A selfless investment in the future of physical therapy

Traci Bush, M.S.P.T.’95, OTR/L, D.P.T., D.H.S., has a vision for the program she leads at DMU that will endure long after she’s no longer its leader.

A DMU alumna and chair and director of the University’s doctor of physical therapy (D.P.T.) program, Dr. Bush recently made a gift to DMU’s Purple & Proud Campaign to establish an endowed Physical Therapy Department Fund. Because it’s endowed, its principal will remain intact while it earns interest; as she specified, those earnings will be used at the discretion of the D.P.T. program chair and director to support initiatives within the program. The fund will continue to generate earnings for that purpose long after she no longer has that role.

The annual White Coat Ceremony is held in the ballroom at the Community Choice Convention Center in Des Moines Friday, August 27, 2021. Pictured is Traci Bush, D.P.T., OTR/L, DHS, physical therapy department chair and program director, giving remarks. (DMU Photo by Brett T. Roseman)

“As we grow and develop as an academic program, we always will strive to meet the needs of the people we serve – our students, their future patients and the University,” she says. “My goal for any gift I give to DMU is to achieve those objectives.”

That could mean supporting initiatives such as scholarships, curricular innovations and opportunities for faculty for professional development.

“The whole impetus will be to enable the department to grow, whether globally or on an individual basis, under the auspices of DMU’s mission and vision to train highly competent and compassionate health professionals,” Dr. Bush says.

She’s made previous gifts to the Purple & Proud Campaign to express her gratitude for her own opportunities to grow and develop. After graduating from DMU’s physical therapy program and practicing at Skiff Medical Center in Newton, IA, she returned to the University and has since served in several roles, including as a faculty member, clinician, manager of the DMU Physical Therapy Clinic and president of the Faculty Organization.

“At DMU, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with incredibly dedicated and talented individuals, colleagues who give so much to support our mission and advance our cause,” she says. “Des Moines University has provided me with the unique experience of working with the best and brightest of students – men and women who, upon leaving this institution, make tremendous contributions to the lives of their patients, the entities they serve and their communities. For that, I am grateful.”

The 2013 College of Health Sciences Alumna of the Year and a past recipient of the DMU Outstanding Teaching Award and University Service Award, Dr. Bush also has included the University in her estate plan. She is a member of the Founders Society, which honors donors of cumulative lifetime gifts of $100,000 and greater.

“For literally half of my life, Des Moines University has been a constant for me. It is only fitting for me to give back,” she says.

The Physical Therapy Department Fund she has created will do just that. She also hopes it will inspire others to support DMU and the Purple & Proud Campaign.

“In any way I can, I would like to motivate others to give,” she says. “Donors will know gifts to this department fund will directly benefit the D.P.T. program. Together, we can create great opportunities for its future leaders to be innovative and creative in providing students the very best education.”

For information about ways to benefit aspects of the University, visit the Purple & Proud donation website, or contact Development and Alumni Relations at 515-271-1387 or donations@dmu.edu.

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