Let’s hear it for the spouses

DMU student spouse receives award

For some, simply surviving marriage to a medical student is accomplishment enough. Not so Jon Kamrath: While his wife, Heidi, earned her D.O. degree at DMU, he commuted to Iowa State University, 40 miles away, to complete his master’s degree in fine arts; was selected to exhibit at the highly competitive Des Moines Arts Festival in 2008 and 2009; and was a leader in the DMU Student Advocate Association, now called Significant Others’ Support.

That earned him the American Osteopathic Foundation’s 2009 Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award, which honors the spouses of graduating osteopathic medical students who provide “immeasurable support” to their partner “while being an individual in their own right.” Jon juggled both with hard work and dedication, Heidi, D.O.’09, explained in her nomination to the AOF.

For example, he was intent to accompany her to a rotation in Michigan from April to August 2008 and still participate in the Des Moines Arts Festival that June. To make that possible, he worked diligently early in the spring semester to complete his M.F.A. thesis and produce enough sculpture, pottery and other works to cover the festival and his M.F.A. solo art exhibition.

“He did all of this so that our family would not have to live apart for those four months,” Heidi wrote in her nomination. She is now in a pediatrics residency at the University of Minnesota. “I cannot imagine having gone through medical school without him by my side.”

Now an art teacher at Eagle Ridge Academy in Eden Prairie, Minn., Jon was active on the DMU campus, reaching out to other spouses and playing intramural dodge ball and volleyball. “Whenever Jon was on campus, he would know at least as many people there as I would,” Heidi noted.

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