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June 01, 2021

Veteran’s Day – A family legacy for IU Health doctor

Veteran’s Day – A family legacy for IU Health doctor

IU Health Dr. Kevin Rice talks about his journey to the medical field and his service in the U.S. Army.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

His father served in the Vietnam War. Both of his grandfathers served in WW II, one reaching the rank of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. So for many years, IU Health Dr. Kevin Rice thought about following in their footsteps.

A native of Connecticut, after high school Dr. Rice attended the private liberal arts campus, Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. He continued his education at the School of Medicine at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

“I was very much into science at an early age and initially I thought I might want to be a veterinarian,” said Dr. Rice. “I changed my interest to medicine in college and when I was able to do a summer internship in urology, it sparked my interest.” When he got into medical school, he said he kept his options open but kept going back to urology.

“I like both the surgery and the continuity we have with patients. I was also interested in oncology,” said Dr. Rice, a board-certified urologist. His role at IU Health includes both outpatient care and complex oncology surgeries.

Dr. Kevin Rice performing surgery

In 2001 he was in his first year of med school and had thought a lot about joining the military. “At first I didn’t think I had the level of maturity that was required for the military but I always talked with my dad and grandfathers about service to my country. It was always in the back of my mind,” said Dr. Rice.

Then the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 happened. From the medical school building on the Georgetown University campus Dr. Rice could see the billowing smoke. At 9:37 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, killing 125 military and civilian workers on the ground in addition to the 59 victims and five hijackers on the plane. Just minutes before, New York’s World Trade Center had also been attacked. In all, nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks of September 11th.

“The next day I called the recruiter and said ‘I’m ready to sign.’ I had already been set up with the recruiter and I saw this as a way of responding to a tragedy. The opportunity was in front of me,” said Dr. Rice. He joined the reserves and when he finished medical school was matched with Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, MD. He remained on active duty as a surgeon with the U.S. Army for 15 years.

Dr. Rice was no stranger to Indiana. He pursued fellowship training in urologic oncology at IU Health from 2011 to 2013. He then returned to Walter Reed Hospital where, like his grandfather, he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army. In July, Dr. Rice returned to IU Health where he is a specialist in urologic oncology, with an interest in surgical management of advanced cancers including prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancer.

Dr. Rice wears Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army

His wife, Jennifer Rice works as an emergency room physician at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. They have two children, Eva, 8 and Dylan, 6.

“Working at IU Health is similar to working in the military in the sense that we are committed to providing care for all people from all walks of life. We have a civic duty,” said Dr. Rice. “That along with being able to teach and train medical students, residents, and fellows, makes this a good fit for me.”

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Urology

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