(Des Moines, IA) – The American Lung Association in Iowa has presented its 2011 Volunteer Award to Laura Hoffman, an osteopathic medicine student at Des Moines University, in recognition of her commitment to see people live tobacco-free. She is the daughter of Linda and Robert Hoffman of Columbia City.
Hoffman has been a volunteer with the American Lung Association’s local tobacco prevention arm, the Central Iowa Tobacco-free Partnership, since 2009. She first helped the organization survey and assess convenience stores to identify what tobacco products were being sold and highly marketed in the area. She also has helped at the chapter’s smoke-free night events at Iowa Cubs baseball games and at Drake University in Des Moines. In addition, she helped at many car safety seat checks, where she educated parents about the dangers of smoking around children and asked them to sign a pledge to be smoke-free.
“Laura is very passionate about tobacco prevention, education and cessation,” says Micki Sandquist, executive director of ALA’s Iowa chapter. “We know her time is limited as she is an excellent medical student, so we value all the time she spends with us.”
Hoffman was offered and turned down her first cigarette at summer camp at age 8. She decided to volunteer for the American Lung Association after Lori Mein, a registered nurse and co-chair of the Central Iowa Tobacco-free Partnership, gave a lecture to her preventive medicine class at DMU.
“My mom quit smoking when I was in my early teens and I admired her so much for doing that, because I know it’s very difficult,” Hoffman says. “I have always been passionate about smoking cessation.”
Hoffman became interested in medicine as a high school volunteer at a free health and dental clinic in Ft. Wayne. Now in her fourth year of medical rotations, she plans to practice in family medicine.
Des Moines University is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduate-level, professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, anatomy, biomedical sciences, health care administration and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students’ pass rates on national examinations and board certifications are consistently higher than the national average and the rates at similar institutions.