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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Men of the Year: Dr. Darren Lehnert

Mercy Springfield Communities

Posted online

Throughout his 23-year career, Dr. Darren Lehnert has sought balance in delivering medical care to women, serving in a leadership role for Mercy Springfield Communities and in the broader community.

While Lehnert devotes much of his time delivering obstetrical and gynecological care, Lehnert also is one of 32 doctors representing Mercy Springfield’s 600 physicians on the Clinical Practice Committee. As tri-chair, Lehnert helps oversee capital budget prioritization and allocation, and assists with dispute and conflict resolution, among other issues.

Lehnert also serves on the Mercy OB-GYN Executive Committee, Mercy Risk Management Review Committee and Mercy Clinic Gynecologic Improvement Group. These groups find ways to improve patient safety and outcomes. “Though not a job requirement, my passion for quality care led me to serve in these additional roles knowing it could improve the health of women in our region,” Lehnert says.

He stays involved in educating budding physicians in his role as assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health for the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Of all his accomplishments, though, Lehnert says he is most proud of delivering more than 9,000 babies and conducting thousands of surgical procedures

“I feel so blessed to be able to have gained an education and a skill,” he says. “As a high school shop teacher’s son from a small town of 500 in western Kansas, I never would have dreamed that I would have been able to positively impact so many lives. It’s a tremendous privilege, and I do not take that for granted.”

Lehnert points out that success in his field differs from other industries in which victory is measured in dollars. For Lehnert, success is influencing health, longevity and well-being.

He recalls an exchange with a tearful patient: Lehnert initially didn’t understand why she was crying because she had successfully completed breast cancer treatment and was in remission. Then she explained.

“She was telling me that at her daughter’s recent wedding, she was reflecting that if I hadn’t been thorough in detecting her cancer, she might have missed that special occasion. I consider that an accomplishment,” he says.

Lehnert also is active in supporting the community through volunteering and philanthropy. He and his wife recently endowed scholarships at the University of Kansas Medical School and Evangel University.

“This has been a dream to be able to financially help the next generation of university students as they strive toward success,” he says.

He also has supported the GYN Cancers Alliance, Child Advocacy Center, Care to Learn and Friends of SPS.

Lehnert says future goals include continuing to find ways to successfully treat women’s health problems. He points to recent advances in minimally invasive hysterectomies and bladder repair as milestones. “Most women now tell me that they can’t believe they didn’t do this sooner because it provides such an improvement in their lifestyle,” he says.

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