DMU students seek to be part of the solution

Last year Daniel Cole, D.O.’16 became one of 16 current and past DMU students who’ve landed, since 2009, prestigious summer internships through the University’s Global Health Pathways of Distinction program. But he was the first to work in the area of climate change. Supervised by Carlos Dora, M.D., Ph.D., a coordinator in the department of public health and environment at the World Health Organization (WHO), Cole conducted research, which he later presented, on the extent to which the health care sector is utilizing climate mitigation financing, particularly to enhance energy access and efficiency (he found such financing is underutilized).

So impressed was Dora with Cole’s work that this summer he’ll take on another DMU intern, Matthew Mueller, D.O.17, M.P.H.’21, to work in the area of climate change and health.

Meanwhile, this summer Dana Lowry, M.P.H., D.O.’17, will explore environmental hazards and health effects as DMU’s first student intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another DMU “first” is Kelsey Millonig, who will be the University’s first podiatric medical student to serve a summer internship with the WHO; she plans to work with the WHO’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities initiative to help communities prepare for the implications of aging populations worldwide. She received a $500 award by winning a DMU essay competition on the topic “Climate change and health: your role as future health care providers.”

A participant in two DMU health service trips – last year, to Honduras; this year, to the Dominican Republic – Millonig, in her essay, viewed the effects of climate change as conditions that even a provider in rural Iowa could see, including asthma and stress.

“Health care professionals are involved in preventative health measures such as annual Medicare physicals, mammograms and screenings at birth in order to prevent morbidity and mortality,” she concluded. “Climate mitigation should be no different. As health care professionals, we should be actively involved in preventing the negative health impacts of climate change.”

Learn more about Des Moines University’s efforts to educate and inform others about the effects of climate change at DMU’s Global Health website.

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