The Doctors Are In: Anatomy of NWU’s future physicians

The Influence of Dr. Dappen Exponentially Growing By YearThe names

Dappen produced a three-ring binder with a partial list of the NWU students who succeeded in entering medical school each year since Dappen began teaching in 1968. Pages and pages of names. He flipped back and forth.

There was Vonn Roberts, the anesthesiologist.

There was Jana (Beddow) Johnson (’94), Nebraska Wesleyan’s first Harry S. Truman scholar.
There was Brady’s general practitioner, Richard Jirovec (‘81), who, it turns out, had helped Dappen during the first summer of his nematode research.

Then there was Dan Tomes (’93), the neurosurgeon who had repaired a major vein in Brady Beran’s brain. Local alumni may remember Beran, a Lincoln East High School student who nearly died following a collision on the football field in 2004. He’s reportedly doing well now thanks in large part to Dr. Tomes.

The pages of Dappen’s binder bring to mind all the life changing outcomes—the babies born, the kidneys healed, the hips and knees mended by the people listed there. The advice through difficult decisions and help for the dying. How many people are alive right now, or in less pain right now, because of these names?

One professor. Three hundred fifty physicians. Tens of thousands of patients. How do you measure what that means?

Dr. Roberts complicated that measurement even further. “A lot of those 350 physicians have gone on to teach as well. They’re passing on what they learned [at NWU] to med students across the country.”

He said, “Good teaching reverberates across the country and across generations.”