Laura Heath-Arme, D.P.M.’12, FACFAS, says she became a podiatric physician due to a “happy accident.” Through a high school program, the West Des Moines, Iowa, native shadowed two orthopedic surgeons and thought that would be her path, too. Then she broke her foot the summer after her freshman year at the University of Iowa.
“I didn’t even know podiatric medicine existed until I had an appointment with a podiatric physician,” says the newest member of the DMU Alumni Board. “To me, it was perfect, because you get to specialize in the lower limb, and the profession offers a better work-life balance for me as a female. But most important was that I knew from day one, I’d be a surgeon.”
That fit. As a kid, Heath-Arme says, she liked to take her toys apart and put them back together. “I love that hands-on part of fixing things. It all came together for me at DMU in years three and four, during our clinicals.”
She completed a three-year surgical residency at the Phoenix Veterans Administration Medical Center in Arizona, where she received extensive training in diabetic limb salvage, trauma, reconstruction and wound care. She continues to serve the Phoenix VA residency program as an attending physician in addition to her practice, Associated Podiatrists PC, in Phoenix.
“I was honored to provide care for veterans. They’ve given potentially their lives for our country,” she says. “With the residents, it’s fun to keep up with new trends in podiatry and to have a part in their training.”
Secretary of the Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Association since 2022, Heath-Arme also is a longtime volunteer for her sorority, Alpha Phi, and a mentor to collegiate women. She considers her role on the DMU Alumni Board as a way to contribute her perspectives.
“I’m not a new DMU graduate, but I’m not ready to retire, either,” she says.
Early in her practice in Phoenix, Heath-Arme attended a DMU alumni event in Phoenix held in conjunction with an emergency medicine conference. Initially, she was “nervous” about going, because she knew most of the other alumni would be osteopathic graduates.
“But I quickly realized how beneficial this event became for my career. I met many primary care physicians who became referral sources for patients,” she says. “I also met a physical therapist who owns a practice near my office. She has become a great colleague, and I now refer my patients to her practice. DMU, being a large, multi-college university, provides opportunities for alumni to network at events like these, and I have seen the benefit of this firsthand.”
She notes that her four years at DMU were “some of the hardest but most rewarding” of her life. She praises its faculty and her class, which “was like a family,” and she regularly gets together with close friends from their student days.
“DMU will always have a special place in my heart. It’s an excellent school, and I’m excited to see it continue to attract outstanding students,” she says. “It’s a place you want to be known you graduated from.”