When Allen Kempf, D.P.M., M.S., and Jarrod Smith, D.P.M., FACFAS, joined the faculty of the DMU College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS) this year, they didn’t need a campus tour to get to know their way around. Both men earned their doctor of podiatric medicine degrees at the University.
“I walked past Ryan Hall and saw the window where I had my desk in Dr. [David] Strom’s lab,” says Dr. Smith, a 2008 CPMS graduate who, as a student, was a research assistant to the former associate professor of physiology and pharmacology. “It’s interesting being back in the lecture halls where I spent so many hours.”
The two new faculty members join fellow CPMS faculty alumni Kevin Smith, D.P.M.’95, Ph.D., M.S., FACFAS, dean of the college; Ashley Dikis, D.P.M.’12, FACFAS, assistant professor; and Sean Grambart, D.P.M.’01, FACFAS, assistant dean for clinical affairs; as well as John Bennett, D.P.M., FACFAS, associate professor; Denise Freeman, D.P.M., associate dean for clinical affairs; and Mathew Johnstone, D.P.M., AACFAS, assistant professor.
“It’s a great team. I’m really excited to be here,” says Dr. Kempf, a 2018 CPMS graduate.
Before becoming a podiatric medical student, he completed a master of science degree in biomedical sciences (M.S.B.S.) at DMU. At the suggestion of some of his faculty, he looked into podiatric medicine and shadowed James Mahoney, D.P.M., now CPMS faculty emeritus, to learn more.
“I liked how procedural-based podiatric medicine is and the relationships Dr. Mahoney had with his patients. He spent time with them and went the extra mile for them,” he says.
Dr. Smith was introduced to podiatric medicine as a youth with “foot issues.” For a middle-school assignment, he shadowed a podiatric physician and was attracted to the profession’s diverse practice options. He was offered interviews at all nine of the nation’s accredited podiatric colleges but chose DMU CPMS.
“It is the best podiatric school in the country in terms of its training and student outcomes, and the cost of living in Des Moines is a big advantage,” he says.
Prior to joining the college’s faculty, Dr. Smith had been the owner/operator of a private practice, Ankle and Foot Clinics Northwest in Everett, WA, for the past decade and also served as an attending surgeon for the foot and ankle surgical residency program at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. Dr. Kempf completed a podiatric medicine and surgery residency at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, PA, where he was chief resident in 2020-2021.
At DMU, both physicians are engaged in teaching, seeing patients in Foot and Ankle in the on-campus DMU Clinic and conducting research. Dr. Smith says that mix allows faculty to help students connect what they’re learning in class to treating patients, which CPMS students begin the summer after their second year.
“I really enjoy seeing students’ excitement when the lights come on,” he says. “In the first and second years, they may retain information to do well on a test. When they get into the clinic, they finally begin to understand why that information is important.”