After completing two years of college and then serving as a Navy medic during the Korean War, Martin Diamond decided to become a doctor. He switched his major to biology and applied to multiple medical schools.
“I went to Europe to try to get into medical school. When I got back, I had this telegram from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery [now DMU],” he says. “I had all-day interviews with everyone under the sun and was accepted by the end of the day.”
Dr. Diamond jokes that he got in COMS because “there must have been a cancellation” by another enrollee, but the college made a brilliant choice in accepting this future osteopathic leader and educator. Now the adviser to medical students at Nassau University Medical Center on Long Island, NY, he has served as founding dean of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, as associate dean for academic affairs and for preclinical education at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and associate dean for clinical education and postgraduate medical education at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, CA. He maintained an active family medicine practice during most of his career.
Dr. Diamond also has held numerous professional leadership roles, including member and chair of the New York State Board for Medicine, director and president of the New York State Osteopathic Medical Society, chair of the American Osteopathic Foundation and trustee of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). At age 90, he shows no sign of slowing down.
“I wake up every day and I’m still breathing, so I feel like I’ve got to do something,” he says.
That “something” has included giving back to his medical alma mater. He and his wife made a pledge to DMU’s Purple & Proud Campaign to name the Martin Diamond, D.O.’62, and Constance Diamond Small Learning Commons in the Innovation Building on the University’s new campus in West Des Moines. The building will house immersive, technology-rich spaces including research labs and simulation and skills suites.
Dr. Diamond also is a past member of the DMU Board of Trustees and the University’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was named the College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumnus of the Year in 1999 and has been honored for his distinguished service to the osteopathic profession. In 2009 the AOA awarded him its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Certification, for outstanding efforts to advance the osteopathic professional through education and philanthropy.
Those efforts included his ardent advocacy for the oppressed and persecuted in the Army, as a practicing D.O. and in his role in founding a D.O. school, Touro College, in New York’s Harlem. When he was asked to help establish the college, he agreed only if it would be located in a neighborhood with few doctors, high needs and a rich history. The only medical school in Harlem, Touro welcomed its first class on Sept. 4, 2007, in the former Blumstein’s department store, where a mentally ill woman had stabbed Martin Luther King Jr. in September 1958. Dr. Diamond stayed on board at Touro until 2009.
“Our mission in starting the college was to increase under-represented minorities in medicine and to serve an underserved community,” he says. “If I have any accomplishments, that’s one.”