Townsen Kennington’s externship back in February with Gage Caudell, D.P.M.’05, FACFAS, at Fort Wayne Orthopedics in Indiana was everything an aspiring podiatric physician could want.
“He placed me as his assistant in surgery. It’d be him, the scrub tech and myself. I learned the most that month, being placed in a one-on-one instructor-to-student environment,” says Kennington, now a fourth-year podiatric medicine student at DMU. “It gave me ample time to ask questions and be trained by Dr. Caudell. Everyone in the group adopted his easygoing, efficient and hardworking attitude…I personally came away hoping to do exactly the same thing when I get out in practice.”
He also came away wanting to learn more from his mentor. “I kept bugging Dr. Caudell for insights and questions that I had after getting back to Des Moines,” he says. That gave the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery alumnus an idea – to create an online journal club for CPMS students. The timing was perfect given the pandemic had shut down much in-person, hands-on learning.
“When COVID-19 hit, students weren’t getting that much clinical exposure. Plus it keeps me reading, and I like interacting with the students,” Caudell says. “I let the students pick an article to review, and I’ve given them a few, too. What they want from me are perspectives from the clinical side, guidelines and my critique of the articles.”
As many as 40 students have participated in the club’s Zoom sessions, which occur a couple of times per month. As the partner and owner of a large, high-volume group where he treats and performs surgeries for foot trauma, bunions and diabetic foot issues, Caudell has a good brain for the students to pick.
“You can ask him questions about any topic. He gives his time and doesn’t seem to be in a rush to check off the box,” Kennington says. “He’s glad to help out and teach us kids. It’s a pretty good deal to have an alum like Dr. Caudell.”
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