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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Health Care Champions Top Doctor: Dr. Mark J. Van Ess

Mercy Clinic-Ear, Nose & Throat

Posted online

Dr. Mark J. Van Ess’ education runs deep, and it’s a thread woven throughout his career.

The native of East Grand Rapids, Michigan, followed an educational path that took him to Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, then to medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and an internship at Via Christi hospital in Wichita, Kansas.

At this point, Van Ess was over 10 years into educational studies to eventually become a specialist in ear, nose and throat care and surgeries.

Then it was off to residencies – four of them over a span of four years, from Joplin through Oklahoma State University and Freeman Health System to the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, New York – and a yearlong fellowship in otology and neurotology with the Silverstein Institute in Sarasota, Florida.

In the 16 years of studies, degrees earned and practical experiences, Van Ess found his professional purpose.

“I seek to provide the best quality care for disorders related to the ear and posterior skull base,” Van Ess says. “My area of focus and practice environment allows me to provide this care as part of a team caring for patients of all ages.”

Van Ess has worked for Mercy’s Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic in Springfield since 2011, following a two-year stint with Freeman Health System.

His educational pursuits haven’t stopped.

Last year, Van Ess earned a master’s in health care administration from Missouri State University.

“I am motivated to help grow the ENT department here at Mercy,” Van Ess says. “This [degree] has helped me develop skills necessary to accomplish these goals.”

He’s often returned to the educational settings as an adjunct teacher, currently a clinical assistant professor for University of Missouri and Kansas City University. And he’s served on the educational committee for the American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery for over 10 years.

Even today, a point on his educational timeline is of most importance to his career.

“My proudest professional accomplishment related to health care occurred in 2009, when I completed my fellowship training in otology and neurotology. While this did not mark the end of my journey, it did represent a significant tangible milestone that I often reflect upon,” Van Ess says.

Colleague Shana Tauai, Mercy Clinic’s vice president of operations – surgical services, considers Van Ess a thoughtful physician leader in his role as section chair for the otolaryngology department.

“Dr. Van Ess possesses a unique combination of skill sets that combine surgical expertise with a strong command of business management skills needed for a large and growing ENT practice,” she says. “I have worked closely with Dr. Van Ess on numerous strategic plans, recruitment of new surgeons and performance improvement projects within clinic operations.”

Among co-workers, Tauai says Van Ess has struck success partnering with Mercy Mission Services to develop a topical distinguished speaker series. Hosted by Van Ess and dubbed “Schwartz Rounds,” the talks center on the health system’s values and how to exemplify them in their work.

“It’s been a tremendous success capturing large co-worker attendance and positive feedback. It has become a wildly popular event and another example of Dr. Van Ess’ commitment to Mercy caregivers, patients and the Springfield health care community,” Tauai says.

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