2019 Alumni of the Year

As they educate and mentor students, touch the lives of patients and work tirelessly in their professions and communities, the Des Moines University Alumni of the Year inspire others to aspire. Alumni of the Year honorees are selected by the DMU Alumni Association Board of Directors and past recipients of this prestigious award.

Recipients of the awards must be a member in good standing of their respective professional state or national organization and the DMU Alumni Association; demonstrate excellent service to DMU, its students and his/her profession; and demonstrate a record of service to his/her community on a local, state and/or national level.

View past Alumni of the Year recipients


College of Health Sciences: Gayle Breutzman, PA-C'86

Gayle Breutzman, PA-C’86, has served DMU, its physician assistant students, her profession and her country through her career with the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC). In addition to treating patients, she served as coordinator of physician assistant students, in which she coordinated rotations at the center and taught students who were on rotation in cardiothoracic surgery.

Ms. Breutzman began teaching and coordinating physician assistant students on rotation, including from DMU, in 1995. In addition, at the VAMC she developed connections that enabled DMU students to obtain important and difficult-to-find rotations in areas such as general surgery and emergency medicine.

Ms. Breutzman received a nursing assistant certificate at the Rochester Area Vocational-Technical Institute before earning her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry at the University of Minnesota. After graduating from DMU, she completed the didactic portion of the surgical physician assistant residency at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. She remained in the Bronx to work at St. Barnabus Hospital, where she covered all of the hospital’s surgical services.

She went on to practice cardiovascular surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She then completed her career at the Minneapolis VAMC as a physician assistant in cardiothoracic surgery.

In 2009 Ms. Breutzman was honored with two awards, the Civil Servant of the Year Award and an award as Outstanding Civil Servant of the Year in Leadership.


College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery: Erik Eglite, D.P.M.'91, J.D., M.B.A., M.Sc.

Erik Eglite, D.P.M.’91, J.D., M.B.A., M.Sc., is a life sciences/pharmaceutical executive officer, podiatric physician/surgeon and attorney with extensive management and business experiences. He is senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on developing therapies in disease areas of high unmet medical need. The company is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia. Prior to joining Aurinia in 2017, he was vice president, corporate counsel and chief compliance officer for Marathon Pharmaceuticals in Northbrook, IL; prior to that, he held those titles at Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals in Deerfield, IL. He also has served as vice president, chief compliance officer and corporate counsel for Ovation Pharmaceuticals and global chief compliance officer and corporate counsel for Aspreva Pharmaceuticals.

A nationally recognized and frequent speaker on pharmaceutical law, Dr. Eglite has been involved with the clinical development, launch and commercialization of 14 drugs and drug programs. Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, he worked as assistant general counsel for the Department of Human Services and as an attorney practicing in medical malpractice, product liability, defense litigation, intellectual property and patent law for Querry & Harrow in Chicago. He is a licensed podiatric physician and surgeon and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dr. Eglite has an M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago. He also has a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in history from Loyola University of Chicago. He completed his residency training at Michigan Health Medical Center Hospital. He also completed medical/surgical externships at the University of Chicago, department of surgery, division of vascular surgery, Great Lakes Naval Hospital department of podiatric surgery and Northwestern University Columbus Cabrini Hospital, department of orthopedic/podiatric surgery. He has a graduate certificate in pharmaceutical and medical device law from Seton Hall School of Law, an executive certificate in corporate governance from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and an executive certificate in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Currently, he is completing a master of science degree in clinical research regulatory compliance at Northwestern University.


College of Osteopathic Medicine: Kenneth Anderson Jr., D.O.'78, M.S., CPE

Kenneth P. Anderson, Jr, D.O., M.S., C.P.E Interim Dean

Kenneth Anderson Jr., D.O.’78, M.S., CPE, established a 40-year career that has spanned the spectrum of health care. He has been a nephrology and transplant physician, health organization leader, medical educator and, from Oct. 15 to June 28, 2019, interim dean of DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Innovation has been a theme; he’s applied it in leadership roles to improve the health of individuals and communities.

Dr. Anderson was a transplant physician and administrator with Mercy Hospital Medical Center from 1986 to 1996. He later joined NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, where he served as chief medical quality officer and co-director of its Center for Clinical and Research Informatics. He was curriculum director of its Quality Fellowship Program as well as a clinical assistant professor at the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago.

As chief operating officer, acting president and CEO of the American Hospital Association’s Health Research and Educational Trust from 2014 to 2017, Dr. Anderson had an impact on hundreds of thousands of lives through the association’s nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers.

Dr. Anderson has held numerous professional appointments, including with the Global Scientific Committee of the International Hospital Federation, Geneva, Switzerland; the Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery, the American College of Surgeons; and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable Advisory Council. He also served as a Baldrige Award senior alumni examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Dr. Anderson is an active lecturer and widely published author on topics ranging from innovation in health care quality and population health improvement to patient safety, community-driven health care reform and health insurance. In his 2018 book, Saving the Heart of American Health Care: How Patients and Their Doctors Can Mend a Broken System, he explores the factors that have eroded the doctor-patient relationship and proposes ways it can be restored.

A certified physician executive, Dr. Anderson earned a master’s degree in administrative medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a certificate in health policy and management from the Harvard University School of Public Health. He completed an internship and was chief resident in family practice at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines as well as chief resident in internal medicine at Yale University-Norwalk Hospital. He completed his clinical training in nephrology at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles County Hospital.

1 thought on “Alumni of the Year”

  1. Pingback: AOA President Buser boosts DMU students - Des Moines University

Leave a Reply