a surgeon who teaches others how to become a surgeon," she says.

Nominated by Rep. James A. Leach (R-IA-2) to be a Local Legend, Scott-Conner is an author whose work and writings have had wide impact on surgical patients and students alike. To date, she has five medical texts to her credit, the first of which, Operative Anatomy, has recently been reprinted. They are among her proudest accomplishments, "written for students of surgery at all levels from medical student through practitioner and emphasize surgical anatomy and careful surgical technique." She avers, "The books live on beyond what you do. Others know you through your writings."

Born in Towanda, Pennsylvania, she was inspired to become a doctor when she was eight years old by her family doctor, "the kind, caring GP families trusted and relied upon in those days," she recalls. After receiving her BS in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1969, and her MD from New York University School of Medicine in 1976, she remained at New York University to complete a five year general surgical residency. She also has a PhD in anatomy from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and an MBA from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She is the recipient of dozens of awards and, in addition to her medical textbooks, is the author or co-author of 125 papers and 72 abstracts. Scott-Conner is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Surgery and has a Certification of Added Qualifications in Surgical Critical Care.



Appointed Teaching Assistant, Surgery, New York University School of Medicine


Appointed Professor, Surgery, University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson


Authors first medical text-Operative Anatomy


Appointed Professor and Head of Department of Surgery, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa




New York University School of Medicine



Sub Specialty

Medical Education