At DMU’s 17th annual Glanton fundraising event on Oct. 8, President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., said it looked “different” from previous years, and not just because it was held virtually.
“This year, we possess an even greater sense of urgency for change – a vital and pressing need to take action against the systematic, institutional, community and interpersonal racism that persists in health care,” she said. “The Glanton Fund is one way we all can take this action in support of advancing social justice.”
During the past year, donors gave a total of $306,000 to the Glanton Fund. As of June 30, the end of the University’s most recent fiscal year, the endowed fund had reached nearly $3.3 million and awarded more than $2.5 million to students since the fund was created in 2004. Named in honor of Iowa civil rights advocates Willie Stevenson Glanton and Judge Luther T. Glanton, the fund generates scholarships for minority students, who are under-represented in the health care professions, and supports programs that foster the cultural humility of all DMU students.
During the Oct. 8 event, Richard Salas, Ph.D., DMU’s chief diversity officer, described some of the University’s efforts to achieve the Glanton Fund’s goals.
“Increasingly, the persistent race-related health disparities we are experiencing demand action. DMU, for one, has been pioneering,” he said. “We have been intentional and specific in strategies to address the situation…Clearly, the call for change has never been stronger.”
LeAndre Kennedy, a Glanton Scholarship recipient and dual-degree student in DMU’s doctor of podiatric medicine program and master of science in anatomy program, during the event praised the University for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“As we all see, there are plenty of disparities and acts of hate that are occurring here in our country. Many of those are also in the field of health care,” he said. “But I am so encouraged to see just how committed DMU is to addressing those disparities and helping us learn to provide the best and most compassionate care for all people.”
Kennedy also thanked donors to the Glanton Fund. “As we look around and see all the prejudice, hate and inequality in this country, it gives me great hope to know there are people like you committed to resolving some of these disparities in health care,” he said. “Please keep doing what you are doing, and know that those of us who receive the Glanton Scholarship are beyond grateful.”
Russell Dixon, PA-C’11, a physician assistant in the emergency medical department of the Veterans Administration Central Iowa Health Care System, a member of the DMU Alumni Association Board, a past Glanton Scholarship recipient and now a sponsor of the event, told attendees he is “just one of many examples” of how donors’ support of the fund benefits communities.
“Your investment not only opens doors to aspiring health care providers like me. You also are having a positive impact on the patients we serve and the health organizations we are part of,” he said.
President Franklin urged attendees to embrace the responsibility we all have to “tackle difficult racial and ethnic issues in health care to bring about much-needed change.”
“The good news is that we can,” she added. “Supporting the Glanton Fund lets us have a direct impact on health care.”
Meet the 2020 Glanton honorees
The annual Glanton event is an opportunity for DMU to honor individuals in the community who work to create opportunities for others. This year’s Glanton honorees were Loretta Sieman and Bob Sieman, D.O.’73, the first DMU graduate to receive the honor. He is an obstetrician/gynecologist and medical director of New Leaf Wellness in West Des Moines, IA, and in Oklahoma. She is a retired teacher, the first woman to serve on the West Des Moines City Council and a volunteer for a wide range of causes and organizations.
“The [Glanton] fund really helps students who are equally qualified to get an education and to become physicians or other health professionals in the area,” Bob said during the Oct. 8 Glanton event. Loretta said she considered Willie Stevenson Glanton her “mentor” and praised both Mrs. Glanton and Luther Glanton for believing in the importance of education.
“I’m an educator. So of course I would back anything that would allow students to be able to go to DMU,” Loretta said.
You can read more about the Siemans at www.dmu.edu/glanton.