Dr. Mark Donovan has gone from a career in semiconductors to one as a general surgeon and from Northern California to the Middle East to Alaska and now Roseburg, where he plans to stay for a long while.
Story by Jim Hays Photos by Tristin Godsey
It was a whirlwind summer for Dr. Mark Donovan, a general surgeon who joined Centennial Medical Group in July. Donovan, his wife, Jessica, and their 13-month-old son, Brooks, moved to Roseburg from Fairbanks, Alaska, where Donovan finished a four-year hitch in the Army at nearby Fort Wainwright.
They found a small apartment near Mercy Medical Center upon arrival, then moved again to a rental house in the hills on Roseburg’s east side.
“I think we still have more things in boxes than out of boxes,” he says.
But with his family at home and a 10-minute commute to his job at CMG, Donovan is starting to settle in.
“We’re happy to be here and we’re looking forward to exploring the area and getting to know the people and activities,” he says.
A native of Northern California, Donovan’s medical career has been anything but typical. For one thing, not many surgeons first earn a degree in materials science and engineering at the University of California in Berkeley, then work with semiconductors for two years in Silicon Valley. But Donovan was attracted to the medical profession and decided to return to school.
“I wasn’t on the pre-med track in college,” he says. “So I had to take life science courses to prepare for medical school.”
He earned his medical degree at Albany Medical College, a private school in New York’s capital city, did his surgical training and residency in Santa Barbara, where he met Jessica, then joined the Army medical corps.
“THE FIRST TIME YOU’RE DEPLOYED, IT SEEMS VERY EXCITING AND AN ADVENTURE. BUT AFTER THAT, IT BECOMES TOUGH TO BE AWAY THAT LONG, ESPECIALLY WITH A FAMILY.” —Dr. Mark Donovan
He was deployed twice as a combat surgeon, once to Afghanistan in 2015, then to Syria in spring 2017.
“The first time you’re deployed, it seems very exciting and an adventure,”he says.“But after that, it becomes tough to be away that long, especially with a family.”
Donovan’s son was born while he was in Kuwait awaiting a flight home; he learned of it in a text message from Jessica.
When he decided to leave the Army, Donovan says he wasn’t sure where he and his young family would be going. They decided against returning to California, but wanted to stay on the West Coast. Oregon seemed the perfect choice, and it just so happened CMG was looking for another surgeon to join the group.
“I’d made a few contacts in the community and found out about the position,” he says. “We came down in here in November of last year, met everyone at CMG, talked to every one and decided to accept it.”
Donovan enjoys being a general surgeon and sees Douglas County as a good place to practice.
“I like general surgery because it encompasses the whole person,” he says. “In a bigger city, you don’t find true general surgeons. (Roseburg) is a good place for it because there are a lot of people who need surgery and shouldn’t have to go out of town.”