CPMS student wins ABFAS Surgeons of Tomorrow essay contest

Faith Carelli, a second-year student in DMU’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS), takes the role of a physician very seriously.

“I understand both the positive and negative impacts medical providers can have on patients’ lives,” she says. “I want to do everything in my power to do right by my patients, which I believe starts with a solid and specialized knowledge base, as it will allow me to make informed decisions related to patient care.”

Faith described her commitment to clinical and surgical excellence in an essay she submitted to the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) Surgeons of Tomorrow 2022 Student Conference Scholarship Contest. Her belief that ABFAS Board Certification will help her become a “well-rounded podiatrist with a diverse skill set” that will benefit patients made her one of two contest winners.

“To confidently treat patients during potentially the most vulnerable periods of their lives, I knew I needed to have an in-depth understanding of my area of medicine,” she stated in her essay. “I wanted to know that upon completing school, I would have developed a solid foundation to further build on in residency. Simply put, I wanted to be an expert. It is what patients deserve. That is why the American Board of Foot and Ankle Certification is important to me.”

Contest submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges made up of current ABFAS Diplomates who sit on the ABFAS Communications Committee. The winners were chosen among entrants from each of the nation’s 10 podiatric universities who submitted videos and essays articulating why ABFAS Board Certification is important to them as aspiring podiatric surgeons, and how they will use it to benefit their patients.  

As a winner, Faith will receive a scholarship to cover travel costs to attend the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons 2023 Annual Scientific Conference in Los Angeles in February, where she will join more than 2,000 of the nation’s top foot and ankle surgeons in sessions discussing the latest advances in the profession.  

Faith had wanted to become a physician from a young age, although for a time she questioned whether the “demands of medical school and residency” would interfere with her love of art and “need to be creative.” She began reflecting on her experiences with Douglas Tumen, D.P.M., FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon at Hudson Valley Foot Associates in Kingston, NY.

“I started seeing a podiatrist at a young age. Dr. Tumen knew I was interested in becoming a doctor one day, so he always let me watch any small procedures he did on me and explained everything he was doing,” she says. “My podiatry appointments were always my favorite doctor’s visits. When it came time to solidify my career path toward the end of undergrad, I thought about all the doctors I had encountered through both my time as a patient and shadowing. Through this reflection, I realized that Dr. Tumen had the career satisfaction, patient impact and work-life balance that I wanted in a career.”

A graduate of Quinnipiac University who majored in biomedical sciences with a minor in global public health, Faith grew up in Woodstock, NY. She had never been to the Midwest before committing to DMU. Now, she is a lead clinical medicine teaching assistant and treasurer of the Private Practice Medical Journal Club.  

“I am happy to say I have found a community here with my classmates,” she says.

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