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Jensen at the Wheel

From: APMA News
Published:

Later this month Ronald D. Jensen, DPM, will be sworn in as president of APMA at the 89th Annual House of Delegates meeting in Washington, DC. Dr. Jensen is taking over at a unique time in APMA ’s history—a time of exciting developments and legislative victories, but also a time of economic and other challenges. More than ever, it is a time for podiatric physicians to unite to protect their profession and move it forward.

A 1978 graduate of Brigham Young University, Dr. Jensen received his DPM from the California College of Podiatric Medicine in 1984. He completed a surgical residency at Circle City Hospital in Corona, CA, in 1985. He began practicing at the Gould Medical Group of Modesto that same year and continues to practice there today. He is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine, Orthopedics Section. An active member since 1985 of both APMA and the California Podiatric Medical Association (for whom he served as president from 1997 to 1998), Dr. Jensen was named the California Podiatric Physician of the Year in 1999.

Dr. Jensen has served on the APMA Board of Directors since 1998.

In an interview with APMA News, Dr. Jensen explained how he intends to help steer the association through the next year and continue the progress brought about by the hard work of so many others before him.

APMA News:
You’re coming into the presidency with some pretty steep challenges, including Vision 2015, forming the American Society of Podiatric Surgeons, scope of practice issues, etc. Also, there’s always Title XIX and pursuing healthcare changes in a new administration. If there’s one of these things you’ d like to focus on during your presidential year, what would that be?

Dr. Jensen:
When people first started to ask me what the focus of my presidential year would be, I initially found the question a bit odd. I began to wonder if the impression among the members was that an APMA Board member sits around for 12 years waiting to release all of their good ideas during their presidential year! Then, as I considered the question further, I came to realize that the focus of my presidential year was the same focus I have had since becoming involved with podiatric leadership 23 years ago at my local society. The focus of my presidency will be “Success for All.”

At first that statement may sound exaggerated, but aren’t we all working for the success of the profession in one way or another? “Success for All” has certainly been the goal of APMA for the nearly 100 years that it has existed. APMA does not single out one area of the profession to protect, and I would not want to single out one issue to emphasize at the expense of other programs that exist. There is not one single issue or program that will solve all of the difficulties facing our profession on a permanent basis. As one problem is fixed, another appears because we are a dynamic profession in a changing world. We must move forward on all of the issues facing us.

The programs and services created by APMA with the advice of our members, state associations, and affiliated and related organizations continue to grow and improve to help address these daily challenges. Vision 2015 is helping to create a brighter future for the profession, and this important work will continue. Legislative Advocacy makes sure that as legislation is created, we are protected today and tomorrow by decisions made on Capitol Hill. The State Advocacy Committee was created to support state associations and individual members as they address state and local issues. The Health Policy Committee works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as federal programs are created, and the Health Systems Committee addresses insurance issues to ensure that podiatry is protected from the decisions of administrators. The Public Education and Information Committee helps to educate the public about the benefits of podiatric care. The list goes on. I believe that all of these programs are vital to the survival of the profession, and as president of APMA I will work to make sure that these programs have the resources they need to give the best service possible to our members.

APMA News:
Finances are certainly going to be an issue in the upcoming year. What steps will the Board of Trustees and APMA staff be taking to ensure seamless service to members?

Dr. Jensen:
The current world financial crisis has been described as the worst since the Great Depression. The Board of Trustees evaluates the budget with the APMA administrative staff on an ongoing basis, and we have done an excellent job preparing the association for the challenge of a financial downturn. I am sure that the membership of APMA has recognized the new programs and services that the association has created in the past several years. APMA Treasurer Michael J. King, DPM, has been evaluating our budget, and due to appropriate planning we will be able to continue to provide the programs and services that our members have come to expect.

APMA News:
How did you come to the field of podiatric medicine?

Dr. Jensen:
In an effort to choose a career, I looked at many different occupations, inside and outside of medicine. Several family friends mentioned podiatry, so I visited the office of David Francis, DPM, in Saratoga, CA. Every patient I met that day told me how much they appreciated Dr. Francis, and they strongly encouraged me to become a podiatrist. During this time I was working in the operating rooms at Stanford Hospital, where I met David Mullins, DPM, and the late Patrick Laird, DPM, who not only allowed me to visit their office regularly but also encouraged me to apply for admission to podiatric medical school. I am grateful for the encouragement from the patients of these fine podiatrists and the doctors themselves for taking an interest in me and for helping me choose a career that has brought me a great deal of satisfaction.

APMA News:
Did you have mentors who guided you early in your career, and were there past leaders of APMA who served as valuable role models?

Dr. Jensen:
The list of leaders at the local, state, and national levels who have helped to guide and encourage me over these many years is very long. Each one helped me in a different way, and it would be impossible to single out just one as the most important. We have a volunteer leadership in this profession, and the opinion of our individual members is considered to be a valued asset. That sets us apart from other groups who do not take advantage of the resources that their members can offer. Because the organizational attitude is inclusive and the decision-making process is interactive, there is a close bond that develops, and I am grateful to everyone who I have been able to work with for what they have helped teach me over time.

APMA News:
In your opinion, what is the most attractive aspect of practicing podiatric medicine today?

Dr. Jensen:
In the past podiatry was seen as an attractive profession because it gave you the opportunity for a professional career as a specialist as well as the ability to control your own style of practice. I believe this still exists today. My practice has had some very distinct phases that were affected by the patient population I was serving at that time. Podiatric education and training gave me the tools to adapt to market changes and to create the work schedule that I wanted. There are not many professions out there that can offer that level of freedom.

APMA News:
What originally made you want to get involved in APMA leadership, and what has kept you there?

Dr. Jensen:
When I told my parents that I had decided to become a podiatrist, my father started to ask me some very direct questions about the profession and the issues facing podiatry in the larger medical world. Dad was an electrical engineer for AT &T and was very precise in his planning. At the end of our discussion, he stated his concern that podiatry was a small group in relation to the larger medical world and that we would need to work together as a profession to protect our abilities to practice. Those words left a tremendous impression on me, and as a result I chose to become involved in an effort to protect my future by helping to protect the profession. During my leadership there have been times of great fun and times of sacrifice. I am grateful for the trust that this profession has placed in me and for the opportunity to continue to serve.

APMA News:
Your tenure on the BOT has involved a great deal of time away from your practice and your family. How have you managed to balance these responsibilities?

Dr. Jensen:
When you participate in leadership activities, it does take you away from your practice, your family, and your friends. You manage your practice the best you can, but it is your family that is affected the most. We chose to create our family vacations and trips around the meetings I needed to attend. This resulted in opportunities to be together and see parts of the country that we would not have seen otherwise. We have made friends all across the country and have tremendous memories that we will treasure always.

APMA News:
What is the first thing you want to do when you’re not busy with APMA or practice responsibilities?

Dr. Jensen:
My greatest satisfaction in life comes from being with my family. I also have a 1966 Mustang and a 1956 GMC pickup truck that have been neglected for some time, and it will be great to finally get the wrenches out and bruise my knuckles a little.

This article was originally posted in the APMA News. View the original article
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