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04/09/2019    Paul Kesselman, DPM

Using DPM Degree Outside of Podiatry (Tilden Solokoff, DPM, MD)

Over the last 35 years, I have seen many DPMs who
left the profession and did quite well with the
DPM degree as part of their resume. Several have
gone into teaching at the HS or university level
and have excelled receiving numerous awards,
grants for research, etc.

Others may have started in the "cellar" of
pharmaceutical sales and go onto become national
directors, national physician education liaisons,
far surpassing the average incomes of most
MD/DO/DPMs. These gifted individuals no doubt
would have excelled at anything they chose to do,
but the fact was their DPM degree and educational
background did get them in that first door which
started them on their paths to success. I have
used the DPM degree and knowledge of public
policy to work with physicians and manufacturers
on a whole host of regulatory and compliance
issues.

As for the issue of cutting back on certain core
academic work so as to allow adequate time to
rotate through other core areas required in MD/DO
training, that I see is very problematic.
Knowledge in biomechanics is what sets us apart
from the MD/DO and this is one area which not
only should not be cut back, but needs to be
expanded upon both at the undergraduate podiatric
educational level but also in the residency
programs.

50 exams in 3 years is simply insufficient to
improve on the basic skills which should have
been mastered in podiatric schools. Reducing the
emphasis on bio-mechanics in podiatry school will
only result in poorer surgical outcomes. As one
of my mentors back in my days at ICPM said: It's
only after you have mastered bio-mechanics will
you be able to master foot/ankle surgery, as
surgery is often about understanding the
patient's mechanics and not simply about how to
insert a screw, plate or pin.

Fast forward to current day, robots may be soon
be placing screws, plates, pins, etc, but who
will program the robots to perform such functions
and who will choose which surgery to perform? The
person making those decisions needs to have a
firm background in bio-mechanics and reducing
exposure to this essential science in podiatric
education will have a profound negative impact on
our profession!

The issue of resolving the above with increasing
the numbers of podiatric students passing the
USMLE boards is no doubt interesting and
challenging. The question is how can one achieve
this objective, without sacrificing training in
other essential areas? How can podiatry train the
next generation of bio-mechanical masters of the
lower extremity while still providing them with
the tools to pass the USMLE, is no doubt
challenging. This will require a broad based
effort from schools and residency programs alike.

Paul Kesselman, DPM, Woodside, NY


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