The Dean's Vision for CSPM and the Profession of Podiatry

Dr John Venson and Irma Walker-Adame Dr. John Venson, DPM, the new Dean and Professor of the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) has a vision to get the program and the profession of podiatry 'where it rightfully belongs.'

After just two months at Samuel Merritt College (SMC), Dr. Venson, a graduate from the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine, now known as the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University, in North Chicago, has set up long-term objectives for the CSPM. Those goals include:

  • expanding recruitment, including targeting larger universities
  • educating prospective medical students about the profession of podiatry
  • providing unique clinical opportunities for fourth-year podiatry students
  • expanding early clinical training for second-year students
  • using the Health Science Simulation Center (HSSC) more frequently within the DPM curriculum
  • increasing research in lower extremity function
  • using the resources of the Bay Area
  • reaching out to alumni and professional organizations as ambassadors for podiatry

Dr. Eric Stamps, Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs and Professor, agrees with Dr. Venson's goals and believes each one can be readily accomplished.

"Some are well on their way, including clinical training for second-year students, incorporation of the HSSC lab as part of the curriculum, increased research, and fostering better communication with alumni," said Dr. Stamps.

Dr. Venson hopes that pursing a more educationally oriented recruitment approach will increase an understanding of the role of podiatry in the healthcare field.

"I think that podiatry is very attractive to students once they know it is a discipline of medicine that allows you to practice very differently than any other discipline," said Dr. Venson. "You can do pediatrics one day, geriatrics the next day and surgery the following day. It's also an ideal field to mix in teaching, raising a family, and being involved in the community. The choices in podiatry are immense."

Dr. Venson agrees with studies that say there is a "tremendous need" for podiatrists as the population ages, particularly in the next 25 years.

"The aging population, the increase of diabetes, and the increase in obesity will impact lower extremity function," said Dr. Venson. "Podiatry is perfectly situated to be the providers of care to help that population."

Globally, Dr. Venson supports the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) House of Delegates initiative called Vision 2015.

"The goal is for podiatric physicians to be universally recognized and accepted as physicians as per their education, training, and experience. I know CSPM and Samuel Merritt College can play a role in getting there" said Dr. Venson.

"To help achieve universal parity, our profession must demonstrate that our education is comparable to allopathic medical education and, absolutely, the colleges of podiatric medicine will need to participate in that process," said Dr. Stamps.

According to a 2007 study conducted by the APMA and the Center for Heath Workforce Studies, projections report a 16 percent job growth in podiatric medicine between 2004 and 2014. The growth in demand for the profession is due in part to foot problems in the elderly and the need to replace podiatric physicians retiring from practice.

"CSPM is well aware of the current supply-demand gap," said Dr. Venson. "We look forward to educating student applicants about the need for podiatric physicians and attracting them to a rewarding professional career."

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