Some people make a positive difference in the world through their profession. Some do so by serving their country or supporting their alma mater. But Robert G. Smith, D.P.M.’99, M.Sc., R.Ph., gives all three ways.
The podiatric physician and pharmacist is a contract clinical pharmacist who serves on pharmacy and podiatry missions for American military forces through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense. He recently deployed to Iraq to support troops there.
“Actually saving lives on the front line as a podiatrist and pharmacist makes me happy,” he wrote in a letter to DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D.
He’s also happy to share his knowledge with others. Certified in pedorthics with a master of science degree in wound care and tissue repair, Smith has taught continuing podiatric medical education sessions on AIDS and the podiatric patient, diabetic dermatology and wound care pharmaceuticals for the diabetic foot, among other topics. He holds an appointment as assistant clinical professor in podiatric medicine and surgery in the College of Podiatric Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. A reviewer and special contributing author to Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association since 2003, Smith has nearly three decades’ worth of published research on a wide range of pharmaceutical and podiatric topics. He’s currently working on an article on his successful five-year research for a pharmacological cure for complex regional pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition affecting a limb usually after injury or trauma.
“Actually saving lives on the front line… makes me happy.”
“I love educating, training and research,” he says.
Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at the University of Florida in 1983 but eventually made his way to College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, now DMU. “Their didactic and problem-based learning style was unique. The faculty of the University stood out as learners in the profession,” he says. He graduated with fond memories of “working closely with classmates to forge everlasting friendships” as well as “the foundation to meet presenting challenges objectively with calm resolve.”
He’s clearly met such challenges with success. In 2009, he was honored by the American Podiatric Medical Association as one of two inaugural recipients of the APMA Rising Star Award, given to individuals in practice for 10 years or less for outstanding achievements in scientific, professional or civic endeavors. The APMA also has acknowledged him as a “top podiatrist in America” for several years, and in 2011 he was inducted into the National Academy of Practice — Podiatry Academy. He’s won several awards for his research and presentations as well.
More recently, Smith was named MSSI Employee of the Quarter for superior performance as the pharmacist at the Baghdad, Iraq, diplomatic support project for the Department of State and Department of Defense. He was praised for his “superior knowledge of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy operations” that resulted in cost-effective use of resources as well as for his “infectious esprit de corps” and “loyal devotion to his profession.”
At DMU, Smith has given gifts in honor of his parents, Sgt. Billy Joe Smith (retired) and Roberta Smith, to support scholarships for podiatric students who score the highest in pharmacology.
Looking forward, Smith intends to follow his mantra to “never stop learning” and, in his career, to “continue with the joint effort to provide podiatric care and pharmaceutical care to all military and civilian participants on the war on terror, no matter where it takes me.”