Among the foot and ankle surgical residents at West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) in Pennsylvania, it would be no surprise to spot some DMU purple. That’s because currently eight of those 10 residents are graduates of DMU’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS).
In addition, three DMU podiatric medical students recently were on rotation there.
“It’s a credit to your school that we have quite a few kids from DMU,” says Alan Catanzariti, D.P.M., FACFAS, ABPS, ABPOPPM, director of the residency program. “That’s not by intention; we take the best people.”
The CPMS graduates share the feeling. Many say the residency was their first choice, for multiple reasons.
“The moment I stepped into the hospital, I felt like I was part of a family which cares about you not only as a doctor in training but as a person,” says Brian Dix, D.P.M.’11. “The balance between surgery and clinic was crucial…The amazing rearfoot and ankle surgery being taught by Dr. Catanzariti, among others, is among the best in the profession.”
In addition to the bonds among physicians and residents at West Penn, alumni of the residency program form a “fraternity,” says Michael Lee, D.P.M.’96, M.H.A., FACFAS, who practices with Capital Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in central Iowa. A WPAHS resident from 1996 to 1999, he has since recommended other CPMS graduates for the program.
“It has a reputation for being a tough program and also has strong alumni connections – West Penn [residency] graduates know other West Penn grads,” he says. “It opens doors for people down the road. That’s pretty unique among programs.”
Lee adds that the program prepares residents not only to be excellent physicians and surgeons but also leaders in the profession. Lee himself is past president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
That leadership training was underscored for Kyle Peterson, D.P.M.’10, WPAHS chief resident. At this year’s ACFAS scientific conference, he met several WPAHS residency alumni, who hold an annual reunion during the event. “I had heard their names a lot,” he says. “This residency puts you on a path to leadership roles.”
The CPMS graduates say they feel ready for those roles and the residency’s rigor. Despite moments when “you feel like a student all over again,” Tee Adeleke, D.P.M.’12, says he and his fellow CPMS alumni were well prepared by DMU.
“All the credit for my getting this residency goes to the DMU faculty,” he says. “I can’t say enough about them. They molded me into the student I was and the doctor I hope to become.”