Alumnus honors faculty citizenship with his Purple & Proud gift

Karen and Steven R. Herwig, D.O.

As a student at the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, now DMU, Steven Herwig and some classmates established a chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), which he served as president his second year. They also created a used book store and the college’s first note pool in which students shared their class notes, both invaluable resources.

Following his residency training at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Dr. Herwig went on to serve his country as a medical officer at Malcolm Grow U.S. Air Force Medical Center in Washington, DC. An otolaryngologist in practice for 34 years, he served on the planning committee and as the first board chair of Lakeview Surgery Center in West Des Moines and as board chair of the Iowa Clinic. He’s served other organizations as well, including as a member of the UnityPoint Health-Des Moines Board and the national advisory board of the Drake University College of Pharmacy, from which he graduated before pursuing his medical degree.

In short, Dr. Herwig has incorporated service and citizenship in his life and career. That’s also the purpose of his leadership gift to Purple & Proud – the Campaign for Des Moines University: He and his wife, Karen, have established the Steven R. Herwig, D.O. Outstanding Faculty Service Award to recognize and reward faculty who go above and beyond their job descriptions.

“We wanted to encourage involvement beyond what’s required for a salary,” he says. “Physicians and professors have a standing in the community; people look to them to serve in societal roles.”

Dr. Herwig has been a faculty member himself. He was a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences during his Air Force service. Prior to his retirement in 2015, he was an adjunct associate professor of otolaryngology at DMU and a clinical assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to be a mentor,” he says.

Dr. Herwig is grateful for the mentors he had, too.

“My baccalaureate degree from Drake allowed me an educational foundation, and DMU made possible my lifetime ambition of becoming a physician,” he says. “I feel a profound level of gratitude for the career and sense of fulfillment I’ve been able to enjoy.”

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