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Health P.A.S.S.

Get a head start on getting into health professions school with Des Moines University’s Health P.A.S.S. The next Health P.A.S.S. program takes place June  4-24, 2016… apply today!

For questions, please call 515-271-1709 or email

Health PASS students wearing leg castsDes Moines University’s Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars program – DMU Health P.A.S.S. – is a great way for promising college students to prepare for and enhance their chances of getting into medical school and other health professions programs.

The three-week program is high-quality, hands-on and FREE. Health P.A.S.S. will provide participants with well-rounded perspectives on what it’s like to be a medical school student in osteopathic medicinepodiatric medicine and surgeryphysical therapy and physician assistant studies. In the program’s courses, clinical opportunities and practical exposure, students will gain the confidence that they can achieve a degree and career in any of Des Moines University’s four clinical areas – and the knowledge they need to get started. In addition, Des Moines University will cover the full costs of participants’ meals while on campus, materials, accommodations and reimburse travel up to $500.

Enrollment is limited to 10 students. Preference will be given to students who will be juniors or seniors in the 2016-2017 academic school year and applicants from populations under-represented in medicine and health care, including under-represented minority, low-income and/or first-generation college students. Students must have a minimum cumulative college grade point average of 3.2. 

The deadline for the application is February 15, and all related materials must be received by March 1.

Apply Today!

The Health P.A.S.S. Experience

Health PASS 2013Hands-on Learning

  • Experience what it’s like to be a DMU student!
  • Enjoy time in our labs: Anatomy, Simulation, Surgery, Human Performance, Physical Therapy and Osteopathic Manual Medicine.
  • Learn about casting, suturing and physical diagnosis through hands-on lessons from DMU faculty, staff and students.
  • Complete a research project that will challenge your critical thinking and research skills. You will present your final product to the campus community at the end of Health P.A.S.S.

Professional Development

  • Spend time shadowing various health care providers as they interact with their patients in the on-campus DMU Clinic. Past students have shadowed in Family Medicine, Foot & Ankle, Physical Therapy, Osteopathic Manual Medicine, and La Clinica.
  • Attend Information Sessions on current health care topics and find out more about the programs of your choice.
  • Participate in the Diversity & Health Film Series, which focuses on cultural competence in the health professions.  Through a series of videos and group discussion, you will expand your understanding of various cultures and learn how to work with a variety of patient populations in your future career as a health care professional. Upon completion of the series you will receive a certificate.

Admission Preparation

  • Learn about admissions requirements for DMU’s programs, as well as basic information about how to apply to graduate programs in the health sciences.
  • Learn what it takes to be a competitive applicant straight from the DMU admissions office. You’ll learn what to do and what not to do throughout the application process.
  • Attend sessions focused on strengthening your application such as how to write a personal statement, what to include on your application, and how to obtain strong letters of recommendation.
  • Participate in mock interviews with Des Moines University faculty and staff

Health PASS 2012Building Relationships

  • Heart 2 Heart Mentors Each Health P.A.S.S. student is paired with a current DMU student who serves as a Heart 2 Heart Mentor. Your mentor will assist you with your research project, help you prepare for your mock interviews, and let you know all about what life is like as a health professions student.
  • Admissions Advisor You will be matched with an Admissions Advisor, who is your source for one-on-one advice regarding your application to health professions school. Your Admissions Advisor can review your transcripts and give you suggestions, proof read your personal statement, and serve as a guide well beyond Health P.A.S.S.
  • Resident Assistant A current DMU student will serve as the Resident Assistant (RA) for the Health P.A.S.S. group. The RA will reside with the Health P.A.S.S. students at Drake West Village and will be responsible for all of the activities that occur beyond the formal Health PASS schedule. From dinners out to fun evening and weekend activities, your RA will help you enjoy all of what Des Moines has to offer. Your RA will quickly become a mentor with whom your relationship will last for years to come!
  • Meet DMU faculty, students, and staff In addition to the formal relationships listed above, you will also have the opportunity to interact with many other members of the DMU community. From the university President to Deans, Directors, and Faculty, we’re all excited to welcome you to Des Moines University.

How to Apply

Applications will become available beginning December 1, 2015, for the program that begins in June 2016. In order to be considered for the program, students must complete and submit the following:

  • Application for Health PASS
  • Health PASS application essay questions:
    • What do you hope to learn, achieve or gain from being a part of Health PASS?
    • Tell us about your desire to work in the health professions. What interests you, what motivates you, and/or what fears or concerns do you have?
  • Official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended
  • Parents’ 2015 (or most recent) Federal Tax Returns (only if identifying as economically disadvantaged)
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from a college/university science or math professor with whom you have taken a course, and the second from any professor with whom you have taken a course

Letters of recommendation may be submitted online at Transcripts and letters of recommendation not sent electronically may be mailed to:

Des Moines University – Health PASS
Multicultural Affairs
3200 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312

For questions, please call 515-271-1709 or email

Apply Today!

Discover Des Moines

Des Moines

The DMU neighborhood is tree-lined and creates an attractive blend of historic homes and businesses. Restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, pharmacies, banks and a variety of shops are located nearby.

Live at Drake West Village, which is located across the street from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, and is also conveniently located near Des Moines University. Amenities include two state-of-the-art fitness centers, game room with billiards, study lounges on every floor, barbeque grills, and much more.  More information is available at

iCubsDowntown is just two miles east of campus and features a city in the midst of revitalization. On just about every corner you’ll find a current or soon-to-be completed construction project, including a public library, science center, events center gateway park, and a multitude of new loft-style housing. There are unique restaurants, eclectic shops, art galleries, and a wide range of entertainment options. The downtown is quickly evolving into a contemporary urban center with something for everyone.

The surrounding city and suburbs are easy to get to (30 minutes max) and offer many dining, shopping, recreation, and entertainment venues. You don’t need to travel far for some serious shopping… West Des Moines is home to Pottery Barn, J. Crew, Williams Sonoma, Ann Taylor, Hollister and The Cheesecake Factory (just to name a few).

This is Des Moines

Pigs and corn—Iowa has plenty of both, but not in Des Moines! Contrary to what you may have envisioned, Des Moines is a real city with a relaxed metropolitan atmosphere supported by an area population of 571,592. Jordan Creek Town CenterEducation and cultural diversity abound in Des Moines. The metro area has 12 colleges and universities, and nearly 300 houses of worship that represent 79 different denominations or faiths. With miles of bike paths, several lakes and more than 130 parks in the greater Des Moines area, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Third largest insurance center in the world. Major employers include Allied Insurance, Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa. Des Moines has safe neighborhoods, great public schools, and many kid-focused events, attractions, and programs. Greater Des Moines is a great place to raise a family.

For more information about Des Moines, check out:


As a recent immigrant to this country, the Health P.A.S.S. program provided me with an inclusive atmosphere where I obtained clinical experience focusing on the importance of cultural competency- I highly recommend this program!

Koushik Paul

The Health P.A.S.S. program was my first and best summer internship. Being exposed to fields such as osteopathic medicine and podiatry opened my mind to the inter-professional relationships found in health care. My confidence was boosted and I feel more than prepared to be become a medical student, especially at DMU. Also, I learned that Des Moines is a beautiful place that I would love to live in. Coming from the south, it surpassed my expectations. I love it. I can’t wait until I’m able to apply to DMU.

Dionta Posey

DMU’s Health P.A.S.S. program was the best experience I’ve encountered where I could learn about the profession I want to go into, immerse myself at a graduate school as well as meet awesome individuals who share the same drive as I do. Health P.A.S.S. has provided me with information that is not readily exposed to me at my undergraduate university about steps to take in terms of the application process, interviews and financial obligations. This information is resourceful for anyone going into the health professional field and I would recommend this program to anyone. It is an experience that I will never forget and I am grateful that I was allowed the opportunity.

Khadijah Sampson

The Health P.A.S.S. program provided me the resources, support, and experiences that I needed to become a strong candidate for physical therapy school. This program helped me realize that physical therapy was my passion while still being able to learn of other health science programs. The faculty and staff were always friendly and approachable with any questions I had. Our heart to heart mentors provided us with their own personal experiences that gave us an insight on the great experiences they have had at Des Moines University. Dr. Salas and Ms. Pearce truly put their heart into the program and the students. Their dedication and commitment is outstanding. Without them, the program would not be the same. As a student who is applying for physical therapy school at the moment, I am excited to say that I am not overwhelmed of the process because of the support I still continue to receive from Des Moines University. Thank you DMU and Health P.A.S.S.

Elaine Rodriguez

My experiences at Des Moines University surpassed all of my expectations! Everyone from the staff to medical students, and faculty including the Dean, were very welcoming, warm, and friendly. From day 1 we were treated as health graduate students. Every day we were taught exciting medically-related lectures, we shadowed health professionals in the clinic, and we even learned OMM! Health P.A.S.S was such an amazing opportunity that I encourage anyone interested in medicine, podiatry, physician assistant, and/or physical therapy to apply. It is well worth the experience! Thank you Health P.A.S.S. Thank you Katie and Dr. Salas. Thank you Ben, Keniece, Oge, Ebonie, Ryan, Kelsey, and all of the other DMU students. And thank you Des Moines University!

Nikki Lewis


What is the cost? Des Moines University will cover the full costs of participants’ meals while on campus, materials, accommodations and reimburse travel up to $500. Your own money may be spent on souvenirs or additional activities outside of the Health P.A.S.S. experience.

Is housing provided? Participants will stay at Drake West Village while attending Health Pass.  Drake West Village is located next to Drake University, which is just a couple of miles away from DMU. The Drake neighborhood includes restaurants, shopping, and entertainment within walking distance. Transportation to and from DMU will be provided on a daily basis. Please see for more information about Drake West Village.

Are meals provided? Yes, while on campus!  However, restaurants and food off campus will not be covered.

What does a typical day look like? With Health P.A.S.S., there is no typical day!  Every day will be different as you experience shadowing, simulations, research, mock interviews and more!

Do I qualify? Enrollment is limited to 10 students. Preference will be given to students who will be juniors or seniors during the 2016-2017 academic school year and populations under-represented in medicine and health care, including under-represented minority, low-income and/or first-generation college students. Students must have a minimum cumulative college grade point average of 3.2.