Podiatric Health
Section Newsletter
Spring 2009

Chair's Message

Chair’s Message


Janet Simon, DPM

Chair, Podiatric Health Section


I would like to relate an upbeat perspective to our Podiatric Health Section members to assure that “we’re maintaining.” The impact of the economy on all aspects of our society and lives cannot be ignored; however, maintaining a humanitarianism viewpoint is of value. Many of us in the public health realm believe in humanitarian ideals. As the most conscious of living species, we are striving to make life better for all humans, while also promoting concern for the welfare of the planet as a whole.


This segues to the upcoming APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia – Nov. 7-11, 2009, whose theme is “Water and Public Health: The 21st Century Challenge.” Speaking from a personal perspective, water is a major focus of conversation where I live in central New Mexico (a high desert environment). This year we have been blessed with good snow pack and spring rains that have allowed our early gardens to flourish but know that these conditions will soon come to an end. Many advocates of wise water-planning know the impact of drought and therefore the necessity of changing how communities behave. This is a tough message to be accepted by a society that does not know a faucet that has no flow!


For the Podiatric Health Section, the Annual Meeting theme may not seem to have direct relevance. However, as we all are aware, the interrelationships exist, and that is the message our section wants to shout out. We will be having our section meeting on Monday morning (Nov. 6) at the Lowe’s Hotel.  Later that day we will continue with a panel presentation on Multidisciplinary Diabetes Care.  Our section’s presentations continue throughout the next day on Tuesday, Nov. 7. I encourage all eyes reading this to consider attending this year’s meeting and reap the benefits of this inspiring gathering. Our section will welcome you with open arms and appreciate your involvement. Additional information about these meetings will come to you in the fall.


I would also like to invite Section members to meet-up at the upcoming APMA Annual meeting in Toronto. Our section will have an exhibit booth and an educational tract on Missionary Medicine that will be held on Saturday afternoon, August 1. This is the premiere for this interest and we hope it will generate networking opportunities and new involvement. I do ask that if you are attending this meeting that you consider volunteering an hour or two at our booth as well as be present at the Saturday afternoon lectures.  Please contact me if you will be attending.


On the subject, Humanitarian-Missionary-Community Medicine Projects (HMCM), the updated database of information, will be available as it will be included on the CD of APMA Annual meeting materials as well as on the APMA and APHA Podiatric Health Section Web site. Public Health has a new presence on the APMA Web site, and I recommend that all Section members check it out! This additional exposure has been long overdue and it will be beneficial for our section.  Please feel free to contribute or provided feedback as to what you feel would be a valuable resource for our profession.


In closing, I extend a sincere appreciation to our section members who we are planning to attend our annual meeting. I am very aware that choices are being made regarding travel expense, decreased production and professional dues payments. Many of us have strong loyalties and beliefs that serve as the glue for our section. We are the humanitarian believers who are doing what we can to make this world better for people as well as all other species. Again, keep doing what you do, and rest assured that it does make a difference.

Water and Public Health 2009 Meeting Logo

Baja Project for Crippled Children

Baja Project for Crippled Children in Honduras and El Salvador


The Baja Project for Crippled Children with podiatric surgeons and podiatric residents from various parts of the country from California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Hawaii banded together in a humanitarian effort in Honduras.  They worked as a team to surgically perform complex reconstructive surgery for children with congenital foot and ankle deformities as well neuromuscular deformities; deformities such as clubfoot, vertical talus, spastic and paralytic orders, etc. In a period of five days, 67 patients were screened and 44 surgical procedures were performed, each case taking anywhere between two to five hours to complete. The ages of the patients ranged from 4 months to 50 years old, with a majority being children and infants.


Through the many years of involvement, a strong relationship has been formed between the podiatric surgeons from the United States and Honduran orthopedic surgeons from the Honduran Nation Medical School.  In the past, members from the U.S. team have lectured to the Honduran Medical School on current concepts and treatments for clubfeet, including the Ponsetti casting technique. In return, post-operative care is provided by the Honduran orthopedic surgeons.


Since 1967, the Baja Project, which is based in California, has treated over 27,000 children, and more than 1,800 surgeries have been performed. All equipment and supplies are brought to Honduras by the Project. It is estimated that the Project spends $1,000 in supplies and equipment for each surgical case; cases that would cost over $20,000 in the United States. The cost to the project for each mission is approximately $60,000-$70,000 total – equipment, supplies, and shipment of supplies. Through donations and grants from various service organizations (i.e. Rotary International, Lions Club, etc.) and volunteer surgeons, the Baja Project has managed to continue to provide surgical care to children.


Surgeons who participated:

ü       California – Steven Schwartz (coordinator), Andy Rothstein, Thomas Chang, Mitch Pokrassa, Marc Benard, Michael Zapf, Fred Hernandez

ü       Arizona- Bruce Werber

ü       Texas- Bhavesh Shah

ü       Michigan- David Levitsky, Jeffrey Yung

ü       Oklahoma- Matthew Roberts

ü       Hawaii- Robert Aki

ü       Massachusetts- Donald Adams



interdisciplinary research approach to podiatric medical education

The Renaissance Student:  Instituting an Interdisciplinary Research Approach to Podiatric Medical Education

Camille P. Ryans, 4th Year Student

Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine


Opportunities to conduct life-saving research separate the clinical sciences from other disciplines.  Unfortunately, the field of podiatry has not readily embraced these resources as a tool for the profession's advancement.  As a fourth year student in a doctoral-level program, it disheartens me that little emphasis is placed on participating in research.  It is imperative that the skills required to conduct noteworthy research are obtained early as a student.   In addition, at times podiatrists seem to isolate themselves, limiting themselves to a small niche.  Overall, great benefits would result from the expansion of our professional expertise into other realms of medicine, such as public health.  


I find it striking when professors affiliated with the medical school teach on our campus, and comment on the fact that certain material in their lectures is irrelevant to us, because it is uncommon for podiatrists to choose to go into research careers after graduation.  I have only been taught by a few professors who are adamant about the importance of research in podiatry.  In a recent lecture, a world renowned podiatric physician stated that research in podiatric medicine is not emphasized as much as it was in the past but it is essential to the success of the field in the future.  He even shared with us some studies that he conducted using lab rats when the school had an animal laboratory.  It is encouraging to hear of professors' personal research experiences.  Presently, our school has a state-of-the-art gait laboratory in which podiatrists and engineers collaborate to conduct studies and to quantitatively analyze patient’s biomechanics.  This is a great resource for students to acquire further knowledge outside of the traditional classroom setting. 


Also, implementing additional research methods and statistics courses into the curriculum would further support the importance of the research process while simultaneously teaching students the proper elements of valid research.  Perhaps, such courses could be offered as electives for those students interested in research.  This would not only produce excellent podiatrists, but well-rounded knowledge seekers as well.  In addition, the curriculum would emulate more closely other graduate-level health programs, and stimulate integration and effective communication amongst podiatrists and other health professions.   


Other ways to increase the number of students participating in research activities include simple strategies such as suggesting the reading of articles from technical-scientific journals written by researchers from a variety of academic backgrounds.  In addition, students should be encouraged to attend national conferences and supplier fairs.  This exposure may inspire students to begin inventing new products or technical devices in order to improve patient care.  Schools and professional organizations should offer more grant and fellowship monies for conducting research projects.  The implementation of assistantships would allow those students who are interested in pursuing faculty positions the opportunity to teach early in their careers.  Such opportunities are available in other graduate programs. 


Nonetheless, it is the student’s responsibility to take advantage of existing research opportunities.  Students may help to increase involvement in research and to promote podiatric medicine to the community by participating in government funded research programs.  The National Institutes of Health, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and even the National Aeronautics and Space Administration offer internships available to podiatry students.  Graduate students from a variety of academic tracks are selected to participate as interns in such programs, and the experience is invaluable.  It allows students to network with, and gain ideas from, peers and mentors from, many different disciplines in environments that are a Mecca of knowledge.  Most importantly, it serves as an opportunity to be a personal representative for the profession and possible press releases, which allow the public to become more familiarized with podiatric medicine.   


Acquiring knowledge must not cease after graduation but continue throughout a podiatrist’s career.  Other opportunities to train the profession’s youngest colleagues; residency programs should establish journal clubs, require that their residents conduct research that is suitable for publication, participate in and host professional conferences to site a few.  This will not only result in well-trained surgeons, but residents who are sharp lecturers and innovative scientists.  After the completion of residency, additional learning is currently encouraged by board certification and through continuing medical education credits; however, implementing continuing research education credits may motivate contributions to the acquisition of further knowledge.       


Although research in podiatric medicine is still limited, tremendous efforts have attempted to put an end to this trend.  I applaud the implementation of annual student-based research fairs and collaborative programs with institutions affiliated with the schools of podiatric medicine for the option of obtaining a D.P.M in combination with such degrees as M.P.H, M.B.A and Ph.D.  This option allows the student to obtain an accelerated dual degree, which broadens their marketability.  Podiatry has made huge strides in regards to scope of practice and obtaining respect from other medical sectors; however, it is vital that participation in research endeavors is stimulated, because research validates our work and leads to improved outcomes in the treatment of patients.  As medicine is becoming more evidence-based, it is imperative that podiatry students are trained to be diversified and to excel in any academic arena.  I look forward to the day when podiatric medicine takes a more integrative investigative approach, beginning at the student level, for the advancement of the profession.                   

Alchol Screening

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Manual


APHA is proud to annouce the release of "Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention: A Guide for Public Health Practitioners." This manual provides public health professionals with information, skills and tools needed to conduct screening and brief intervention (SBI) to help at-risk drinkers reduce their alcohol use.  Download the manual for free: http://www.apha.org/programs/additional/progaddNHTSI.htm.

Distinguished Public Health Legislator Nomination Announcment

Nominations are now being accepted for the APHA Distinguished Public Health Legislator of the Year Award.  This award recognizes local, state and federal lawmakers who are public health champions. The deadline for nominations is June 26, 2009. Nominations may only be submitted by APHA members. For additional information and instructions for submitting your nominations, please visit the APHA Web site at: www.apha.org/about/awards/2009LegislatorAward.htm.  


You can view a list of previous award recipients at: http://www.apha.org/about/awards/previouswinners/legislator/.  

Healthiest Nation in One Generation

Help Make America the Healthiest Nation in One Generation


Let’s face it – as a nation we’re not nearly as healthy as we should be. Compared to other developed nations, we’re lagging far behind. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With your help, we can make America the healthiest nation in just one generation.


As a central component of this year’s National Public Health Week (NPHW) observance, APHA launched an exciting, new viral video campaign. The Healthiest Nation in One Generation video tells the story of the many ways that public health touches our lives. Nearly 25,000 people have already viewed the video online, and the numbers continue to grow each day. If you haven’t checked out the video, watch it today and be sure to share it with your colleagues, family and friends. And stay informed by visiting www.generationpublichealth.org – NPHW 2009 is over, but our campaign to make America the healthiest nation in one generation is just beginning…


We all have to do our part. What will you do?