They work in different roles in health care and represent different eras of Des Moines University alumni, but the 2015 DMU Alumni of the Year share a deep commitment to service to their professions, their patients and their medical alma mater.
College of Health Sciences: Suzanne C. Ware, PA-C’01
At age three, Suzanne Ware broke her nose and had an x-ray, which inspired her early career as an x-ray technician. A similar revelation occurred when, as an undergraduate, she met a physician assistant and became “very intrigued” at the profession’s scope.
“I wanted to do more for people,” she says. “I like the autonomy and the fact that if I have questions, there’s a physician just down the hall I can go to.”
Since graduating in 2001 from DMU’s physician assistant program – then a bachelor’s degree program – Ware has worked for Mercy Clinics in internal medicine in the Des Moines area. Her practice areas of interest are diabetes, hypertension and preventive medicine. She hosts a free diabetes and hypertension awareness clinic annually at the local YMCA.
Ware, who completed her master of physician assistant studies degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2013, has served her profession and DMU as an adjunct faculty member. While she admits she was “nervous” when the University asked her to take on her first student in 2004, she has since provided monthly internal medicine rotations for second-year PA students. She also occasionally lectures to the first-year PA students.
“That helps me stay up to date in my practice, and I enjoy teaching,” she says. “Plus I remember how I felt when I graduated.”
Ware also fondly remembers her DMU classmates, several of whom she’s kept in touch with.
“My favorite memories are studying with friends in the library,” she says. “As a PA student, you make lifelong friendships.”
College of Osteopathic Medicine: Barry Braver, D.O.’79
Barry Braver’s “modest beginnings” – which he says he shares with many of his DMU classmates – ingrained in him the importance of education. For the past 35-plus years, he’s used his osteopathic education to serve patients at his private practice and in hospitals in an economically depressed part of Detroit.
“I encourage all our young people we serve to complete their education,” he says. “I want them to see how it can transform their lives.”
Braver has worked to transform lives in other ways. Actively involved with multiple community and philanthropic organizations, he helped establish a school for children with learning disabilities and now serves on its board. He is the medical director and adviser to four extended care facilities and a clinical preceptor for five osteopathic medical schools, including DMU. A member of the DMU Board of Trustees since 1999, he supports the University as a donor and annually sponsors students in participating in the annual DMU Golf Benefit, which generates scholarships for students.
Braver is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Quality Assurance. Since 1992 he has been a diplomat of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians Inc., the nation’s largest organization of interdisciplinary health care professionals with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of health care.
College of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery: Phillip E. Ward, D.P.M.’88
Phillip E. Ward has been a leader in the podiatric profession since earning his podiatric medical degree. A member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Board of Trustees since 2004, he currently serves as the association’s president and serves as the chief representative of its more than 12,500 podiatrist members. Ward was installed in March by his daughter and fellow APMA member, Meredith L. Ward, D.P.M.’14, marking the first time an APMA president was installed by his or her daughter.
“I pledge to continue to work tirelessly for today’s and tomorrow’s podiatrists in my role as president, advocating for and promoting our members as the physicians, surgeons and specialists that we are.”
A member of the podiatric specialty group in Durham, NC, Ward is board-certified by the American Board of Ankle Surgery and by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Society of Podiatric Surgeons, the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine, the American Society of Podiatric Dermatology, the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the Society for Vascular Surgery. He is the first podiatric physician to be elected to the American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Assistant Editorial Board, and he serves as the AMA CPT Panel advisor for APMA.
Past president of the North Carolina Foot and Ankle Society and a former city councilman, Ward returns to DMU annually to speak with students about the future of medicine and the opportunities available to CPMS graduates. He also served on the former CPMS Alumni Board.