Grateful alumnus invests in great teaching

Paul Emmans Jr., D.O.’71, has demonstrated a love of lifelong learning. A family medicine physician for approximately 40 years, he was asked by a fellow physician about 20 years ago to see some of his nursing home patients. Dr. Emmans took courses to gain certification in geriatrics. An employee of Community Health of Central Washington in Selah, he sees patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult group homes. He also was among the founding board members of Pacific Northwest University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, which opened its doors in Yakima, WA, in 2008.

Paul Emmans Jr., D.O.’71

“That gave me a perspective on medical education,” he says. That also, in part, inspired his recent gift to Purple & Proud: the Campaign for Des Moines University – the creation of an endowed fund to generate the Paul E. Emmans Outstanding Faculty Teacher Award. The award will recognize faculty members who demonstrate a commitment to teaching that results in student learning. That could include expertise and innovation in designing educational activities and use of technology, classroom presentation skills, student evaluations and professional role modeling.

“I think the faculty deserve recognition and some monetary support,” Dr. Emmans says. “Acknowledgment of excellence is important. It’s great for staff morale.”

His gift was inspired, too, by his father, Paul Emmans, D.O.’44, who also was a lifelong learner. A missionary in China for two years in the 1930s, he returned to the U.S. to attend business college. A doctor of osteopathic medicine in his church encouraged him to enroll at Des Moines Still College, now DMU. The senior Dr. Emmans practiced family medicine in Seattle and Spokane and later entered a surgical residency at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. He traveled to Japan to perform thoracic surgeries, eventually completing his residency at Des Moines General Hospital before returning to Washington. He also served on the board of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, now DMU.

The younger Dr. Emmans remembers faculty like Byron Laycock, D.O., who taught osteopathic manual medicine at the University from 1940 to 1975 and was a mentor to both himself and his father.

“DMU provided the foundation for my dad and me,” Dr. Emmans says. “It gave us the opportunity to learn and move forward with our lives and careers.”

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