Public Service

Diversified in a myriad of industries – including government, health care and law – Dr. Deborah Ann Turner served as the 20th president of the League of Women Voters of the United States from 2020 until retiring from her position in June 2022. Becoming elected as board president at the 54th National Convention of the League of Women Voters, Dr. Turner has also excelled as chairperson of the board of trustees of the League of Women Voters Education Fund. In her roles, she has dedicated her career to ensuring that the rights of American voters are protected at polling stations.

Prior to her most recent roles, Dr. Turner joined the Des Moines Metropolitan League in 2010 and, the following year, became president. Serving in this position until 2015, she was most notable for helping revitalize the League’s membership and improving upon the board’s leadership. Likewise, Dr. Turner is a past state vice president and past co-president of the League of Women Voters’ Iowa Board, through which she strengthened internal relations between local leagues and the state board.

In 2016, Dr. Turner was appointed to the League’s national board of directors, through which she also sat on the finance committee and governance committee. Moreover, she was chairperson of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee, where she collaborated with colleagues and focused her efforts on improving organizational culture. To this end, Dr. Turner emphasized the importance of not only racial equity, but also intergenerational dynamics, differences in socioeconomic standards, and awareness and acceptance of gender identity, among other responsibilities.

Earlier, Dr. Turner served for 35 years as a gynecologic oncologist at the Genesis Medical Center, Mercy Cancer Center and Mercy Medical Center, as well as enhanced university medical programs at the University of Nebraska, University of Iowa and the Medical College of Wisconsin. During this time, she also lent her expertise to 12 medical missions to Tanzania and worked directly with Singida’s Medical Center and Outreach’s Children’s Feeding Centers. She draws upon a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Iowa, graduating in 1978. Furthermore, Dr. Turner received a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Drake University in 2007, which she has leveraged to enhance her support for and endeavors in politics and health care issues. Since 2016, she has excelled as the associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of North Central States.

As a testament to her success, Dr. Turner received the 2018 Louise Noun Visionary Women of the Year Award from the Young Women’s Resource Center Des Moines and the 2015 Gertrude Rush Award from the National Bar Association. Inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013, she is especially gratified by her receipt of a certificate from the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care.

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