Taylor Hale had known for years that she wanted to go into medicine, but it was an orthopedic surgeon’s misdiagnosis of an issue with her foot, during her sophomore year at Rice University in Houston, that clarified her path. A correct diagnosis by a podiatric medical physician revealed the profession she wanted.
“I saw what I really wanted to do – orthopedics, wound care, surgery, clinical care. It was the perfect formula for me,” says the third-year podiatric student in DMU’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS). “I did some research on diabetes that cemented the choice for me.”
Taylor’s academic excellence, student leadership and advocacy for her future profession led to her receiving the $5,000 PICA Distinguished Scholar Award in February from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Educational Foundation. Nine students, one from each college of podiatric medicine, were selected to receive the award from among the more than 200 2020-2021 APMA Educational Foundation Student Scholarship recipients. The awards are supported by PICA, the nation’s leading provider of medical professional liability insurance for podiatric physicians in the United States.
Taylor has continued to do research. As an undergraduate, she participated in neuroscience research and in a diabetes prevention program at the Baylor College of Medicine and in orthopedic research at Houston Methodist Hospital. As a CPMS student, she participated in the Mentored Student Research Program and presented posters at the 2020 APMA annual scientific meeting. She won the photo competition in the 2019 DMU Research Symposium with her photo, “The Lateral Column,” which was an anatomical exploration of the lateral column in the context of Charcot foot reconstruction; she currently has a manuscript in progress titled “Radiographic evaluation of Charcot foot involving the lateral column.”
“I did bench research as an undergraduate freshman, but I decided I wanted to do research in which I could have a great patient impact,” she says.
Taylor has received several honors at DMU, including the DMU Service Award in 2019 and 2020; membership in Pi Delta Honor Society; and the Basic Science Academic Award in Biochemistry for the Class of 2022. She has served as a DMU student ambassador and as secretary of Podiatric Medicine Advocacy, a student group that works to promote the profession to middle and high school students. She also has been a co-facilitator for DMU’s Diversity Health Series, a peer tutor in multiple subjects and a teaching assistant for lower limb anatomy and clinical podiatric medicine and diagnostics ultrasound.
A member of several clubs and organizations at DMU, Taylor has embraced opportunities the University and CPMS offer. She applied to seven podiatric medical colleges and chose DMU because of its “positive atmosphere.”
“I think DMU definitely is the most academically excellent of the nine podiatric schools,” she says. “I knew the podiatric program would set me up for success with its high board pass rates and 100 percent residency placement.”