Glanton - 17th Anniversary

Now in its 17th year, the Glanton Fund generates scholarships for minority students, who are under-represented in the health care professions, and supports programs that foster the cultural competency of all DMU students.

Thanks to generous donors who believe in its important purpose, the Glanton Fund has grown to nearly $3.3 million and has provided more than $2.5 million in scholarship dollars. That support has permitted DMU to create curricular and extracurricular programming that is life-changing for our students, helping them understand the power of cultural awareness and understanding.

Please stand with the DMU community as we pursue the crucial work demanded of us. This is our time to seize an opportunity for change.

Purple & Proud: the Campaign for Des Moines University

Supporting Diversity in Health Care

On December 8, 2018, Des Moines University launched Purple & Proud: the Campaign for Des Moines University. This $25 million fundraising effort, the largest in DMU’s history, will enable DMU to have a powerful impact on health and health education. One of the key priorities for the campaign is to continue to grow the mission of the Glanton Fund by providing critically needed funding for minority students under-represented in health care and supporting other efforts that enrich and enhance the cultural competency of all DMU students.

Join us again as part of our dedicated group of Glanton donors. Help us continue to be Purple & Proud, fueling the positive ripple effect you and other Glanton supporters have multiplied throughout the years. You will change the world by changing the lives of our students and the patients they'll go on to serve.

Meet the 2020 Glanton Honorees

Robert Sieman, D.O.’73, and Loretta Sieman, M.S.E.

On a recent late-spring day, the entryway of the Clive, IA, home of Robert Sieman, D.O.’73, and Loretta Sieman, M.S.E., was lined with goodie bags that Loretta assembled for her fellow volunteers in the Iowa Mask Brigade. The group of 35 women and men over the age of 70 are working toward their goal of producing and distributing more than 7,000 medically approved face masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus. So far, they’ve sent masks to hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and police departments across Iowa and around the country.

This effort exemplifies the lives and careers of the Siemans – Robert, who has devoted his practice to serving families, expecting mothers and menopausal and post-menopausal women and men, and Loretta, a retired teacher and West Des Moines City Council member whose list of volunteer activities runs four pages, single-spaced.

“He brings them into the world, I make sure they’re happy,” she says of her spouse. Adds Robert: “’No’ is not in her vocabulary.”

The couple will be celebrated as the 2020 Glanton honorees in conjunction with a virtual event on Thursday, Oct. 8. This annual fundraiser raises money for the University’s Glanton Fund, which supports scholarships for minority students under-represented in the health professions and programs that foster the cultural competency of all DMU students.

Robert and Loretta met at Drake University, where he earned his pharmacy degree and she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and education and secondary school administration, respectively. After they began their careers, Robert decided to pursue a different path.

“I wanted and needed more in my life and I decided to make a career change,” he says. He was among the last classes to attend the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, now DMU, at its downtown Des Moines campus. The college moved to its current location, 3200 Grand Ave., in 1972, one year before he graduated.

“By that time, I was on clinical rotations, so I wasn’t on campus much,” he says. His class’s commencement was held on the new campus lawn, which wasn’t unfamiliar territory to Loretta; she had graduated from St. Joseph Academy, the Catholic girls’ high school that previously occupied the Grand Avenue location.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have attended DMU, allowing me the ability to continue my education and become an ob/gyn physician for many years in central Iowa,” he says. “While at the University, I went through much soul-searching under the leadership of Dr. Leonard Azneer, as the school was also challenging its future.”

Loretta says DMU was a “great experience” for hers, too.

“As the Student Wives Club president, I traveled with President Azneer to conventions, where I learned about the needs of people in our country,” she says. “Bob and I, along with our sons, Brian and Keith, had a good life. It was important to us that others should have the same.”

Robert went on to a family medicine residency and an obstetrics/gynecology residency at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He then became board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Loretta had already launched her teaching career, including at Des Moines’ Washington Irving Junior High at 14th and Forest.

“I loved my kids. They were very straightforward – if you’re straight with them, the were straight with you,” she says.

Loretta was a member of the West Des Moines Community School District Board – which she served as vice president and president – when she was asked to run for the West Des Moines City Council. She was the first woman elected to the council, which she served on for 17 years, through six mayors, significant development in the city and a population increase of more than 50 percent.

“All the council members were younger than me. I was the mom,” she recalls.

While Loretta’s decades of civic service and volunteerism encompass practically every charitable organization and board in central Iowa, it’s the roles that benefit youth that have been most meaningful to her. She recalls a fundraising event for Variety Club, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children who are at-risk, underprivileged, critically ill or living with special needs. She served as chair of its annual auction and as president, treasurer and secretary of its board.

“A little boy climbed on my lap and asked, ‘Are you Miss Variety?’ I told him no, but that I work for them,” she said. “He then told me, ‘I never had a bike before.’ My parents taught me that if you help people, life would be better for you.”

Robert served in leadership roles in health care, including as chair of the obstetrics and gynecology departments at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Mercy Hospital; a member and chair of the continuing quality improvement committee at The Iowa Clinic PC; and a member of the utilization review board for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota. He now is medical director of New Leaf Wellness in West Des Moines and in Oklahoma.

Loretta also worked for Business Publications Corp. as vice president for community relations; she now has her own business, LJS Consulting.

Both Robert and Loretta praise the leadership of DMU President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., including in DMU’s becoming the nation’s first medical school to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), the nation’s leading advocacy group for mental illness, to offer its provider education program to third-year osteopathic medical students. All medical schools train students how to diagnose mental illness, but DMU takes that further by requiring its D.O. students to learn to recognize mental illness among their patients and then treat them or refer them to appropriate care givers.

Sadly, the Siemans’ son Kevin died from complications of diabetes while also experiencing the trauma of mental illness.

“DMU has again stepped in and partnered with us and NAMI to give a great deal of help, training their medical students about mental health and sponsoring NAMI’s Beautiful Minds event,” Loretta said, referring to the organization’s annual event that raises awareness and financial support by having local actors portraying famous thinkers who had mental illnesses. “We will always be grateful to Dr. Franklin for knowing the importance of the issue and stepping to the forefront.”

Adds Robert: “Dr. Franklin has challenged the University, the students, our community and beyond about the needs we have and how we can be a leader in making medicine better."

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