Dr. Tom Novak was nominated by Newman Catholic Student Center as 2019 AFP Individual Philanthropist.
Dr. Tom Novak’s fascination with human physiology and interest in serving others led him to pursue a career as a family physician. He received his medical degree from The University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1985 and completed his Family Medicine Residency at The University of Iowa in 1988. He has been practicing in West Branch, Iowa for 31 years and serves people from birth through endof-life with a strong focus on educating patients about their own health needs.
Tom married Louise Wolf, a graduate of the College of St. Benedict and the University of Iowa, in 1983. Louise was a “do-er” who cared deeply for social justice, was a voice for peace, and wanted to repair damage to our environment. Together, they effected change at countless local organizations, including
Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, Table to Table, Shelter House, CommUnity
Crisis Center and Food Bank, Visiting Nurses Association, National Wildlife
Foundation, Nature Conservatory, Bur Oak Land Trust, Rotary International, Bird Hospice House, school-based health clinics, Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition, Catholic Worker House, Free Lending Library, religious education programs, Iowans for Peace, and more. Abroad, they made multiple trips to Mexico to build homes and provide dental and health care.
Louise died at the age of 57 in February 2017, but her family has honored her lifelong passion of helping others by establishing the Louise Wolf-Novak Social Justice and Service Endowment Fund in her memory through the Newman Catholic Student Center. Tom said of the gift, “Through this endowed fund, we want to support young people who feel called to learn more about social justice, an ideal Louise embodied throughout her entire life. We see no better way to honor Louise’s memory than to inspire youth to understand and alleviate the root causes of suffering in our world.”
Earlier this year, a significant gift from Tom helped the Iowa City Catholic Worker House purchase a second house site on the Southeast side of Iowa City that will open in 2020.
In his free time, Dr. Novak enjoys competitive running, hiking, canoeing, backpacking, and continues inspiring others with his community service and medical mission work