Laura Hoffman is exactly the kind of person you want working in health care. She turned to volunteerism to follow her parents’ example and as a way to avoid “high school hierarchy.” As an undergraduate at Xavier University, she volunteered in many capacities including serving as a medical assistant and Spanish interpreter at an inner city clinic, planning activities at a local nursing home and volunteering as a teacher’s aide in a school for children with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. She was a leader in planning an Xavier program in which students participate in community service during spring and summer breaks.
Hoffman also participated in service trips in Mexico and El Salvador while at Xavier. At DMU, in February she went to Guatemala for a rotation with DOC ARE International, a medical outreach organization that serves indigent and isolated people in remote areas around the world. Hoffman also is passionate about smoking cessation and volunteers with the American Lung Association of Iowa’s tobacco prevention division. She received the association’s 2011 Volunteer Award.
For her outstanding non-clinical leadership in advocacy, community service and education, the May graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine received the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2012 Leadership Award. The award provides medical students, residents/fellows and early-career physicians from around the country with special training to develop their skills as future leaders in organized medicine and community affairs.
“My passion for volunteering has continued to grow because even though I’m one person, I can make a difference and hopefully inspire others to do the same for a cause or organization,” says Hoffman, recently in a family medicine residency at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. “It’s important to understand the needs in the community and be an active participant…Everything I’ve done in medical school I know is going to help shape me into a more well-rounded physician who can relate to my patients.”