Meet the DMU Health Leaders

Among Des Moines University’s 40-plus student clubs and organizations, there’s one that offers something for everyone: the DMU Health Leaders.

Open to students in all eight DMU degree programs, the Health Leaders Club offers opportunities to network with and learn from each other, alumni and other health care professionals. In a nutshell, it’s for students who are aspiring health leaders.

“In health care, we’re going to be working with so many others outside our line of practice. The sooner we learn that, the better prepared we’re going to be,” says new club President Amanda Dolley, a student in DMU’s osteopathic medicine and health care administration degree programs. “We’re the only club on campus that’s interprofessional, and that starts with our board.”

Members of the DMU Health Leaders Board include (in front): Akshay Bhanot, D.O.’21; Anjali Jain, D.O.’21; Amanda Dolley, D.O.’21, M.H.A.’22; (standing): Blake Bonnicksen, M.H.A.’21; Chris Moyer, D.O.’21, M.H.A.’22; Phil Jurasinski, D.O.’21, M.P.H.’22; Ryan Danielson, D.P.T.’19, M.H.A.’22; and the club’s faculty advisor, Darren Liu, Dr.PH., associate professor of public health.

A recent meeting of the Health Leaders Board indeed brought together students from multiple programs. Many Health Leaders members have been or currently are working professionals. Dolley, for example, was vice president at a financial institution for 13 years before deciding to pursue a medical career; immediate past Health Leaders President Blake Bonnicksen, who’s enrolled in the health care administration program, works in the retirement solutions department of the Principal Financial Group in Des Moines and aspires to be on the “front lines” of quality initiatives for a health care organization.

“Taking the administrative approach to health care will allow me to impact many individuals, from the way that providers approach their practice to the way organizations impact the community,” he says. “Health Leaders is a way we can begin removing that ‘disconnect’ in health care between clinicians and administrators.”

Other Health Leaders members are aspiring health care providers who want knowledge and insights on the industry’s administrative, managerial and financial aspects – and the ability to contribute to them.

“I chose to join DMU Health Leaders because I am passionate about health care leadership and want to help set DMU students up for success in the rapidly changing and team-dependent world of modern health care,” says Ryan Danielson, a dual-degree student in physical therapy and health care administration who is the club’s national representative chair. “Furthermore, I want to help enhance DMU’s reputation as the Midwest’s primary source for health care leaders and administrators, establishing a network of driven individuals focused on the same goal of positive outcomes for patients and employees alike.”

Among the Health Leaders’ upcoming events is an “effective networking workshop” featuring networking specialist and author Danny Beyer on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. The club also plans to offer events during Allied Health Week, Nov. 5-9.

The Health Leaders Club strives to make their events accessible via Skype and recorded video. That allows all students to benefit, including the many students in DMU’s M.H.A. and master of public health programs who don’t live in central Iowa. Club leaders also are working to engage more DMU alumni as well as other health care professionals in the community.

“We want to build relationships with alumni and our faculty as well as among students,” Dolley says. “I’m passionate about health leadership and leadership in general and about making sure we’re fully prepared when we get into the workplace.”

Students should watch the campus events calendar on Pulse for information on events offered by the Health Leaders and other student clubs.