Iowa invests in DMU students

DMU’s 2017 loan repayment recipients with (at far right) Leah McWilliams, executive director of the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association, and Larry Severidt, M.D., director of medical education in family medicine and primary care, Broadlawns Medical Center: front row – Spencer Turner, D.O.’17; Dylan Lowe, D.O.’17; Haley Hogan, D.O.’17; back row – Bekah Corbin, PA’17; Michael Simons, D.O.’17; Brittany Waletzko Bartz, D.O.’17; George Starlin, PA’17

Des Moines University is the nation’s number-one producer of general practice health care providers, and that was evident at a recent reception for seven members of the Class of 2017. These graduates – five in DMU’s osteopathic medical program and two in the physician assistant studies program – will soon embark on their health care careers in rural Iowa with much lighter student loan debt thanks to the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program and the Health Professional Recruitment Program.

Administered by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, these programs address critical shortages of health care providers in rural Iowa by providing loan repayment benefits to students who commit to rural practice for a specific number of years. The programs are a win-win both for participating graduates and the communities they go on to serve.

“Loan repayment helps us focus on getting the training and moving forward to become better physicians, rather than focusing on repaying our loans,” said Spencer Turner, D.O.’17. Added Haley Hogan, D.O.’17: “This lets us focus on providing excellent patient care.”

Five years ago, DMU partnered with the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians to lobby the Iowa Legislature to fund the loan repayment programs. “What a success this has been for our graduates,” DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., said at the reception. “The results are powerful, with 29 graduates making this commitment to Iowa. Today we add seven more health care professionals to rural Iowa from DMU.”

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