Jo Ann Benda

Honored by:Charles E. Platz
Brick location:D:26  map

Jo Ann Benda-daughter wife, best friend, physician, singer, flower, gardener, and warm, compassionate, human being. Born July 18, 1949 to Frankie and Arnold Benda, she spent her first 18 years in Brooklyn, Iowa, graduating valedictorian of her high school class in 1967. She participated in six-girl basketball, track, and multiple musical activities with a talented soprano voice. She was also involved in Camp Fire Girls and attended Camp Hantesa in Boone, Iowa where she took counselor training. Both her mother's strong belief and encouragement and the philosophy she experienced at camp led her to believe that women could choose whatever life work to which they aspired.

Four happy years at Iowa State University were spent leading to a BS. degree in zoology. Extra-curricular activities included work (these years were self- and loan-supported), secretary of the Union Drive Association, participation in Iowa State Oratorio Chorus (including the opening of C. Y. Stephens Auditorium with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra), joining a folk singing group, and leading the singing for masses at St. Thomas Aquinas church. She graduated with honors in 1971 and was elected to Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Medical school at the University of Iowa followed with graduation in 1975, again accompanied by honors and election to Alpha Omega Alpha (the national medical honor society). Having initially decided to train in Obstetrics and Gynecology, she completed four years of residency at the University of Iowa and was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In the course of her training, however, she became especially interested in the pathophysiology of disease processes . This interest resulted in a second residency in Pathology at the University of Iowa, ultimately leading to certification by the American Board of Pathology. She has since remained on the faculty at the University of Iowa in Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology and is currently (1995) an Associate Professor in both departments of the College of Medicine.
She is recognized as an outstanding teacher. Her research interests center on the pathology of the female genital tract, especially tumors and the effects of endogenous and exogenous hormones on the endometrium.
While Dr. Benda is not known as an outspoken activist, she has pressed in her own quiet way for equity and integrity, not only in the treatment of female students residents and faculty, but for male members of the faculty as well. She served for 6 years on the Admissions Committee of the College of Medicine and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the College. In 1988 she married Charles E. Platz, also a faculty member in pathology. Her hobbies include participation in Chamber Singers of Iowa City, T'ai Chi, wildflower photography, and flower gardening. 2/1/95