As vice president of the DMU Student Government Association (SGA) during her second year in the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (UOMHS), now DMU, Katie Nelson Martin, D.O.’00, set as one of her goals to bring to the University a program her undergraduate pre-medicine buddies experienced at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine: a white coat ceremony to mark students’ “official” transition into medicine.
After SGA President Hal Hatchett, D.P.M.’00 – now a South Carolina podiatric surgeon and member of the DMU Board of Trustees – told her to run with the idea, Martin applied to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for a grant to pay for the coats. University administrators also supported the idea, springing for refreshments for a reception after the ceremony.
“I think I picked up my white coat at the bookstore,” says Martin, a pediatric emergency medical physician at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. “I thought there should be more to it than that, something to commemorate that students are making that transition to practice.”
Since its inauguration in 1997, the White Coat Ceremony has grown to a much-anticipated annual event held at the Des Moines Civic Center, attended by hundreds of family members, friends and the DMU community. Donors provide the white coats, reinforcing professional camaraderie.
Martin helped get the ball rolling on another event that’s become a favorite DMU tradition. She and classmate Chad Stephens, D.O.’00, talked with friends who were enrolled in the Drake University Law School about pitting students from both institutions against each other in an informal flag football game. A blizzard forced the inaugural event to be postponed from March to April and relocated from Drake’s intramural field to the football field of Dowling High School. That did nothing, however, to dampen the excitement for the men’s and women’s games of that year’s “Malpractice Bowl.”
“On April 18, 1998, the men and women of UOMHS, resplendent in purple – historically a symbol of strength and valor – surely proved their worth as they smote, yes smote, the mighty foe and rent them asunder!” recounted Charlotte Ellenbogen and Lisa Casalenuovo, both D.O.’01, in the May/June 1998 issue of The Innominate. “We salute the men and women of UOMHS, who once again proved that ‘We’re not just crackin’ backs!’”
The annual competition has since moved into Drake Stadium. Both rivals sport commemorative t-shirts with in-your-face slogans, such as DMU’s “’Is there a lawyer in the house?’ said no one ever” and Drake’s “The law is blind and so is your girlfriend.“
This year, DMU students celebrated the Malpractice Bowl, held on Sept. 28, with an entire Spirit Week, a campus ice cream social, a Friday night tailgate with a spirit squad and a post-game wine and cheese party.
“The Malpractice Bowl weekend is easily my and many other students’ favorite weekend of the year at DMU,” says Maggie Doe, D.O.’16, one of this year’s Bowl organizers. “It is an awesome event that truly captures the spirit of the DMU community.”
Another fun, fit and fitting tradition
What began in 2008 as an activity during DMU’s alumni reunion has grown into a campus-and community-wide run that generates fun, visibility and resources for DMU. More than
220 students, employees, alumni and community members participated in this year’s five-kilometer Run DMU. Overall winners were Jesson Baumgartner, D.O.’14, who set a new record time of 15:04, and his wife, Chelsie, who clocked in at 19:07. All proceeds were invested in the DMU Fund, which supports all aspects of a DMU education.