Laura Delaney, MPAS, PA-C, is an assistant professor in the physician assistant (PA) program at Des Moines University. She graduated from DMU with a master of science in physician assistant studies in 1999.
Delaney started her career as a nurse in the newborn intensive care unit at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. After working there for 18 years, she decided to pursue a master’s degree and chose DMU’s physician assistant program. She said she would not change her decision to become a PA because of all that she has been able to do. She worked general pediatrics for 10 years after receiving her PA degree and later joined the DMU faculty. She still works one day a week in a pediatric clinic.
Delaney has unselfishly given herself to many causes and services. She has served as president of the Iowa Physician Assistant Society (IPAS) and the volunteer board of the American Lung Association. She credits the start of her involvement to a personal connection: Both she and one of her sons have asthma. Delaney took her son to an asthma camp many years ago and found the spark to volunteer. She became the camp director of the Iowa Asthma Camp until it was dissolved due to H1N1, but she continues to give many lectures on this chronic lung disease.
“Being able to give back to those who are in need is what keeps me going,” she says.
Delaney’s volunteerism does not stop in her local community; she also travels around the world offering her medical services. She took her first medical service trip in 2008 with Medicine for Mali.
“Going to Mali was a life-altering experience that keeps me wanting to go back to help those who otherwise would not have access to medical care,” she says.
Delaney has been back to Mali four times and hopes to return soon.
She also has been a part of DMU’s Global Health service trips. Most recently she participated in the trip to Honduras over spring break, and she has traveled with global health teams to St. Lucia, Haiti and South Africa.
“Everyone can be involved to some degree,” she says. Delaney suggests individuals do so by finding a nonprofit organization they have a connection to because of a personal experience or someone’s story they’ve heard. She encourages students who want to get involved to consider clubs on campus for volunteer opportunities. She believes being involved in one’s community is important, which is why volunteering is part of her life both personally and professionally.
When Delaney isn’t volunteering, she spends time with her family and enjoys being a grandmother to her five grandchildren, with one more on the way. She also finds enjoyment in reading, dreaming of having a horse, being outdoors and wearing cowboy boots (she has six pairs and looks to add a pair on an annual basis).