ASK alumni share residency stories, advice

For medical students, seeking and landing residencies – the training they go on to pursue after graduating – can be fraught with uncertainty and apprehension. How do they explore their options? What factors are most important to consider? How can they optimize their chances of landing the residency program they want?

Students in DMU’s osteopathic medical and podiatric medical programs received answers to these and many other questions in a residency forum on Sept. 30, 2019, which featured two alumni as keynote speakers and several alumni who participated in round table discussions. The forum was part of the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program sponsored by the University’s Development and Alumni Relations office. ASK is a mentor network of DMU alumni and current students, in which DMU graduates volunteer their time to share information and knowledge with students about their education, career choices and transitioning to life after DMU, and students have opportunities to connect with DMU alumni to gain knowledge and ask questions about their future careers.

The alumni staff worked to organize the forum with DMU student chapters of Sigma Sigma Phi, the national honors society for osteopathic medical students, and Pi Delta, which recognizes the academic achievements of students in the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery.

Dr. Troy Boffeli, second from left, with podiatric medical students Ben Tonsager, Jay Lechner and Ersta Ferryanto

The two keynote speakers were Troy Boffeli, D.P.M.’90, FACFAS, and Marc Squillante, D.O.’81, FACEP, FAAEM. Each has held numerous professional positions and has taught and mentored students for more than three decades. Dr. Boffeli is department chair at HealthPartners Foot and Ankle Surgery, St. Paul, MN, and staff surgeon with Tria Orthopedics, Woodbury, MN. He also is director of the Regions Hospital/HealthPartners foot and ankle surgical residency program, which he founded in 1997. 

Dr. Boffeli has trained nearly 40 foot and ankle surgeons and several hundred externs, most of which are DMU graduates. He is a Diplomate and past member of the board of directors of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) and the 2016 recipient of the college’s Distinguished Service Award. The 2013 Alumnus of the Year of DMU’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, he lectures nationally on topics related to practice management, documentation and coding, and foot and ankle surgery. He also has authored numerous research articles and related publications, including a textbook on osteomyelitis of the foot and ankle. 

After his keynote presentation, Dr. Marc Squillante gathered with students for a round table discussion.

Dr. Marc Squillante is clinical professor of emergency medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, where he also serves as a core faculty member and director emeritus of the emergency medicine residency program. He also chairs the Residency Program Review Committee in the university’s graduate medical education department and is an attending emergency physician at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Squillante is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. In addition to serving as an emergency physician, educator and student adviser, he has reviewed thousands of residency applications and interviewed thousands of students for more than 30 years.

Students write thank-you notes to alumni who shared their experiences and advice about residency programs.

The following alumni led round table discussions during the Sept. 30 residency forum:

  • Ben Christians, D.O.’18, is the chief resident in emergency medicine, now in his final year, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Next year he plans to move to Sioux Falls, SD, to work in a community hospital involved in teaching family and internal medicine residents, including in “e-medicine.”
  • Blake Hale, D.P.M.’18, is a second-year resident at Truman Medical Center Lakewood in Kansas City. His professional interests largely involve diabetic limb salvage and trauma.
  • Molly Ropte, D.O.’18, is a second-year resident at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, with which she rotates through the organization’s three central Iowa hospitals. After residency, she hopes to stay in Des Moines to pursue a career in hybrid internal medicine, working as both a hospitalist and in outpatient primary care.
  • Hannah Thompson, D.O.’18, is a second-year family medicine resident at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines. After completing residency, she plans to practice family medicine and obstetrics in rural Iowa.

Want to learn more about you can be a rock star to DMU students by sharing your experiences, expertise and advice? Visit the ASK Events and Details page or contact the Development and Alumni Relations office at 515-271-1463 or

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