Want to make a difference in health care? Here’s how

President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. and James A. Grekin, D.O.'62, MACOI
President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. and James A. Grekin, D.O.'62, MACOI

It’s no surprise to DMU alumni that multiple factors make this a critical time for medicine and health care. Advancements in science and technology have enabled us in America to prolong life more effectively than ever, yet the costs of our health care system are at a staggering – and unsustainable – level. Knowledge about disease prevention and public health has increased tremendously over the past several decades, but our rates of oftenpreventable illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are alarmingly high and getting higher.

The cost of a medical education, the complexities of health care’s business side and intense competition for too-few residencies also may discourage some from pursuing careers in health care just when our nation needs more well-trained health care professionals.

Des Moines University is an important part of the solution to these challenges. Our enrollment is strong, our quality is high and our holistic approach to health and wellness is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak. Adding to our opportunities is DMU’s new president, Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. She brings an impressive resumé of expertise and experience to DMU to build upon the leadership of past president and now Iowa governor, Terry Branstad.

Since she officially took the helm on March 1, President Franklin not only has been working with DMU faculty, staff and students on campus, but she’s also been traveling to meet alumni individually and at professional association meetings and alumni events. She is determined that DMU should be “the destination institution” for students, faculty and collaborators who want to provide and improve health care. In addition to her professional dedication to our mission, she and her husband, Thaddeus, showed their personal commitment to DMU by moving their family from Nashville to Des Moines. This fall, their middle son will enroll at Drake University in Des Moines, and their youngest son will be a senior at West Des Moines’ Valley
High School.

My fellow board members and I are excited about the leadership President Franklin brings to our University today and long into the future. I highly encourage you to make a point of meeting her. An ideal opportunity to do so will be her inauguration, which has the appropriate theme of “Doing a World of Good – a Commitment to Health and Excellence.” In addition to the inaugural ceremony on Sept. 24, the inauguration committee – which includes Louis Sullivan, M.D., the venerable founding dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine and secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush – is planning a variety of activities that will spotlight DMU, its faculty and students.

Alumni and friends, this is a prime time for you to engage or re-engage with DMU. One of the most rewarding opportunities for me is when I see the reaction of other alumni to our beautiful campus, our exceptional faculty and facilities and our promising students. In whatever ways you give back to our University – whether by attending inauguration or other DMU events, becoming an alumni mentor, reconnecting with classmates or supporting the institution financially – I guarantee you will enjoy the experience. Like our University, our new president and all of our alumni, faculty and students, you also will make a difference in health care when we
need it most.

James A. Grekin, D.O.’62, MACOI, is a retired physician in Farmington Hills, MI, and chair of the DMU Board of Trustees, of which he’s been a member since 1983.

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