Alumni representing all three DMU colleges and four academic programs joined the DMU Alumni Association Board of Directors this summer, while three graduates retired from the board. The following individuals are new members.
Johan Aerts, D.O.’03, is a surgeon who specializes in kidney transplants. Previously a surgeon with Mercy Transplant Center and Iowa Methodist Transplant Center, both in Des Moines, he is an adjunct lecturer in surgery at DMU. He is a member of the University’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network, which connects alumni mentors with current students. He is a volunteer for the pre-medicine club at Drake University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, and a member of a national advisory committee for its College of Arts and Sciences. Aerts also is a member of the advisory board of the Iowa/Nebraska chapter of the National Kidney Foundation and a speaker on the ethics of organ transplantation.
“Serving on the DMU Alumni Board will permit me to continue being engaged in higher education and osteopathic medical education specifically,” he said in his personal statement for joining the board. “I hope to be able to continue making a significant, but more critically, lasting impact on DMU medical students for years to come.”
Russell Dixon, PA-C’11, is a physician assistant in the emergency department of the Veterans Administration Central Iowa Health Care System and at the Iowa Clinic P.C. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa. He is co-chair of the Physician Assistant Professional Standards Board of the VA Central Iowa Medical Center. Dixon also is a preceptor for DMU students on clinical rotations, and he helps recruit prospective students.
“I believe in the University’s mission and would like to be a part of all the exciting changes that are coming,” he said in his personal statement. “Des Moines University is more than just a local institution, and I would like to connect with other alumni to help build upon its global footprint.”
Luke Groben, D.O.’06, is a cardiologist at the Iowa Clinic P.C. He is a member of the DMU ASK network and a preceptor for DMU students on clinical rotations. He serves on the Polk County, IA, STEM Task Force and the outdoor beautification committee and book fair committee of Bergman Academy, an independent school in Des Moines. He also chairs the outdoor beautification committee at the Montessori Children’s House. Groben earned his undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College.
“Des Moines University has provided me incredible opportunities both in my professional and personal life. I care deeply about the success of DMU,” he stated. “Participation of alumni is paramount to the success of any institution.”
Kelly John, D.P.M.’99, M.H.A.’99, is a foot and ankle physician at Rockford-Roxbury Clinic in Rockford, IL, and chair of the podiatry department at Rockford Memorial Hospital. She also serves as director of a podiatric medical and surgical resident program that she helped develop. A member of DMU’s ASK network, she was named the Alumna of the Year of the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery in 2018. She is a volunteer for Slam Dunk for Diabetes and at foot care events sponsored by Carpenter’s Place, a Rockford organization that serves people experiencing homelessness. She earned her undergraduate degree at the College of St. Benedict.
In her personal statement, John said the impact of the pandemic on her practice and schedule “forced me to reflect on what is truly important to me and where my personal goals fit into my professional goals.”
“Teaching, mentoring, community service and volunteerism are making their way to the top of my list as the push to be financially successful has faded,” she said. “What better way to begin this journey than by connecting back with DMU to foster the commitment to both excellence in health care but also excellence in community involvement?”
Eric Neverman, D.O.’12, M.H.A.’11, is chief medical officer of Grundy County Memorial Hospital in Grundy Center, IA. He is an adjunct faculty member at DMU and a preceptor for students on clinical rotations. He is a member of the Regional and Local Physician Governance Council and of the Northeast Iowa Medical Education Foundation Board. Neverman also is a founding member of the Grundy Center Walk with a Doc Program. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa.
“The DMU Alumni Board of Directors’ role is important because I am a proud graduate of DMU and want to help shape its future,” he says. “I am particularly excited about the campus rebuild in West Des Moines.”
Concluding their service on the Alumni Board are Pam Harrison Chambers, PA-C’92, M.P.H.’01; Sue Schooler, PA-C’92; and Sanford Zelnick, D.O.’80, M.S.
Pam Chambers served on the University’s physician assistant program faculty from 1994 until she retired in 2018 as associate professor emerita. She then worked as a health and wellness specialist with Skin Iowa P.C. in West Des Moines, IA. She was instrumental in starting DMU’s previous College of Health Sciences Alumni Board. She served as a member from 2005 until the transition to a single unified DMU Alumni Board in 2011. She joined that board and was elected president in 2015. Chambers was named the College of Health Sciences Alumna of the Year in 2011.
Sue Schooler founded and operates Skin Iowa P.C. in West Des Moines. She was among the first alumni to support creating a new alumni board for the College of Health Sciences, and she served as its first president. She then served on a task force that proposed a new structure and bylaws for unifying DMU’s three college alumni boards into one board. A longtime preceptor for physician assistant and osteopathic medical students, she was named the College of Health Sciences Alumna of the Year in 2006.
Sanford Zelnick is director of the Sumter County, FL, Health Department who served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service, retiring with the rank of colonel in 2007. He joined the DMU Alumni Board in 2011 and served as president from 2017 to 2019.
“We are so grateful to the retiring members of the DMU Alumni Association Board for their leadership and service, and we are excited about the ideas and energy the new members bring,” says Krystal Kruse, M.P.A., assistant director of alumni relations. “All their contributions strengthen and connect the association as a network of more than 14,300 graduates who represent the spectrum of health care in America.”