As a pre-health major at Central College in Pella, IA, Benjamin Byers thought he would become a veterinarian. When his adviser suggested he consider human medicine instead, Dr. Byers decided to enter a now-defunct program in which DMU enrolled promising Central undergraduates as a way to recruit future physicians.
“I feel that DMU had such a big part in where I am today. I’m grateful the University took a chance on me,” he says.
The 2001 graduate of DMU’s osteopathic medical program and his wife, Debbie – who met at Central – recently expressed that gratitude by designating a portion of their estate for DMU. Their generous gift represents a contribution to DMU’s Purple & Proud Campaign and also makes them members of the Legacy Society, which recognizes donors who make planned gifts or bequests to the University.
Dr. Byers, D.O.’01, FACOG, has already established a legacy as a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist at the Center for Maternal and Fetal Care, part of the Bryan Physician Network, in Lincoln, NE. He works primarily with patients who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies.
“My wife was cared for by an MFM physician when she was pregnant due to a medical condition. I was really impressed by the comfort and care that specialist provided,” he says. “I wanted to be able to extend that type of care to other pregnant women.”
Dr. Byers acknowledges that he has to deliver “bad news” to some of his patients – they “go through cases of Kleenex,” he says – but that’s why he strives to be straightforward and thorough in his patient communication, counsel and treatment.
“Being a father of three and a husband, I understand the anxiety that goes along with a high-risk pregnancy,” he says. “Even though situations can be very emotional, I try to assure patients that I have a full and objective plan. Patients want that assurance.”
A Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and board-certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, Dr. Byers brings to his patients expertise from his years of practice, a four-year obstetrics/gynecology residency and a three-year maternal-fetal medicine fellowship. He also served as an officer and physician in the U.S. Army for 13 years, during which he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and was deployed to Iraq as a battalion surgeon in 2011.
Dr. Byers has fond DMU memories of lifting weights and playing pick-up basketball games with friends when the campus still bore signs of its previous life as a Catholic girls’ school. He and his wife chose not to specify the purpose of their estate gift, allowing the University to determine where it will have the greatest impact.
“I’m excited about the future of DMU with the new campus in West Des Moines,” he says. “We have a family practice residency here in Lincoln, and there are usually a few DMU grads in the program, so it’s nice to swap stories with them.”