Heart and Soul

Jeff Hostetter, M.D. ’00, M.S., FAAFP


A math teacher, a coach and now a doctor in North Dakota: that’s alumnus Jeff Hostetter, M.D. ’00, M.S., FAAFP. “It’s all about service,” says Hostetter. “I taught high-school and college students, coached two varsity sports, and now I mentor residents. For me, teaching is very fulfilling.”

Bitter-cold winters; small communities; the need for doctors; these words describe both Hostetter’s chosen home of North Dakota and a good portion of the five-state region served by the UW School of Medicine. The University of Washington was Hostetter’s top pick for medical school, both for its academic reputation and because the WWAMI medical education program — covering Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho — allowed his family to stay in Montana while he trained.

Then, however, the family decided to move to North Dakota. “This area needs family doctors who are good diagnosticians and willing to do procedures,” Hostetter says. “My WWAMI teachers showed me a way of thinking about medicine that has served me well in caring for patients.”

Today, Hostetter is pouring his heart and soul into education and service. He’s the program director of two family medicine residencies, the medical director for the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the director of a nursing home and clinic in eastern Montana. He also works at an Indian Health Services (IHS) facility in Fort Yates.

It’s hard to imagine that Hostetter, the father of five children, has any time to sleep, let alone any down time. But he manages. “Going into medicine as a second career and already having a family helped keep me centered,” he says. “I do work hard, but spending time with my family and getting solitary time to fish and garden helps keep my life in relative balance.”

In all that he does, Hostetter always remembers one man: Dr. Norman James Rose.

Dr. Rose worked in North Dakota and Illinois after he graduated from Northwest Medical School in 1932. Decades later, the Rose family created the Norman James and Ethel Jenisch Rose Endowed Scholarship to pay tribute to Dr. Rose’s career as a country doctor in North Dakota, public health officer and epidemiologist, and to recognize the strong partnership Dr. Rose had with his wife, Ethel.

Hostetter benefited from the Rose Scholarship and the Rose family’s generosity, and he took Dr. Rose’s example to heart during medical school.

“I’ve thought about it a lot over the years. Getting that scholarship resonated with me,” says Hostetter. “He was the kind of person I wanted to be.”