Benjamin Byers, D.O.’01, FACOG, and Rebecca Goldsmith, M.P.H.’13

DMU Alumni Board Welcomes New Members

Benjamin Byers, D.O.’01, FACOG, and Rebecca Goldsmith, M.P.H.’13, will begin their terms on the Des Moines University Alumni Board of Directors on July 1.  

“Our Alumni Board represents a diverse range of backgrounds, including graduates from all colleges at DMU. Together, we strive to foster connections, support current students and contribute to the growth of our alma mater,” says Robert Good, D.O.’77, MACOI, board president and a physician at Carle Health System in Champaign, Illinois. “We are thrilled to welcome our new members, whose expertise, passion, and commitment to our alma mater will undoubtedly enhance our already dynamic board.” 

As a DMU student, Byers, who graduated from DMU in 2001 with a degree in osteopathic medicine, joined the Health Professions Scholarship Program, which provides tuition scholarships to medical students in exchange for military service. He served as an officer and physician in the U.S. Army for 13 years, during which he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and was deployed to Iraq as a battalion surgeon in 2011.

“Hearing about my deployment was nearly devastating because I was 36 years old, married and had three kids,” he says. “But it ended up being a life-changing experience. Being in an austere environment for several months and really getting to know the soldiers in my battalion whom I took care of gave me an appreciation for what a light infantry soldier does every day. It was very meaningful and impacted me quite a bit.”  

An earlier and similarly life-changing experience put Byers on the path to his current role as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the Center for Maternal and Fetal Care, part of the Bryan Physician Network in Lincoln, Nebraska. His wife, Debbie, received care from an MFM specialist during a difficult pregnancy.  

“This physician was amazing. I thought, ‘That’s who I want to be,’” Byers says.   

A fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, Byers strives to have that positive impact as a preceptor and mentor for family medicine residents and physician assistant students at Union College in Lincoln. During an online session in DMU’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge program this spring, he talked with DMU osteopathic medical students about his specialty. He’s also working to increase access to maternal and infant medical care as a member of the Maternal Advisory Group of the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, which seeks to improve the delivery of evidence-based and equitable health care for all mothers and infants in the state.   

Byers says he’s excited to devote “time and talents” to DMU. He and Debbie already have designated a portion of their estate for the university as part of the Purple & Proud Campaign.  

“Des Moines University really helped me get to where I am now, and I want to give back what I can,” he says.  

In her various career roles and volunteer activities, Goldsmith, a 2013 graduate of DMU’s Master of Public Health program, has focused on building healthy communities and lives for Iowans, including those in greatest need. As a grant specialist with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, she works with communities and organizations throughout the state on projects seeking to reduce health inequities and enhance health in rural areas. She’s also worked in the department on initiatives that promote and improve early childhood and adolescent health issues, including screening for developmental delays and serving at-risk youth. She’s an expert on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and a curriculum trainer for other professionals who help individuals and families who suffer from childhood trauma.  

“I’m really interested in rural Iowa since that’s where I grew up,” says the Chariton, Iowa, native. “My parents have always been involved in the community, and they inspired me to do so as well, as a volunteer and in my career.”

A former Miss Iowa USA who devoted her tenure to volunteerism, Goldsmith was selected for the 2023 Forty Under 40 list by the Des Moines Business Record. In her letter of recommendation for the honor, her DHHS colleague Samra Uzunovic Hiros, M.P.H.’16, stated, “Rebecca has undoubtedly improved the health of some of the most vulnerable of populations in Iowa. … Her service truly impacts every corner of our state.”  

Beyond her career, Goldsmith is active in Central Iowa. She participated in Leadership Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute to build her skills and networks. She serves as the head cross country coach at three local middle schools and an assistant track coach at two. As a board member for MS Moments, a volunteer organization that seeks to provide resources for Iowans diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she’s led grant writing efforts and planned events. Her membership on the DMU Alumni Board is now another way she’s giving back.  

“DMU has done so much for me. It helped me get an internship and launch my career,” she says. “I’m excited to give the board my perspective as an M.P.H. graduate.”  

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