In the spring of 1972 at the age of 18, I had a life altering experience. I had been challenged for over three years with recurrent plantar warts and had reached a point where my lifestyle was being dramatically hindered. Upon the advisement of my family practitioner, I was referred to a Podiatrist who not only corrected my physical problem, but also, ultimately, changed my life in deciding a life-long career.
One of the first principles I learned early on in my childhood development was "service-to-others." Being born to a Southern Baptist Minister father and a Public School Teaching mother, I witnessed first hand the practice of helping those in need. In addition, growing up on a farm, I would spend time with our local Veterinarian as he treated our animals both medically and surgically. I had dreams of one day becoming a Vet. until my experience in 1973. I remember returning home after my last visit with the Podiatrist who treated me and stating to my mother, "That Podiatry is pretty neat. Maybe I would like to do Podiatry instead of Veterinary Medicine!?"
Why did it take so many years for me to actually pursue Podiatric Medicine and Surgery? I am one of those individuals who find many professional disciplines to be very fascinating and intriguing. While my father was a minister and my mother a teacher, each of my parents also had their areas of artistic and scientific interests, which I learned as well. From my father, I learned an appreciation for the arts and from my mother, I learned an appreciation for the sciences. Along with this however, I took a "road more traveled" than most traditional medical students.
My journey began in 1972 after my graduation from High School when I enlisted for four years of active duty in the United States Navy. I elected to serve as a Navy Hospital Corpsman which is somewhere between an Emergency Medical Technician and a Physician's Assistant. My training included condensed courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Nursing, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, and Environmental Health. My fist duty assignment was in the Emergency Room at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA. where I was responsible for triage and treatment of Emergency Room patients. The last two years I spent serving as an Independent Duty Corpsman on a Nuclear Ballistic Submarine where I was responsible for the medical management of 145 crewmembers. My duties included for crew member medical records, prophylactic immunizations, monitoring of radiation exposure, evaluating environmental health, as well as routine medical visits which include dispensing of medication including Class II drugs, suturing, and some minor surgery.
After completion of my tour of active duty in the U.S. Navy, I returned to Kansas to attend college. Because of my exposure to both the arts and sciences, I had interest in pursuing an acting career as well as a medical career. As I sat in front of an academic advisor where I was discussing my career interests, he used a unique visual aid that influenced me in making my educational decision. Pulling a yard-stick from behind his credenza, he started explaining to me, "If I you want an education in the arts, you will have to go to school this long!" Using his hand he placed it at the twelve-inch mark. "However, if you want to pursue a career in medicine, you will have to go to school this long!" He then placed his hand and the end of the yardstick. At an impressionable twenty-three and being accustomed to making money, I chose the "twelve-inch" educational track.
As an undergraduate at both Butler County Community College and Emporia State University, I appeared in over twelve "main stage" productions as well as an additional fifty-two minor productions. Along with a full-academic load, I was rehearsing as many as three different plays in one week all the while maintaining an academic level that allowed me academic honor recognition at both universities.
After a brief stint in a touring company of the "Fantastics'," I returned to college at Wichita State University where I obtained a Masters of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Radio, Television and Film. I completed a two-year program in three semesters along with working three part-time jobs, one of which included full-teaching duties in the Department of Speech Communications at W.S.U.
I signed a three-year contract with the local CBS affiliate in the Wichita, Kansas area and began a career in the broadcasting industry. Two-years into the business, I began to recognize that I had not made the right career decision and becoming restless, left broadcasting prior to my contract expiring.
For the next ten years, I had a career with two Fortune 500 companies as well as a brief family business venture with my brother. While I was considered to be very successful in all three endeavors, I still recognized that I was not in the "right" career where I could see spending the rest of my life.
In the spring of 1993, a downturn in my brothers' and I's family business forced me to seriously evaluate my future. After months of contemplation, prayer, and discussions with family and friends, I recognized that one pervasive thought kept surfacing to the forefront. Medicine!
I contacted medical schools in the State of Texas and spent time visiting with Admission Dean's gathering the information I needed for admission and attendance. I found the Dean's to be both supportive and encouraging, thus, I left my position at the family business and returned to school full-time taking the required and recommended classes for medical school admission.
While attending the University of Texas at San Antonio, I became involved with the schools pre-med club and in one semester was inducted into Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Honor Society and received an award from the University Convocation for my work with the AIDS shelter in San Antonio. In addition to my academics, I also volunteered.
In the fall of 1997, I matriculated to the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. Two short months into the semester, I was diagnosed with seminoma of the left testicle and underwent a radical orchiectomy. I was not able to commit 100% to my medical studies and withdrew from school returning to San Antonio to begin my radiation treatment.
I have recognized that in my life, with every negative, there is an associated positive. My brief tenure at C.C.O.M. made me realize that I wanted a more comprehensive approach to medicine. I started looking at Podiatry again and made an appointment to interview at Barry University. During my campus visitation and interview, I realized that Podiatric Medicine was going to provide me with the professional challenges and personal freedom that I had been looking for in a career.
Upon matriculation at Barry, I have been involved with Podiatric professional organizations on a local and regional level and served as President of the Barry Chapter of the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management during the 1999-2000 terms. I have volunteered with the Special Olympics and worked at various health fairs in the Miami area.
What does this history mean to your Podiatric Practice? First and most importantly, you will have an associate with maturity who has faced the fire of life even though it has not always been associated directly with the health care profession. I also bring to your practice a person who is enthusiastic about the profession and who will make your practice more productive.