Giving Voice to Women in Podiatric Medicine

If the old saw “podiatrists eat their young” – a belief that experienced podiatric physicians seek to hold back younger “competitors” – still stands, Stephanie Oexeman, D.P.M.’17, AACFAS, DABPM, has dealt it a blow with her podcast, “She’s a D.P.M.” Since its first episode on Oct. 12, 2021, the podcast has brought together female podiatric physicians who “share their experiences, knowledge and insights on cultivating a life in, and outside, the field of podiatric medicine and surgery.” 

A board-certified, fellowship-trained foot and ankle reconstructive and peripheral nerve podiatric surgeon who serves patients at Oexeman Foot and Ankle PLLC in the Chicago area, Oexeman was inspired to start the podcast by a “compilation of experiences” both good and bad. In the first episode, for example, she reflects on a fourth-year externship in which she was told, “You had a great month, but I’m not sure this program would take a girl [as a resident] because we just took one last year.” 

On the flip side, she describes tapping female presenters and panelists at podiatric conferences for their knowledge. “They were all willing to help or answer any questions, not just then but over the years,” she says. Those women, including many fellow graduates of DMU’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, have since been her podcast guests. Ruth Moen, D.P.M.’15, AACFAS, discusses her journey as an orthopedic surgeon now in Sioux Falls, SD. Ashley Dikis, D.P.M.’12, FACFAS, DABPM, clinical department chair at DMU’s Foot and Ankle Clinic, talks about careers in academia. Kalani Parker, D.P.M.’17, a U.S. Army captain, shares her experiences as an active-duty podiatrist. 

These and other female podiatrists on the podcast talk frankly about their specialties, work-life-family balance, professional leadership, the gender wage gap, burnout and much more. In addition to sharing insights and information, the podcast builds community among women in the profession. 

“It’s also been surprising how many people I don’t know whom I meet at conferences, especially students, who tell me they love the podcast,” Oexeman says. 

Going forward, she wants to feature podiatric medical students as well as physicians in other specialties to discuss how they work with podiatric physicians. 

“The best part of doing the podcast is being able to meet so many other women in the field and to connect one professional to another,” she says. “I want to highlight women in the field. We all have a voice, and it’s time we start using it.” 

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