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Going the Distance Hard work is nothing new to Jonathan Escobar who has overcome many obstacles to become a nurse and the first to graduate college in his family.


Educating with Empathy In the beginning, Dr. Suzanne Crandall never really wanted to be a teacher, but now she is hooked. She is passionate about educating students to be compassionate and have sound clinical expertise with technology.


Physics, statistics, research methodologies, and mathematics might be boring to some but to Professor Glenn Oren, it might be the secret to life.


Raising a New Generation of Nurses Rhonda Heim lives a life service in her personal and professional life. She sees her students as her kids, and loves watching them “get it”, like a mom witnessing her baby taking the first steps.


Supporting Our Scholars With the leadership of Dixie Harmeyer Knowles, the Mercy Auxiliary keeps the 63-year tradition alive by giving aspiring students the financial stability they need to continue with their passion of a healthcare education.


Evidence-Based Enrichment Experiencing life as a staff nurse helped solidify the idea of advanced education and learning more about finding solutions for challenges faced in the environment of nurses for Dr. Diane Huber.


Cultivating Growth Teaching and nurturing is in Dr. Kim Oswald’s DNA and it shows as she helps Pathway students fulfill their lifelong dreams.


Extending Patient Reach Through Trust Mercy College has established a great partnership with Steve Cassabaum and 21st Century Rehab and in return it is a great opportunity for students for learning and employment.


from the publisher

Casting Science

Still Awed by Images From scrubs to suits, Mike Bohl shares his journey starting in the RT certificate program at Mercy College to managing Radiology Group, PC, SC and recently elected as president

Dear Friends: I’m pleased to share with you our second edition of Vital People, the companion publication to our regular news magazine, VitalSigns. Telling the stories behind the people who “are” Mercy College is very important to me. The people featured in this issue all played a significant role in our success this year – students, educators, teaching clinicians, clinical partners, employers, alumni and donors. Each has a unique role that is vital to our vision “to be a national leader for excellence in the delivery and innovation of health sciences education.” These individuals are representative of countless others who daily share their God-given gifts with our students – gifts of time, talent, treasure, and quite literally knowledge and even career opportunities! We are fortunate to have them associated with Mercy College. We’ve included an envelope in case you want to communicate with us or support us by contributing a charitable gift. You can also visit us on the web to suggest someone for us to feature next summer in the next issue simply by going to the web link, Sincerely,

of the Radiology Business Management Association.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Barbara Q. Decker President and Publisher

~ Helen Keller |


If you know the patients’ culture as well as the language, you can explain so the patient understands it better. It’s a great thing to make people feel better. It gives me goose bumps.

Jonathan Escobar Associate of Science in Nursing Student

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going the

Distance Nursing student Jonathan Escobar describes himself as an honest guy and a hard worker. One of his instructors, Dr. Marti Doyle, describes him as compassionate. And somewhere in the world is a mom who probably describes him as an angel—because he taught her to take care of her newborn.


scobar smiles as he remembers that day at Mercy Medical Center. He was doing his OB rotation, very nervous because he knew female patients often don’t want a male nurse. But his clinical instructor, Rhonda Heim RN, found a patient who really needed him—a woman who spoke only Spanish. And Escobar grew up in Mexico City. “I was so happy,” Escobar says. “Finally I could use my skills.” He taught the 20-year-old woman to bathe her firstborn and prepare for life as a mom after being discharged. As a bilingual nurse, Escobar proved to be the woman’s best connection to the resources Mercy had to offer. “The patient felt more confident because I spoke her language,” he says. “I felt even more motivated to keep going with nursing.” That moment had taken years to arrive, as Escobar first got the drive to take care of patients while living in Mexico. “My community needed health care,” he says. “I thought “If I am a doctor, maybe I can help them by starting a little clinic.’ My goal has always been to help somebody else.”

Mercy College as a nursing student. But it wasn’t easy. “I felt like I jumped in a huge pool filled with sharks,” he recalls. “There was too much information. It was overwhelming for me.” The language barrier continues to be challenging, Escobar says, but his teachers are very supportive. “I meet good people here, good teachers, classmates, even the maintenance guy; they’re all very nice. I’m grateful for all the support,” he says. He goes to classes every day, studies every minute he can, and even finds time to train for a half marathon. And no matter what, Escobar does his best to be a good role model for his sister. “I’m going to be the first member of my family to graduate from college,” he says. “My parents are very excited.” Escobar’s commitment to his education earned him Mercy’s Student of the Month award in 2010. He was also asked to participate in a medical mission trip to Ahuachapán, El Salvador, where he served as an interpreter (as did his wife Brynne Howard). “If you know the patients’ culture as well as the language, you can explain so the patient understands it better,” he says. “It’s a great thing to make people feel better. It gives me goose bumps.” Escobar expects to receive his ASN in April 2012, after which he’ll start working on a BSN. Chances are he’ll end up working with children. “I’m this magnet thing for kids,” he says, noting that he made balloon animals for children in El Salvador. “They always called me ‘doctor.’”

Leaving his parents and sister behind, Escobar (who did not speak English) moved to Des Moines in 2004. After three years of working double shifts in restaurants and construction, as well as learning English, Escobar entered |


To be honest, in the beginning I never really wanted to be a teacher. Now I’m hooked. I get students when they come in the door, knowing nothing about this field. A couple of years later they’re taking care of patients. That’s what I like to watch. That growth as they learn the clinical component.

Dr. Suzanne Crandall, RT(R), MHA Radiologic Technology Program Chair School of Allied Health

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educating with


How do you find a program chair for a college-based Diagnostic Radiology program? You start with a shy, quiet teenager in Fairfield, Iowa who goes skateboarding without her parents’ permission. So of course she falls down and hurts her elbow. But it’s because of the resulting x-ray that Suzanne Crandall developed a fascination for looking inside the human body.


ext thing you know that shy young woman has graduated from a certificate program in radiology at Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa. She spends 14 years at various clinics and hospitals until she lands a job as staff radiographer at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. Within six months she becomes an instructor in Mercy’s radiologic technology program, and is promoted to director in 1985. In 1995 she transitions the certificate program into Mercy College’s Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology degree program. In 2005, she leaves to run a similar program for Iowa Health, then returns to Mercy as program chair in 2010— happy to come home. “To be honest, in the beginning I never really wanted to be a teacher,” admits Suzanne Crandall, Ed.D., R.T. (R), Ed.S., MHA. “Now I’m hooked. I get students when they come in the door, knowing nothing about this field. A couple of years later they’re taking care of patients. That’s what I like to watch. That growth as they learn the clinical component.” Dr. Crandall remembers her own patient-care moment, a day in the late 1970s when she confirmed her job as staff radiographer included the need for compassion, not just expertise with

technology. At that time, she and a colleague had been taking x-rays of a coma patient over a period of days, communicating with him as if he were awake. “We felt he was still in there,” she recalls. So she and the colleague would greet him and converse with him as they did their work. Weeks later, they were stunned when the now-conscious patient tracked them down and thanked them for treating him as a responsive human being. “I tell my students that story every year,” Dr. Crandall says. “You just never know.” Dr. Crandall keeps her family at the forefront as she evaluates students for their compassion with patients while delivering medical care. “How are my children and grandchildren going to be treated if they need x-rays or CTs?” she asks herself about students on her watch. She says if she can imagine letting graduates care for her two sons, two daughters, and three grandchildren, then “We did our job.” And it must be said, Dr. Crandall is as fascinated with looking inside the human body today as she was as a skateboarding teenager. But of course the medical imaging field has more to offer now than mastering the art and science of x-rays: ultrasound imaging, mammography, nuclear medicine, and radiation therapy, to name a few. “This program also provides a good base for becoming a physician assistant, or going to medical school to become the radiologist who reads the images and diagnoses the problem,” she says. “There is a lot students can do with this two-year education.” |



sc ence

You might wonder why Professor Glenn Oren keeps a colorful plastic rooster on his desk. After all, he teaches physics, statistics, research methodologies, and mathematics to Mercy students, not ornithology. But it’s clear to him. And he hopes it’s clear to his students. “This rooster means you need to enjoy your life and make the best of it,” Oren says. “You might think physics and statistics are the most boring things you’ve ever encountered. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll find that’s not true. Have curiosity about everyone and everything around you. That’s the secret of life.” Oren says he’s never met anybody who doesn’t fascinate him, which sounds surprising for a man who got his Ph.D. in Wood Science from Iowa State University (ISU). After all, he spent years studying materials, not people. And he got his professional start as a bench scientist at Ames Laboratory, a government-owned research facility of the U.S. Department of Energy operated by ISU. So how did Oren transition into a profession where he related directly with people? After 15 years or so as a bench scientist, he says, he got bored with research and began interviewing for university teaching positions. One day he received a call from Mercy College; the administration wanted Oren’s help in setting up a chemistry lab to facilitate classes. Oren agreed to help. Eventually the Academic Dean said, “There’s a slight problem. We don’t have

8 | Mercy College of Health Sciences 8 | Mercy College of Health Sciences

anyone to teach the class. Can you help?” Again Oren said “yes,” and that’s when it began to get “kind of cool,” he says. He became an adjunct professor in June 2003—and realized something immediately about that first class of students. “They didn’t have a good handle on science,” he says. “But they were willing to invest their lives in caring for the sick and dying. How awesome is that? I had spent my life as a research scientist, which is a very self-serving kind of existence. Then I ran into these students with tremendous heart and compassion for other people. They had a calling. And I got to work with them.” Since then, Oren has done his best to instill an awe of science in his students, and an appreciation for what it can do to help them with their calling. Maybe that’s why he was named Adjunct Faulty of the Year 2003-2004—because of his passion for his job. He became a full-time faculty member in August 2004. “To this day, if I walk down the hospital hallway and see former or current students, I get goose bumps,” Oren says. “I get to help patients vicariously through my students.” Now that he’s getting closer to retirement, Oren is dreaming about fly-fishing. “One day they’re going to find me face down, lightly gripping a rod,” he says. “There’s lots of physics involved with fly fishing. It encompasses science and art in a most magnificent form.” He also takes time to notice all the talented people walking the halls of the College. “Mercy has a tremendous future,” he says. “It’s a terrific institution that prepares people for the noblest profession there is.”

this rooster means you need to enjoy your life and the best of it. You might think physics and statistics are the most boring things you’ve ever encountered. but if you dig deep enough, you’ll find that’s not true. have curiosity about everyone and everything around you. that’s the secret of life.

Dr. Glenn Oren Professor, Chemistry/Mathematics/Physics School of Liberal Arts and Sciences | |

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You have to be willing to step back and let students do things at their own pace. Every individual is different. I’ve had students be almost giddy after the first time they’ve given a shot the patient didn’t feel.

Rhonda Heim, rn, bsn Clinical Instructor School of Nursing

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raising a new generation of nurses Her mother claims Rhonda Heim has always been a nurse. “She says I was always putting wet cloths on people’s foreheads,” says Rhonda Heim, RNC, Nursing Clinical Instructor for Mercy College. In retrospect, Heim thinks the behavior might have resulted from when she and her siblings came down with hard measles—and their mother turned the living room into a miniature hospital ward.


hether it was the measles, or watching Dr. Ben Casey on TV in the 1960s, there was no hesitation when Heim chose her career. She entered (then) Mercy Hospital School of Nursing to become a diploma nurse. “When I got out of school, I intended to save lives,” Heim says. After graduation, she became a circulating RN at Mercy Medical Center. By 1985 Heim was working in mother-baby nursing, which takes the OB experience up a notch to affecting how families form, she says. Heim also started working on her BSN, finally completing it in 1994. Today Heim combines hands-on nursing care with education as she teaches students how to care for patients. “When we’re in the lab, we have mannequins--which don’t respond like people. Go figure,” Heim says. “When you have students at a bedside with you, you get a chance to help them interact with patients.” Clinical rotations are really a team-teaching situation, Heim says. She matches nursing students with primary nurses who are assigned to their patient. After students have reviewed their patient’s chart, they pay visits with Heim at their side. Sometimes the visits are for

assessing mother and baby. “With assessments, anything we do in the room is a teaching moment” Heim says, “from rewrapping the baby to helping mom to the bathroom.” After teacher and student complete their assessment, the student reports his or her findings to the primary nurse. “You have to be willing to step back and let students do things at their own pace,” Heim says. “Every individual is different. I’ve had students be almost giddy after the first time they’ve given a shot the patient didn’t feel. I truly feel like I’m helping the profession because I’m helping young people develop the love of nursing that I have.” Heim’s contributions to Mercy College were formally recognized when she received the 2007-2008 Adjunct Faculty Award. “I was amazed and honored and humbled,” she recalls, attributing her success to Leona Sweeney, one of Heim’s instructors. Sweeney’s old-fashioned nurse’s hat, stiffened with thick starch, is displayed in a case in the Brennan Hall Lobby. Heim still wears a prestarched nurse’s hat every day. “It’s part of me as a nurse,” she says. “When I walk into a room people pay attention.” Everything she does funnels into her persona as a nurse, Heim says. “My role as a deacon’s wife, my role in the church: they’re both service roles and so is nursing. All my students become my kids. And watching the education process lived out on the floor, seeing students “get it,” that’s almost indescribable. Like a mom watching her baby take the first step.” | |

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The year was 1948. Gas cost 16 cents a gallon. Hamburger cost 45 cents a pound. And in Iowa, the newly formed Mercy Guild squeezed money out of its treasury to buy two eightslice toasters for Mercy nursing students.


hat initial group of supporters thrived under the leadership of President Mary Northup. Since that time, the Guild—renamed the Mercy Auxiliary in the 1990s—has grown into a robust organization of 1000+ members that has contributed

more than $7.2 million to Mercy Medical Center. Although the Auxiliary’s main purpose is supporting the hospital, the group’s support for nursing students also remains unwavering, according to Auxiliary Board Chair Dixie Harmeyer Knowles.

“We want to help students who have a passion for learning and might be struggling financially,” Knowles says. “We would love to see them working at Mercy Medical Center some day.” “It’s very educational to sit in on the interviews,” Knowles says. The Auxiliary annually gives “We’ve met several older students $87,500 for scholarships to educate new health care professionals, Knowles says, making it the largest

supporting our 12 | Mercy College of Health Sciences 12 | Mercy College of Health Sciences

contributor to the Mercy College scholarship fund. Three of them are named scholarships: the Morris and Lenore Mandelbaum Scholarship, Mary Northup Scholarship, and Sister Mary Gervase Northup Scholarship. Nine students—three per scholarship—are nominated by the Nursing faculty; final selections are based on interviews with the Mercy Auxiliary Scholarship Committee. One person is chosen to receive each award.

who have changed careers and single mothers with very little income. Yet their commitment to their families and getting this education is mind-boggling.” The Auxiliary also provides general scholarships to both first-time and returning students in the Associate of Science in Nursing Program. Anyone who fulfills the admissions requirements can apply, Knowles says. The Auxiliary looks at need, grades, and a personal questionnaire to make its final selections.

In addition to scholarships, the Auxiliary funds other programs that affect students. Among them is the library in the Patricia Claire Sullivan Center. The group gave $500,000 to support that project over a fiveyear period, with the final donation made during the 2007-2008 school year. The Auxiliary’s financial support is made possible through membership fees, special fundraisers, and its retail services: Mercy Starbucks,

Mercy Salon, and Mercy Gift House & Flowers, all at Mercy Medical Center, Mercy West Lakes Gift House at Mercy West Lakes Hospital, and the K-RICE Shop at Mercy College. “I just feel so committed to this group,” says Knowles, who first joined the Auxiliary in 1968 because of her belief in Catholic hospitals and Catholic education. “The Auxiliary does good work. We provide things to Mercy that it cannot provide for itself.”

Mercy Auxiliary Dixie Knowles, Auxiliary Board Chair Mercy Medical Center — Des Moines Photo provided by Mercy Medical Center — Des Moines | |

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Since then, Huber has devoted her career to helping nursing students unlock the “aha” moment when they realize their education provides information they can take away and actually use. “That to me is really rewarding,

Dr. Diane Huber, rn, nea-bc, faan Nursing Professor, University of Iowa Mercy College Board Member

14 | Mercy College of Health Sciences 14 | Mercy College of Health Sciences


enr chment As with many successful people, Diane Huber’s long list of accomplishments starts out with a change of plans. Today she’s known as Professor Diane Huber, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, but back in the early ‘80s, she wanted to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Huber applied to a program at the University of Iowa however; all the openings had already been filled.


isappointed, Huber opened another letter that surprised her by welcoming her to the Nursing Master’s program at the U of I; the letter also pointed her to a federal program that could provide financial support. “This will never happen again,” she recalls thinking and jumped on the opportunity. “I got hooked on the idea of advanced education and learning more about the problems in the environment of nurses,” Huber says. “Back when I was a staff nurse, if you needed linens for a patient’s room, you had to walk all the way down to the central supply station and then all the way back.” It was extremely inefficient, she says, and one of the triggers that prompted her to earn advanced degrees. Since then, Huber has devoted her career to helping nursing students unlock the “aha” moment when they realize their education provides information they can take away and actually use. “That to me is really rewarding,” Huber says. “It is so invigorating to help students understand the principles behind what they learn in class, help them be better able to question, and teach them to figure out how to deliver health care in the most cost-effective way.” Huber notes that nursing education has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. “Now the rate of change is so rapid and the

care itself is so complex, we’re teaching chaos theory and complexity theory,” she says. “We have to prepare nurses differently; we have to prepare them to think. They are the front line of patient safety.” Huber’s expertise is recognized in her receiving the Certified Advanced Practice Nurse Award from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2010 (ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.) In receiving the award Huber was noted for interweaving nursing education with a solid evidence base, as well as for her book Leadership and Nursing Care Management. “It’s a big deal for ANCC to officially recognize that the administration of nursing systems is considered an advanced practice,” Huber says. That same year Huber became a member of Mercy College’s Board of Directors, having been nominated by board member Deborah Willyard, RN, MSN (a former student). “It excites me,” Huber says, “My hope is by bringing in a different perspective that I can help enrich the board’s repertoire of decision-making abilities.” In fact, everything Huber does is about enrichment. Whether it’s teaching, appraising nursing systems for the ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program, or reading, she looks for information that feeds into her passion for nursing. She shares this with students, both at the University of Iowa and Mercy College. “You’ll never regret it,” she says to them. “It’s not a one-size fits all profession. Go after the opportunities that fit you and your abilities the best.” | |

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cultivating growth

It’s easy to recognize good gardeners. They like to plant seeds, nurture seedlings through all kinds of weather, and enjoy sharing a bountiful harvest with others.


im Oswald, RN, MSN, Ed.D, is one of those gardeners. She nurtures people as program manager for Mercy College’s Pathways to Health Care Careers – Iowa program. There she develops processes that meet the educational needs of students from 28 different countries (so far), making sure they obtain skills needed to join the health care work force. Every week she witnesses lives being changed by learning. “I can see it in their eyes,” she says. “And I hear it when they share, ‘This is my life’s dream …’” For many reasons—especially the language barrier—the refugees and immigrants in Pathways seek assistance to meet program expectations. Dr. Oswald is happy to oblige. “I feel honored for the opportunity to help these students obtain an education in health care careers to make a better life,” she says. It’s not surprising to hear Dr. Oswald reflect upon nurturing others; it’s part of her DNA. As a young child, Kim acquired a passion for education from her mother—a fifthgrade teacher. From her father, son of Norwegian immigrants, she learned the value of helping people in their Clear Lake, Iowa community. “He was one of the kindest, most compassionate people I’ve ever known,” Dr. Oswald says. “He would keep a shopping list of items people needed in his wallet. When he found any of these items he would buy it and give it to them.”

16 | Mercy College of Health Sciences 16 | Mercy College of Health Sciences

The desire to care for others has been part of every phase of Dr. Oswald’s career path. Her first nursing job, in cardiac care, connected her with “Annette,” an outstanding preceptor who demonstrated what it meant to be a compassionate, competent nurse. “I spent hours watching, working, hoping, and praying I would emulate her qualities in my career,” Oswald says. She eventually joined the faculty at her alma mater, Oral Roberts University, and influenced a new generation of nurses in how best to care for the body, mind, and spirit of patients. For Dr. Oswald’s master’s thesis, she studied patients’ perceptions of what helped them heal while in a critical-care setting. Her doctoral dissertation focused on nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. She eventually landed a job as director of training and development for the Iowa Heart Center and executive director of the Iowa Heart Foundation—jobs she still holds in addition to her Pathways responsibilities. “Caring may be lived out in many different ways,” she says. “From caring for critically ill cardiac patients early in my career to helping employees gain essential job skills, caring for others brings great satisfaction.” Despite her many responsibilities, Dr. Oswald finds time to care for a garden holding almost as many types of vegetables as there are countries represented in Pathways: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, spinach, okra, rhubarb, cilantro and other herbs. She loves planting seeds and watching them emerge into beautiful produce she may share—with fond memories of her dad. “The ability to plant seeds translates into my career,” she says. “Whether assisting patients, students and faculty, or employees, I receive great joy in planting seeds and watching them grow. My passion focuses on helping others gather the skills they need to thrive.”

Caring may be lived out in many different ways. From caring for critically ill cardiac patients early in my career to helping employees gain essential job skills, caring for others brings great satisfaction.

Dr. Kim Oswald, RN, MSN Program Manager, Pathways to Health Care Careers - Iowa Mercy College of Health Sciences | |

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Seeing students in action is a gateway to possible employment with 21st Century Rehab. That’s why our clinical partnership with Mercy College is so important. A lot of times you don’t know about students’ people skills until they start working.

Steve Cassabaum, DPT President, 21st Century Rehab Clinical Partner and Employer

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extending patient reach through


Work well. Play well. Live well. These six words convey the vision that 21st Century Rehab in Nevada, Iowa expresses for its physical therapy patients and their quality of life. And it’s this vision that guides Mercy students as they perform clinical rotations with the company as part of the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) program.


resident Steve Cassabaum, DPT, says he’s thrilled that 21st Century Rehab can work with Mercy College. “Mercy is a great partner,” he says. “We know the instructors’ level of competence and dedication to making sure they produce a good product. What we’ve seen so far in the Mercy grads we’ve hired has been wonderful.” As part of their rotations, students work closely with licensed physical therapists (PTs) to obtain hands-on experience. The PTs evaluate patients, design their plans of care, and oversee students as they help patients with scheduled exercises and activities such as transfer training. “By the time the rotation is over and students take the licensure board exam, they should feel confident in their clinical and communication skills with patients and PTs alike,” Cassabaum says. The most promising PTA students love working with people, communicate well, and understand the importance of their supportive role in the PT/PTA relationship, Cassabaum says. They also show they’re confident in their abilities. “When a PTA provides treatment without hesitation, the patient interacts better during therapy sessions,” Cassabaum says. “That means faster progression toward patient goals.”

Seeing students in action is a gateway to possible employment with 21st Century Rehab, Cassabaum says. He recently hired his fourth Mercy PTA grad, a significant step seeing as the program only graduated its first class in 2010. “That’s why our clinical partnership with Mercy College is so important,” Cassabaum says. “A lot of times you don’t know about students’ people skills until they start working.” Her clinical and people skills help employee and 2010 alumna Tasha Vorm, contribute to a collaborative PT/PTA relationship, says Cassabaum, who manages about 45 patients a week. “Tasha extends my reach,” he says. “Having a PTA I know and trust allows me to manage a lot more patients without handling all the therapy myself. And the better a PT and PTA understand each other, the better the patient outcomes.” Vorm also demonstrates the company’s commitment to tuition assistance for its staff. “We paid for her PTA degree to make her more valuable in our clinics,” Cassabaum says about the former athletic trainer. “The shortage of licensed PT professionals is often more critical in rural areas. Now we can optimize Tasha’s skills, abide by all regulations governing PT practice, and better meet the demand for patient care at our rural hospital.” 21st Century Rehab, founded in 1995 by Cassabaum and wife, Michelle, operates five outpatient clinics in Altoona, Carlisle, Grimes, Indianola, and Madrid. The company also contracts with four hospitals: Dallas County Hospital, Perry; Franklin General Hospital, Hampton; Hamilton Hospital, Webster City; and Story County Medical Center, Nevada. Clinical rotations are offered at all nine locations. | |

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To this day, I’m still awed by the images we produce, They’re just beautiful; they’re works of art.When you think how medicine is actually practiced, imaging is at the center of so much of it,

Michael Bohl, rt, mha, frbma Executive Director, Radiology Group, PC, SC Alumnus ‘78 and Donor

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still awed by

images Today Mike Bohl RT, MHA, FRBMA manages Radiology Group, PC, SC, as well as their imaging center and billing company. He was recently elected president of the Radiology Business Management Association, and he’s proud to be one its inaugural group of fellows.


ut Bohl still remembers the first day he showed up for class in Mercy’s School of Radiologic Technology program in 1978. He was wearing a crisp new uniform, but recalls knowing little of what was ahead of him. Bohl had been working in a warehouse, but he wanted something more. He thought x-ray technology was cool. Mercy had an opening, Bohl was accepted, and he began the rest of his life. “The science, the physics, the detailed nature of positioning and angles…it was really a great match for me,” he says. After graduation in 1980, Bohl’s first job—as an x-ray technologist at Mercy Medical Center—led to subsequent stints in CT and MRI. But as much as he enjoyed the work, Bohl again wanted something more. He and his wife Julia moved to North Carolina so Bohl could finish an undergraduate and then a master’s degree in health administration. “I still remember walking on campus between courses, marveling at the opportunity to be where I was,” he says. “There I was, in my 30s, just enjoying every aspect of where I was and what I was doing.”

Bohl returned to Iowa to manage the Radiology Group, 21 years after entering Mercy as a student. Along with his education, Bohl credits two activities with his success in group practice management. Joining the RBMA pays dividends, he says. “You meet people, and then you learn from the people you meet.” He also recommends that those who are management-bound build up strong spread-sheet and database management skills. “Physicians are scientists. They’re highly data-driven,” he says. “I can honestly say that in my position, one of the best things I know how to do is to leverage data.” Bohl wears a suit now, not a uniform, but he continues to love radiologic technology. “To this day, I’m still awed by the images we produce,” he says. “They’re just beautiful; they’re works of art.” And he predicts an ever-increasing need for people in the field. “When you think how medicine is actually practiced, imaging is at the center of so much of it,” he says. Toward that end, Bohl funds the Bohl Radiologic Technology Scholarship at Mercy College, awarded each year to a fulltime RT student. “I feel the same way about my time at Mercy as I did about my years in North Carolina,” he says. “I’ve not found a better program anywhere in my travels. The scholarship is a way for me to give back.”

Next step in his career: business manager of a 6-physician radiology group with a small imaging center and billing office in Casper, Wyoming—a smaller version of what he does today. There he enhanced his graduate school education with a practical one: developing an understanding of the nuts and bolts of managing a radiology practice. | |

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vital stats

104 Mercy College of Health Sciences Employees; Members;

13 Mercy College Board

2 Distinguished alumnae;

792 full- and part-time degreeseeking students; alumni;

5,323 historical

130 Allied Health Graduates

Associate of Science in Polysomnography Technology, Certificate/Associate of Science in Medical Assisting, and Certificate in Surgical Technology;

5 Liberal Arts and Science Graduates from the following programs; Bachelor

from the following programs;

of Science in Health Care Administration

Associate of Science in Diagnostic

and Bachelor of Science in Health

Medical Sonography, Paramedic


Certificate/Associate of Science in

from the following programs;

Emergency Medical Services,

Associate of Science in Nursing and

Associate of Science in Radiologic

Bachelor of Science in Nursing;

Technology, Certificate in Nuclear

146 students received need-based

Medicine, Associate of Science in


Physical Therapist Assistant, Certificate/

awarded academic scholarships.

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190 Nursing Graduates

33 students were

College Board of Directors Patricia A. Shoff, JD Board Chair

Dave Harmeyer Vice Chair

Deborah A. Willyard, RN, MSN Class of ‘79 & ‘98 Secretary

Willard L. Boyd III, JD Laurie Conner Barbara Q. Decker, JD (ex officio) Diana Deibler Jacqueline Easley Sister Jude Fitzpatrick, CHM Diane Huber, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, NEA-BC Martin F. Larréy, Ph.D. Sharon Phillips, RN Robyn H. Wilkinson (ex officio)


Barbara Q. Decker, J.D.


Brian Tingleff

Associate Editor Jim Tagye

Graphic Designer Melissa Miller

Writers Janet Klostermann Debra Steilen Jim Tagye Brian Tingleff

Photography Jim Heemstra Mercy Medical Center — Des Moines

© Copyright 2011 Vital People is published by the Marketing Department. Submit address changes online at or mail to Mercy College of Health Sciences, Office of Institutional Advancement, 928 6th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1239. It is the Mercy College policy to conduct academic programs and business activities in a manner that is free from discrimination and to provide equal opportunity for and equal treatment of students regardless of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, status as a disabled veteran or veteran of war, or any other factor protected by law. |


Vital People 2011