As an undergraduate at Oregon State University, Ben Bogert majored in athletic training. He loved the field but realized it might not fit well with his hopes to have a family and optimal work-life balance. He began eyeing a career as a physician assistant (PA) and taking additional courses at a local community college. To apply for PA programs, he needed patient hours so became a medical scribe for an orthopedic and podiatric clinic. One of his colleagues there was the director of a podiatric medical residency program.
“I couldn’t have designed a more fortunate path to podiatry,” Ben says. “The people I worked with encouraged me to look into it. I felt like I had a great base of mentors.”
They also suggested he consider Des Moines University’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS). Now a third-year student in the college and president of his Class of 2021, this spring he was named the 2019-2020 CPMS Student of the Year. The award recognizes a third-year podiatric medical student, selected by fellow students and CPMS faculty, for exceptional performance in the areas of academics, scholarship and service. It includes a $500 scholarship from the college. Ben also will be submitted to the American Podiatric Medical Students’ Association (APMSA) for consideration for the national APMSA Podiatric Medical Student of the Year Award.
“There were many deserving students, so I was humbled to be selected for the award,” Ben says.
In addition to serving as his class’s president, he is a student ambassador for the University, a role in which he leads prospective students on tours and participates in interviews. He was on the CPMS team that in late January repeated as champions in the basketball tournament held annually in conjunction with the APMSA Academic/Athletic Conference. He also has helped provide health screenings to participants in Easter Seals Iowa’s Walk for Independence at Camp Sunnyside near Des Moines.
“I’ve always liked volunteering to benefit special needs causes,” says Ben, who served as a track and field coach for special needs individuals in his hometown of Beaverton, OR.
While the COVID-19 pandemic changed his third-year routine from clinical rotations to staying home with his wife, Kimberly, and their two children, James, 4, and Bruce, 2, he continued with virtual rotations, an online evidence-based medicine course and lots of Zoom meetings with classmates and faculty.
“I really value those friendships,” he says. “I’m proud of DMU and have enjoyed the camaraderie of our class.”