The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) honored DMU President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., with its 2022 Dale S. Dodson, DO, Award, on April 29 during its annual conference in Denver, Educating Leaders, the largest gathering of osteopathic medical education (OME) professionals in the nation.
Created in memory of American Osteopathic Association (AOA) past president and OME innovator Dale S. Dodson, D.O., this annual award recognizes a current or past chief executive officer or chief academic officer of an osteopathic medical college who has made significant contributions to the advancement and support of OME. The late Dr. Dodson was a 1951 graduate of Des Moines Still College of Osteopathy and Surgery, now DMU, and the first individual the University honored as its College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumnus of the Year, in 1979.
“Being able to contribute to the continued advancement of osteopathic medical education is both an opportunity and responsibility for which I am incredibly proud. It’s important that we prepare the next generation of physicians with the finest educational experiences possible, so that they, too, can provide exceptional care to the thousands of patients they will help in their careers,” Dr. Franklin said at the event. “I am particularly moved to stand here for a very special reason – because Dr. Dodson is one of Des Moines University’s most notable alumni.
“Dr. Dodson embodies all the virtues we try to instill in our students today,” she added. “As you all know, he had a remarkable passion for helping others, as is shown by his exemplary career of service, not only as a physician, but as a tireless supporter of many organizations and causes from the Boy Scouts to the Rotary to the Chamber of Commerce to leadership of the AOA. He was a genuine trailblazer. He would really embrace the conference theme of ‘Educating Leaders,’ as I do.”
Dr. Franklin noted that communities and nations around the world “need the most well-trained and emotionally attuned physician leaders” to help osteopathic medical educators in their work.
“At DMU, I am proud to say that we recognize the vital role we play in not only educating our students to become competent and compassionate physicians, but we really place a value on shaping leaders – servant leaders to go out to impact their communities to serve, not be served,” she said.
Dr. Franklin became DMU’s 15th president in 2011. She has worked in higher education for more than 25 years. Previously, she was executive vice president and provost at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, where she oversaw academic and administrative departments and held a professorship in Meharry’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. During her tenure at DMU, she published the University history titled, “Now is the Time, Des Moines is the Place,” which chronicles a 100-plus-year history of training health care professionals. She established institutional goals and priorities and, in December 2018, launched the Purple & Proud Campaign, a $25 million fundraising effort; when donor support surpassed that goal a year later, University leaders set a new goal of $50 million.
Dr. Franklin also has led the University in an ambitious plan to build an entirely new campus on 88 acres of land in West Des Moines. DMU is on track to move to the new site in 2023, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of its founding.
Active in the Des Moines community as well as in national higher education and health organizations, Dr. Franklin serves on the boards of Bankers Trust, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Harkin National Advisory Council. She is also chair of the Assembly of Presidents of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the AACOM Adaptive Work Group Addressing Racism in Healthcare and the George Washington Carver Statuary Hall Project. In addition, Dr. Franklin is a former board member of the nationally recognized Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), United Way of Central Iowa, and the Science Center of Iowa.
Inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame on May 4, 2022, Dr. Franklin has received numerous awards, including the 2017 American Psychological Association Training Advisory Committee Special Award, 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the 2015 Mary McLeod Bethune Award (Educator of the Year) from the Iowa Juneteenth Observance Committee, and the 2014 Women of Influence Award from the Des Moines Business Record.
In addition to Dr. Franklin, honored this year by AACOM for their outstanding service, leadership and achievements were Margaret Wilson, D.O., dean and professor, A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Robert A. Kistner Award; Van Hipp Jr., chair, American Defense International, William D. Miller Award; and Samantha Nandyal, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, National Student DO of the Year.
“AACOM is proud to present four exceptionally deserving individuals with these prestigious awards,” says AACOM President and CEO Robert A. Cain, D.O. “Their contributions and commitment to OME and their strong examples of leadership and service have been rightfully recognized by their colleagues and peers, and we are pleased to formally acknowledge them for their dedication and accomplishments.”
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) leads and advocates for the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the public. Founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation’s osteopathic medical schools, AACOM represents all 38 colleges of osteopathic medicine—educating nearly 34,000 future physicians, 25 percent of all U.S. medical students—at 59 teaching locations in 34 U.S. states, as well as osteopathic graduate medical education professionals and trainees at U.S. medical centers, hospitals, clinics and health systems.