Wielding expertise in medical education and patient care, Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, who passed away on January 28, 2024, spent 35 years in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Over the course of her career, she held various positions with the MercyOne North Iowa Cancer Center, Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Iowa, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska. During her time in higher education, Dr. Turner also held a position on the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. In 2016, she joined Planned Parenthood North Central States, where she excelled as the associate medical director until commencing her retirement in 2022.
In 2011, Dr. Turner decided to pursue her passion for protecting voters’ rights and joined the League of Women Voters of Iowa as the state vice president, a position she held until 2015. Concurrently, she served as the president of the Des Moines Metropolitan League. She was then promoted to president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa in 2015 and joined the national board of directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States in 2016. In June 2020, Dr. Turner was elected as the 20th president of the League of Women Voters of the United States at the 54th National Convention of the League of Women Voters. She held the position until June 2022.
To prepare for her career, Dr. Turner earned a Bachelor of Science in distributed studies/zoology, chemistry and psychology from Iowa State University and a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Iowa in 1978. She later completed a residency in obstetrics-gynecology at the University of Iowa and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Returning to her studies, she obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence at Drake University in 2007. Dr. Turner was certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Finding vast success in her endeavors, Dr. Turner was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013. She later received the Gertrude E. Rush Award from the National Bar Association in 2015 and the Louise Rosenfield Noun Visionary Award from the Young Women’s Resource Center in Des Moines in 2018. Among numerous achievements, she considered the highlight of her career was receiving the National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Award from the Schwartz Center. Dr. Turner attributed much of her professional success to her parents and leaves behind a legacy as a collaborative leader who truly believed in her work.