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Dad, Daughter Doctor Duo Working at Indianola's Iowa Clinic

The Iowa Clinic's Indianola location now features two Dr. Lehrs.

Des Moines Register | Paige Godden

Photo of Dr. Megan Lehr and Dr. Jerry LehrOne summer day many years ago Dr. Jerry Lehr's daughter walked into the Indianola clinic with a towel covering a deep gash near her right eye after she fell at the pool.

He told his daughter, Megan Lehr, the blue drape he was about to cover her face with as he stitched up her eye was like the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster.

"No it's not!" she screamed at him.

More than 20 years later, Megan Lehr said it was probably the first time she realized her dad was a doctor.

She doesn't know whether that day in particular had a big impact on how she chose her career, but one way or another, Megan Lehr followed in her dad's footsteps. After graduating from Indianola High School in 2006, Megan Lehr attended Central College and then studied medicine at her dad's alma mater, Des Moines University. 

The two graduated as doctors of osteopathic medicine three decades apart.

Their experiences, they said, were a little different.

"When I look back at how medicine was practiced in the '70s versus where it is now, you'd be thrown in jail," Jerry Lehr said. "It has changed a lot. It's amazing.

Their experiences in medical school differ, too.

Megan Lehr said she had hour restrictions during her residency at St. Vincent Family medicine in Indianapolis, while Jerry Lehr did not when he fulfilled his residency at the University of Kansas.

She explained residents could only work a monthly average that equaled 80 hours per week. 

"You could work 96 hours one week but then 72 the next week and it would be OK," Megan Lehr said. "But [dad] did more. He always told me you don't know how good you had it."

Despite a bit of teasing, the two said they work well together. Well enough, anyway, to literally work together.

Megan Lehr began working last week with her father at the Iowa Clinic in Indianola, where he's been practicing since it opened four years ago. 

The two have a punch relationship, still, as Megan Lehr said she's nervous something might be waiting for her on her chair or when she open drawers at the office.

She joked she's a lot like her dad, and patients can come see her for the same care, but without the bad jokes or strange handshakes.

"It'll be great, and you won't have to deal with that," she said.

Despite, the teasing, Jerry Lehr is adamant his daughter will bring a lot to the clinic.

"She's sharp and intelligent," Jerry Lehr said about his daughter. "She fits well here and it' fun to hang around with her."

While the two have a close relationship, Megan Lehr said her father never really pushed her to enter medicine, and Jerry Lehr said he encouraged all four of his kids to figure out what they wanted to do on their own.

It was a love of science and fixing things, Megan Lehr said, that led her into the medical field.

"I kind of grew up in the clinic with my dad being there so it just kind of felt like home, and people came to our house to be treated, too," Megan Lehr said. "And my mom's a social worker. So she's in the service of helping people, too."

Jerry and Megan Lehr's goals are now similar, they said. They want to help people take control of their health so they can live independently.

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