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Rural Health Initiatives

DMU is the nation’s top producer of family medicine providers. Our alumni serve communities nationwide, and many of our students are committed to rural practice. Enriching their knowledge and abilities in this type of practice will let the University expand its outreach to underserved rural areas.

Rural Pathway Elective

This popular elective track gives DMU students hands-on clinical experiences and insights into the special aspects of rural medicine. Students learn best practices for establishing a clinic and developing community relationships.

The University will expand its ability to offer more students clinical rotations in rural communities that will enrich their preparation and demonstrate DMU’s ability to benefit underserved populations.

Rural Scholarships

Scholarships are invaluable for making health care education and careers accessible to more individuals.

By funding scholarships for outstanding students who commit to rural practice, supporters can directly benefit underserved communities. Increased investment in rural scholarships will help fulfill DMU’s priority of serving the health needs of smaller communities.

The DMU Mobile Clinic

Call it health care and wellness on wheels. This 38-foot customized Winnebago motorhome is equipped with two complete medical examination rooms, a waiting area and a restroom. It is the vehicle DMU uses to take medical care to Iowa’s underserved communities.

Increased investment in the DMU Mobile Clinic will generate these benefits:

  • Meet the growing, documented need in Iowa communities and schools.
  • Allow more frequent use of the clinic in different areas of the state.
  • Make the Mobile Clinic a rotation for students.
  • Provide funding for physicians, certified medical assistants, medical students and drivers.
  • Ensure brand visibility across the state for DMU and its partners.
  • Supplement the state’s health data collection with another source of community health care information.

Cultural Competency Initiatives

The University’s mission includes developing students’ cultural competency – the ability to interact with a wide range of individuals, families and populations with knowledge, sensitivity, skill and respect, according to their cultural needs, values, beliefs and risk factors. DMU will proudly expand its current efforts to prepare students to serve diverse patients and communities, especially the underserved.

Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars Program (Health P.A.S.S.)

This program gives promising college students a transformative opportunity to improve their chances of becoming accepted to medical school and other health sciences programs. Offered free to participants, the program provides immersive experiences and exposure to health care education and careers. Preference is given to students under-represented in health care, including minority, low-income and first-generation college students.

Named Lecture Series

Support for a new lecture series will help cast a national spotlight on DMU as a facilitator of vital discussions about the most pressing public health issues. The purpose is to invite top national leaders on a broad range of health issues to share their invaluable expertise and perspectives with DMU and the Des Moines community. In short, we invite them to inspire us to reach higher.

Minority Scholarships

DMU’s Glanton Fund supports scholarships for minority students under-represented in health care as well as diversity initiatives that benefit all students. The fund’s growth over the years demonstrates the University’s commitment to diversifying the health care workforce. It also shows that DMU’s supporters believe in this critical goal. Increased scholarship support will enable DMU to expand its efforts to recruit and assist high-achieving students of diverse backgrounds. Accomplishing these efforts, in turn, will support the University’s priority of enhancing all students’ intercultural sensitivity and ability to treat patients in increasingly diverse communities.

Scholarships and Funds

The University has established a variety of funds that provide critically needed scholarships, bring distinguished experts to campus, support provocative conferences and more. Each DMU college and academic program has a scholarship fund as well as a fund that supports their specific priorities.

 View the full list of available scholarships

Endowed Scholarships

Many donors choose to create “unrestricted” scholarships, which give the University flexibility in awarding funds to students with the greatest financial need. Donors also may define criteria for recipients of the scholarship, including DMU college or program, grade point average or level (e.g., first year, second year, etc.).

Endowed scholarship funds are a lasting source of support for students, because only the earnings – not the principal – of the funds are paid out as scholarships. In addition, endowed scholarship funds may be named by the donor, a wonderful way to honor a loved one, a family name or an individual important to the donor for years to come.

The minimum gift required to establish an endowed scholarship fund at DMU is $50,000, which may be given as a onetime gift or with a pledge to the University. The first award is made once the endowment is fully funded.

Creating a named endowed scholarship

The first award is made once the endowment is fully funded. Options for named endowed scholarship funds include the following:

Scholarship funds College of Osteopathic Medicine College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery College of Health Sciences
Presidential Scholarship
(full tuition)
$1,000,000 $700,000 $700,000
Dean’s Scholarship
(half tuition)
$500,000 $350,000 $350,000
Merit Scholarship
(quarter tuition)
$250,000 $175,000 $175,000
Endowed Scholarship $50,000 $50,000 $50,000

Expendable Scholarships

Donors can establish and name an expendable scholarship with a minimum gift of $25,000, which can be funded over five years with a pledge commitment. Expendable scholarship funds do not accrue interest. The scholarship is awarded as long as its fund has a balance.

Recipients of expendable scholarships are selected by DMU’s Office of Financial Aid, in collaboration with the University’s three colleges, based on need and/or academic achievement.

Donors can choose to endow an expendable scholarship by making additional gifts.

Mental Health Initiatives

The dire lack of access to mental health care represents a moral, medical and financial catastrophe worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, one of every four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. To help tackle this enormous crisis, in 2017 DMU became the nation’s first medical school to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to provide training for its clinical students to recognize and respond to patients with mental illness.

NAMI Provider Training

All students in DMU’s four clinical programs – osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physician assistant studies and physical therapy – will be required to participate in the three-day NAMI provider training program. The goal is to give these future health care providers a framework for understanding patient needs, develop appropriate treatment plans and refer patients to available resources. The NAMI program also seeks to foster clinical empathy for patients, dispelling negative stigmas of mental illness.

Internship Site in Psychology

To further enrich the health care workforce, the University intends to develop an internship site in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association, staffed by one licensed psychologist as a director and two licensed psychologists. Staff and interns will collaborate with DMU providers and students. Achieving final accreditation is a five-year process.


“Cultural competency in medicine is designed to introduce and engage students in important conversations about diverse populations and how to deliver culturally responsive care. It’s critical to effective care.”

Richard Salas, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity Officer

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