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2017 Silver Anniversary Award: Heather Taggart

Former Wisconsin soccer star helms new team in medical world

Heather Taggart has built a career around helping others – both her patients and the young doctors who hope to follow in her footsteps.

Taggart, a physician of obstetrics and gynecology based in Omaha, Nebraska, attributes her desire to educate the next generation to the mentors who did the same for her. Greg Ryan, her head soccer coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the physicians she learned from as a resident taught Taggart the importance of educating with a purpose, providing constructive feedback and valuing a process from start to finish.

Taggart will receive an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in Nashville, Tennessee. The annual award recognizes six distinguished former student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of the end of their intercollegiate athletics eligibility.

“Someone took the time to train me and taught me to be a good and successful doctor,” Taggart said. “It is my responsibility to pay that forward to continue the growth of our profession.”

Raised in Omaha, Taggart competed as a three-sport varsity athlete before joining Wisconsin’s women’s soccer team in 1988. As a four-year starter, Taggart led her team to the Division I tournament four years in a row, including a second-place finish in 1991. Named the Badgers’ co-captain and most valuable player in her senior season, she grew to understand the demands of being a leader.

Taggart graduated from Wisconsin in 1992 with a dual degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. She continued her education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, where she earned her doctorate in 1996.

In 2012, Taggart took part in a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, where she and Creighton University medical students provided health care in underprivileged rural communities. She says the trip reshaped her view of her responsibility as a doctor.

So when her employer, CHI Health, created a new clinic in an underserved area in Omaha, Taggart seized the opportunity to help start the practice. Today, Taggart balances her time between two clinics, volunteers at the CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center, is a contributing services faculty member at the Creighton University School of Medicine and sits on the CHI Health Alegent Creighton Clinic Board of Directors.

“Dr. Taggart holds herself and her colleagues, including the residents, to a very high standard,” said Katie Sekpe, a fourth-year chief resident at the Creighton University Medical Center. “She is honest, knowledgeable and caring.”

Medical students and residents who work with Taggart admire her desire to learn, adapt and improve her clinical skills, while simultaneously helping them do the same.

“Coaching and training those younger than me helps create the next generation of good doctors,” Taggart said. “In medicine, we’re part of the same team.”