President Franklin has led Des Moines University through an extraordinary era of advancement.

DMU President Franklin Receives CASE Chief Executive Leadership Award 

Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Des Moines University Medicine and Health Sciences, was honored April 16 with the 2024 Chief Executive Leadership Award for District VI of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The award recognizes an outstanding president, chancellor, headmaster or system head of a District VI CASE member institution for outstanding efforts in promoting and supporting education and institutional advancement.  

CASE is a global nonprofit association that serves educational advancement professionals in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and advancement services. It offers programming and networking through eight districts in the United States and Canada. District VI comprises Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. 

CASE District VI honored President Franklin for leading Des Moines University through an extraordinary era of advancement.

Franklin became DMU’s 15th president and CEO in 2011 after serving as executive vice president, provost and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. During her tenure at the university, DMU launched its $25 million Purple & Proud Campaign, the largest fundraising effort in DMU’s history. That goal was surpassed a year later, so DMU doubled the goal to $50 million, which it exceeded in January 2024.  

Franklin also led the university in building and moving its campus from 3200 Grand Ave. in Des Moines to a new 88-acre campus with state-of-the-art facilities and technology at 8025 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines. The 2023 move coincided with DMU’s 125th anniversary. 

Frequently featured in local and national publications, Franklin often speaks on the topics of women leaders, transformative leadership and the importance of fostering a culturally competent and diverse health care workforce ready to serve people and populations of all backgrounds. She has led DMU in developing partnerships with Iowa health systems and other higher education institutions to benefit aspiring health professionals. 

Also under her leadership, DMU: 

  • Received national recognition among all U.S. medical schools as one of the top producers of much-needed primary care physicians.  
  • Became the nation’s first medical school to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to offer NAMI’s provider education program to osteopathic medical students to equip them to recognize mental health issues among patients. 
  • Opened a new behavioral health clinic within the DMU Clinic to provide much-needed services. 
  • Added a Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. 
  • Was named a “Great College to Work For®” and an Honor Roll institution by the Chronicle of Higher Education and a “Top Iowa Workplace” by the Des Moines Register. 
  • Received the Institutional Excellence Award of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education; Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative Award in the large workplace category; and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and West Des Moines Chamber. 
  • Earned its second platinum-level Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America. 

Franklin has served on the boards of UnityPoint Health, Bankers Trust, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Harkin National Advisory Council, the Science Center of Iowa and United Way of Central Iowa. She chaired the Assembly of Presidents of the American College of Osteopathic Medicine, United Way of Central Iowa Health Cabinet, Greater Des Moines Partnership Workforce Education Board, American Heart Association Go Red for Women Movement Luncheon, JDRF One Walk to Cure Diabetes, and the Mental Health Workgroup of the Central Iowa Community Health Needs Assessment. 

Franklin also has served on the boards of the Association of Academic Health Centers and Furman University and as a member of the Adaptive Work Group Addressing Racism in Healthcare of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Her many awards include AACOM’s 2022 Dale S. Dodson Award in recognition of her significant contributions to the advancement and support of osteopathic medical education; the 2017 American Psychological Association Training Advisory Committee Special Award; the 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 2013 African American History Maker Award from the African American Museum of Iowa. In 2022, she was inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame, which honors the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to developing and enhancing the state’s business climate. 

Scroll to Top