What’s up, Doc? Meet Mitchell County’s newest physician


(From left) Lora, Parker and Benson Hargens. The Hargen’s are expecting a second child, due in September. Submitted photo



rParker Hargens, a cheeky, giggly, 18-month-old boy, clutches a tiny toy tractor between his stubby little fingers in the living room of his new house. He loves tractors, and got to see lots of them lumber down the streets of Osage during Wednesday’s Independence Day parade.

In the kitchen, a pile of Tootsie Rolls, frisbees and assorted goodies sit on the counter, Parker’s loot from the annual festivity. Other than a few pieces of furniture, not much else fills the Hargens’ new home on the south-west side of Osage.

Before too long, family portraits will be hung from nails and more furniture will be wiggled through the front door to accompany the nearly-empty rooms, which are currently being filled with the pitter-patter of a little pair of 18-month-old feet. 

Parker’s parents Benson and Lora moved to Osage just last month, so Benson could take a position as a new physician at the Mitchell County Regional Health Center (MCRHC).

Luckily for little Parker, Benson has a passion for family, community, and small-town living, so plenty of tractors and parade candy await in his future. 

Benson Hargens is slated to be MCRHC’s newest physician, and looks forward to being a doctor in a small town. 

Hargens and his wife Lora both grew up in Hudson, Iowa, a town of just over 2,000 south west of Waterloo.  

“We’re excited for our kids to grow up just like we did,” Hargens said. “To live in a small community, to be able to walk to school…

“And for me, [I’m excited] to know my patients and care for them,” said Hargens, noting how in small, tight-knit communities, patients are often friends and neighbors. r


In addition to a new doctor, The clinic in Osage is adding on and updating its front entrance. EJ Photo/Travis Charson



rThat passion and pride was evident in his choice of schooling. Hargens’s Masters degree focused on Rural Agricultural Safety and Health, which looks at healthcare from a perspective tailored to rural and farm communities like north Iowa. 

“The challenges are different here than in urban centers,” Hargens said. 

A big reason why the Hargens are coming to Osage, Hargens said, is an interaction he had with a current doctor from Osage. 

Hargens graduated high school in 2004, before attending Iowa State University to earn a degree in Biology and a minor in Geriatrics. Hargens then went on to earn his Master of Public Health with a focus on Rural Agricultural Safety and Health from the University of Iowa, then got his MD from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in 2015.

That same year, Hargens met current MCRHC physician Dr. Mark Haganman during an awards banquet in Des Moines, hosted by the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians.

“Haganman was receiving the Family Physician of the Year award, and I was there to receive the Iowa Farm Bureau Rural Family Medicine Scholarship,” Hargens said. “He told me about a position that would be coming available.” 

Hargens soon began moonlighting at the clinic, working shifts in the ER and coming up to visit the area. 

“I thought the town was really nice,”  Hargens said. “I had friends and classmates in college from up here that spoke very highly of Mitchell County.”

Hargens was offered a position back in February of 2017, and made the move to Osage after graduating from Mercy’s Family Medicine Residency at the end of June.

Lora attended the University of Northern Iowa, and this past year was a science teacher at Clear Lake. This coming year, she plans on staying home with Parker and their next child, which is due in September.

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