Robert Suter, D.O.’89, M.H.A.’89, FACEP, was one of the first, if not the first, person to graduate with two DMU degrees simultaneously. (At his commencement, he walked across the stage twice.) That gives him a keen appreciation and valuable perspective as president of the DMU Alumni Association Board of Directors.
“One of the most incredible things about DMU is the way its three colleges have come together to become a truly interdisciplinary health sciences university,” he says. “The DMU Alumni Association, which represents graduates of all programs, exemplifies our unified alma mater.”
Suter played a role in bringing DMU’s three former alumni boards – one for each college – together as one. Past president-elect and secretary-treasurer of the College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumni Board, he became president of the unified board in May. His goals in that role include enhancing the University’s mentor program that connects alumni with current students; further engaging the three colleges and their deans with the board; and encouraging more alumni to support DMU financially.
“I say jokingly, although there’s truth to it, that when your university doesn’t have a football team, your alumni association has a different role,” he says. “That includes our being involved more in the interprofessional education of our students and networking among our graduates.”
Professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern, Suter also is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and professor of military and emergency medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Past president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the International Federation for Emergency Medicine, he has practiced in a variety of settings and has been involved in academic medicine throughout his career. His love of teaching students and respect for DMU’s leaders and his fellow alumni keep him excited about the alumni association and its board.
“As a board, I think we have experience and expertise that bring value to the University and can help shape its future,” he says.
The association also benefits alumni as a “mechanism for networking, engaging with the University and interacting with students,” he says. Suter encourages all alumni to connect with DMU.
“It is about giving back, but over the long run, alumni who get involved are going to get back more than they give,” he says. “To other alumni, I say you need to re-engage, share your passion and expertise. You will be rewarded personally.”