Abbreviations and acronyms

Acronyms are acceptable after full first reference. For acronyms of more than two letters, do not use periods. Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory (SPAL)


3200 Grand Avenue Des Moines, IA 50312

Spell out “Street,” “Avenue,” “Suite,” etc.

Use postal codes for states “IA,” “IL,” “NE”

Academic degrees/programs

Lowercase degrees if used in a sentence: Become a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

Lowercase when full name is not used: he earned his master’s degree

Capitalize if used in a heading or referring to the official program name: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Master of Public Health program.

Use periods for degrees (D.O.) but not for credentials (FAAO).

Program Degree
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine D.O.
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine D.P.M.
Doctor of Physical Therapy D.P.T.
Master of Health Care Administration M.H.A.
Master of Public Health M.P.H.
Master of Science in Anatomy M.S.
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences M.S.
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies M.S.
Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences Ph.D.

Alumni and student reference

Gender and plural forms – alumni refers to both men and women; the singular male is alumnus; the singular female is an alumna.

When naming a current student or alum, identify them first name, last name followed by the abbreviation of their program and the year they graduate/ed. (e.g. Joe Smith, D.O.’89). Do not refer to a graduate as Dr. Joe Smith, D.O.’02.

Buildings and rooms

In general, use the proper (complete and capitalized) name on first reference. Subsequent references may be shortened and in lowercase if the meaning is clear. 

Academic Center (AC)
Alumni Hall
anatomy lab
Des Moines University Clinic (DMU Clinic) never Tower Medical Clinic. If referencing building: DMU Clinic building
Des Moines University Foot & Ankle
Human Performance Lab (HPL)
Munroe building
Olsen Center
Ruza Lecture Hall
Richard M. Ryan Hall (Ryan Hall)
Iowa Simulation Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Skills (Iowa Simulation Center)
Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory (SPAL)
Student Education Center (SEC)
surgery skills lab
simulation lab


The names of colleges are always capitalized:

College of Health Sciences (CHS)
College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM)
College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS)

When referring to a specific college, capitalize college. Board members from the College…

Compound and hyphenated words

Refer to AP Style and dictionaries for proper use.

Common words
dual degree (no hyphen)
health care (two words; no hyphen)


Abbreviate when listing a degree after someone’s name; use commas to separate multiple degrees or credentials. Use periods in degree abbreviations. e.g., John Smith, D.O., FACOS, FACS

Departments, committees and boards

Official names of departments are capitalized: Alumni Relations, Anatomy department, Animal Care Facility, Financial Aid office, Admission office, Global Health department

Unofficial names are not capitalized: Visit the alumni office

Committee names are not capitalized: John Smith is part of the taxonomy committee for the new portal.

DMU Board of Trustees (on second reference “the Board”)

Des Moines University name

On the first reference, use “Des Moines University”

On the second reference, use “DMU”

On the third reference, use “the University” (uppercase)

Des Moines University standard description

Founded in 1898, Des Moines University is a health sciences university comprised of three colleges offering nine graduate degrees. Programs in the colleges of osteopathic medicine, health sciences and podiatric medicine and surgery share a collective strength — a collaborative campus community where students and faculty come together in the pursuit of knowledge. The mission of the University is to develop distinctive health professionals committed to health promotion, the discovery of knowledge and service to the community.

Events and programs

In general, use the proper (complete and capitalized) name on the first reference. Subsequent references may be shortened and in lowercase, if the meaning is clear.

Nationalities and other groups of people

Capitalize the specific racial, linguistic, tribal, religious and other groupings of people, such as African American, Asian American, Caucasian, Latina/Latino and Native American. Do not hyphenate.

Numbers, dates and times

Consult AP Stylebook. Here are some common rules.

Ages Use numbers for all ages (e.g., “The 2-year-old child will be 3 years of age next year.”)
Dates When citing a specific date, usually include the day of the week on first reference.
Do not use “st,” “nd,” or rd.” The event is Sept. 1Use a comma after dates included with years. The alumni reunion was June 15, 2008, at DMU.For headings of text and for invitations, do not abbreviate the days of the week and months. Examples: Monday, August 20, 2010
Do not capitalize seasons “spring”, “summer”, “fall” and “winter”.
Dollars Use numbers to indicate dollar amount, followed by the written designation as needed (e.g., 5 cents, $60,000, $4 million)
Numerals Spell out numbers one through nine, and when any number begins a sentence. Use Arabic numerals for everything equal to or great than 10 (e.g., 20, 38).
Ordinal numbers Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location. Starting with 10th use figures (e.g., “The 11th annual event will be held on the second floor.”).
Percentages Write out the word percent after a number (e.g., “The results show that 50 percent of the students benefited from the program.”). The percent sign (%) can be used for tables.
Phone numbers When writing out phone numbers separate the area code and the phone number with a hyphen instead of parentheses (e.g., 515-271-1400). Do not add a "1" before toll-free numbers (e.g., 800-240-2767 rather than 1- 800-240-2767). Avoid using mnemonic words or phrases, but if you do then also display the numerals to accommodate the use of various mobile devices.
Times Use figures, except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Do not use :00 if the time is on the hour. Examples:

  • 11 a.m.
  • 4:15 p.m.
  • from noon to 1 p.m. (use "to" when the phrase includes "from")
  • noon-1 p.m.
  • Exceptions for formal invitations: Please join us from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., or 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Other words and phrases

DMU Magazine
continuing education (CE) credit
evidence-based learning (EBL)
Matthew’s Bookstore
Mobile Health Clinic
osteopathic manual medicine (OMM)
osteopathic manual treatment (OMT)
Personal Wellness Profile (PWP)
President’s Society
problem-based learning (PBL)
Student Government Association (SGA)
Significant Other’s Support (SOS)

Serial comma (Oxford comma)

Do not use a serial comma before the last “and” or “or” in a list, except for clarity. I like bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast. His favorite sandwiches include peanut butter, ham and cheese, and tuna fish.


Before a name – capitalize (e.g. President Angela Franklin)
After a name – lowercase (e.g. Angela Franklin, president)
Without a name – never capitalized (president, professor)
Drop titles and first names on subsequent reference.

Website Links and URLs

On web materials, link words that describe where the link is going e.g. Learn more about financial aid. Do not type URLs out e.g. Learn more at

On print materials, type the URL out but do not include “https://www” e.g.,

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