Despite pandemic, DMU students go above and beyond for their communities

The past year has been a challenging one with the constant threat of the deadly COVID-19 virus looming. On top of this, Des Moines University’s medical and health sciences students must continue to prepare to enter the health care field via classes, labs, board exams, tests and rotations. Yet despite all of this, DMU students did not waver in their commitment to their communities.

This year 96 students, listed at the bottom of this post, were awarded the Des Moines University Student Service Award, which recognizes students who give back 50 or more hours in the academic year. Recipients must also complete a final reflection on their most meaningful volunteer experiences, resulting changes in their understanding of the community or themselves, possible ways they can continue their involvement with the group or social issue, any frustrations or challenges, and ways to make their experiences better or more meaningful.

In addition, to recognize students and student organizations that demonstrated outstanding leadership, nominations were collected from students for students, programs and organizations that made an impact over the 2020-2021 academic year. Our student organizations offer a wide variety of events each year to further students’ understanding of specific topics, hear from experts in their fields and to help build collaboration. Winners were selected by staff.

Congratulations to the following recipients: 

  • Most Active and Engaged Student: Mohamed AbdelGilil, D.P.M.’24
  • Student Leader of the Year: Carlye Marshall, PA’22
  • Student Organization of the Year: American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • Student Program or Event of the Year, 50 or more attendees: DMU Virtual Mentorship Program, AMSA
  • Student Program or Event of the Year, under 50 attendees: Specialty Panel, Internal Medicine Club

In lieu of a pinning ceremony, our Community Relations and Student Affairs team is congratulating these student leaders virtually. Please take a moment to read the attached “Letter to My Future Patients” by James Fahey, D.O.’24, below. Each student who received the DMU Service Award is required to reflect upon their volunteer experiences and write a letter to their future patients. We hope you will enjoy James’ reflection as much as we did. 

President Franklin also shares these words for recipients of Service Awards and Student Leadership Awards: “Congratulations on being recognized for your exemplary leadership and service to the Des Moines community and surrounding areas. Developing a strong sense of ‘community’ has always been important to us and is especially important at present. Des Moines University is proud of your efforts and applauds you for your dedication, compassion and commitment to excellence during these most challenging times. Although we are unable to gather physically to celebrate your achievements, please know that we remain ever supportive as you continue your journey to becoming highly successful leaders and healthcare professionals.”

“To my future patients” by James Fahey, D.O.’24:

Thank you for putting your trust in me. I know how hard that is. I have listened to your stories while volunteering. Many of these stories highlight discrepancies and mistrust. Many of you in the community do not feel that the medical world has your best interests. Some of you may even think that the medical field wants to exploit you—that you may just be a number.

Give me the opportunity to be your provider and I will strive to give you more faith in the medical community. I will show you patience. I will show you empathy and love. I will show you that your trust is not misplaced.

While volunteering, you have shown me that medicine can be scary. Sometimes patients must put their life in the hands of their providers. I want to applaud your bravery. As a provider I will show you that I do not take this lightly. I will try my best to put you at ease. I will show you safety and wellness are our priorities. I will show you that your goals are important – whether that goal is to be in less pain, or even to see your son’s next birthday.

In my time spent connecting with community, some of you have shown surprise. You were surprised that there was a human on the other side of the phone. You were surprised that there was no rush. Some of you just needed someone to talk to, and I think that is something that has been missing from the medical community. As a provider, I want to talk to you. I will make that known. Your worries are valid, and your stories are valuable. I do not need to remind you that we are on the clock by rushing. I hope to be a provider that shows that. I want to surprise you by showing you I am fallible. I want you to know that I am just like you. I am a human, and I just want to help.

Recipients of the DMU Service Award, with their DMU programs and anticipated graduation year

Gwenyth Amborski, D.P.M.’24
Abigail Arky, D.O.’24
Alexandra Arnold, D.P.M.’24
Grace Austin, D.P.T.’22
Maureen Azar, D.P.M.’23
Cole Bacig, D.O.’24
Jodi Backalar, D.O.’24
Kelly Bang, D.O.’24
Guriqbal Bhullar, D.O.’24, M.H.A.’24
Kelly Bonde, D.P.T.’21
Mikayla Brockmeyer, D.O.’24
Jill Broghammer, D.O.’24
Matthew Brooke, M.S.A.’22
Tory Bruch, D.O.’24
William Bui Tran, D.P.M.’23, M.S.A.’23
Madison Burandt, D.P.M.’23
Scott Chanthongthip, D.P.M.’24
Allen Chen, D.O.’23
Benjamin Christopher, D.O.’24
Cameron Chung, D.P.M.’24
Molly Cunard, D.O.’22
Tessa Cunha, D.O.’23
Kyle D’mello, D.O.’23
Clarissa Dahm, D.O.’24
Kathryn Doerner, D.O.’24
Cortney Elkin, D.O.’24
Emily Facile, D.O.’23
James Fahey, D.O.’24
Justin Frazier, D.P.M.’23
Sophia Fruechte, D.O.’23
Madison Galligan, D.O.’23
Raina Gerritts, D.O.’24
Amelia Gilliland, D.O.’23
Tom Givens, D.O.’24
Malia Griffin, M.S.A.’22
Julia Gutsch, D.O.’23
Austin Gutting, D.P.M.’23
Naureen Islam, M.P.H.’21
Tyler Johnson, M.S.A.’22
Aaron Joseph, D.P.M.’24
Erin Kaser, D.O.’23
Sarah Kennedy, PA’22
Emily Kenyon, D.O.’23
Elizabeth Kim, D.O.’24
Kendal Kuboushek, D.O.’24
Susan La, D.O.’24
Cassandra Lai, D.O.’23
Rebecca Lair, D.O.’23, M.P.H.’23
Crystal Lee, D.O.’24
Jackson Lindell, D.O.’24
Daniel Lowe, D.P.M.’23
Jimmy Luu, D.O.’24
Murisa Malagic, D.P.M.’23
Olivia Matz, D.O.’23, M.S.A.’23
Kylie McAllister, D.O.’24
Kirk Metzger, D.P.M.’23
Anastasia Meyerle, D.P.T.’23
Ariana Mitra, D.O.’24
Austin Morris, D.P.M.’23
Nicholas Pashina, D.O.’24, M.S.A.’24
Shreya Patel, D.O.’24
Hannah Pathmaperuma, D.O.’23
Nicholas Pomernackas, M.H.A.’21
Michael Poplawski, D.O.’24
Hannah Porter, D.O.’24
Coray Preece, D.O.’23
Tanner Pulsipher, D.O.’22
Doris Rapp, D.O.’24
Hannah Reussner, M.S.A.’22
Ashley Rone, D.P.M.’24
Andrew Root, D.O.’22
Justin Sachs, D.O.’23
Jessica Salpor, D.O.’23
Jasmeet Sandhu, D.O.’23
Amrita Sandhu, D.O.’24
Theresa Schneider, D.O.’23
Logan Schroeder, D.O.’24, M.P.H.’24
Taylor Scott, PA’22
Kaitlin Sebranek, D.P.M.’24
Rida Shaikh, D.O.’22
Jiyoon Song, D.O.’24
Andrea Stone, D.O.’24
Samuel Thomas, D.O.’23
Lydia Thomas, D.P.M.’24
Tayler Thomas, D.P.M.’23
Joanne Tu, D.O.’24
Kieja Veldman, D.O.’23
Taylor Vining, D.P.T.’23
Nitya Virippil, D.O.’24
Emily von Wald, PA’22
Rachel Welsh, D.P.M.’23
Leighton Wheeler, D.O.’24
Briana Williams, D.P.M.’23
Michayla Williams, M.H.A.’22
Natalie Wolfe, D.O.’24
Chaseton Womack, D.O.’23

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