In deciding to be a dentist, Amy Seehusen became yet another generation of her family to attend the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and practice in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Emily Nelson
courtesy of Amy Seehusen
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Amy Seehusen and her husband, Peter, pose for a photo with their three children. The family lives on a farm outside Peter’s hometown of Pocahontas, and Amy practices dentistry in her hometown of Fort Dodge.

When Amy Seehusen sees a patient, it’s not unusual for them to have been treated by her father—or even her grandfather.

Seehusen practices in her father’s dental clinic in her hometown of Fort Dodge, Iowa, which he took over from his father.

“It’s a neat legacy to have,” Seehusen says.

While dentistry runs in the family’s blood—Seehusen’s younger brother also is a dentist—it’s also fair to say that their blood runs black and gold.

All four graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry: Robert (Bob) Knight in 1953, James (Jim) Knight in 1984, Seehusen in 2016, and David Knight in 2017.

Seehusen may have followed in her dad and grandpa’s footsteps, but it wasn’t a straight path. She started college thinking she would go to medical school.

“My brother wanted to be a dentist and went on a tour of the University of Iowa dental school with my parents, and they called me after to suggest I visit, too,” Seehusen says. “So, I did, and I changed my mind right then.”

Amy Seehusen portrait

“It’s nice being in my community and my husband’s community because you have a built-in connection to people.”

Amy Seehusen
UI College of Dentistry grad who works in Fort Dodge, Iowa

Seehusen says talking to Iowa dental students made her realize that the profession fit the lifestyle she envisioned for herself.

“My tour guide was married and pregnant, and she talked about how dentistry worked so well with having a family,” Seehusen says. “It’s flexible. You can work normal hours; you’re not on call; you can own your own practice or work for someone else; you can work part time if you want. She was living the lifestyle I wanted. I thought it sounded perfect.”

So did the University of Iowa. Seehusen says she didn’t look at any other dental schools. So, after graduating with a BS in biology from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, Seehusen moved to Iowa City.

Seehusen says she was grateful for the many varied opportunities offered to Iowa dental students.

“Iowa is known for getting students in the clinic their first year, and I got a ton of clinical experience as a student,” Seehusen says. “They prepare you really well for being a dentist.”

She also says she appreciated the faculty, especially those in the Department of Family Dentistry.

“They really mentored you toward having a practice and treating patients well,” Seehusen says. “They were very encouraging and cared about you as a person and a dentist. They really made me feel like I could do it.”

Seehusen also participated in two dental mission trips while she was a student, one to Jamaica with the Christian Dental Association and one to Haiti with a church and dentist from Pella, Iowa.

Seehusen says she didn’t always plan to come back and practice in her hometown, but love intervened. She became engaged her third year of dental school to her now husband, Peter, who is from Pocahontas, about an hour from Fort Dodge.

“My husband is a farmer, and we live on a farm,” Seehusen says. “It’s a very different lifestyle than I thought I would have, but I love it, and I wouldn’t trade any part of it.”

She also wouldn’t change her decision to become a dentist.

“It’s challenging every day. No patient is the same, no tooth is the same. It’s impossible for it to get boring,” Seehusen says. “And it’s very personal. You really get to know your patients because you see them every six months for their cleanings. A lot of them stay with us for their lifetime, so you really get to know the whole family.”

Dentistry at Iowa

Since 1882, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics has been a leader in patient care, dental education, and oral science research. As the only dental school in the state of Iowa, the college is a source of great strength and pride for the state.

Seehusen now has three small children and works part time—two days a week at her father’s clinic and one day a month at a practice owned by another Hawkeye, William (Bill) Strohman in Algona, Iowa. While she’s working, the kids split time with their grandmothers.

“The kids love it. The grandmas love it. And my dad loves having me there, too,” Seehusen says. “It’s great. It’s exactly what I wanted.”

Seehusen says she’s proud to serve Fort Dodge and the surrounding communities because she knows how important it is to people’s health to have professionals nearby.

“If people have to travel, that’s a big hindrance to care—especially regular care,” Seehusen says. “If it’s not convenient, a lot of people won’t do it.”

She says there’s another perk to practicing in her hometown.

“It’s nice being in my community and my husband’s community because you have a built-in connection to people. They trust you and know you’re not trying to sell them something they don’t need.”