Kyle Duncan says he’s “really good” at complaining, but he learned at an early age that bellyaching about issues isn’t enough.
“I’ve always wanted to be in a position to fix things, whether it was being captain of the football team or involved in church leadership,” he says. That’s why he seized the advice he got during his first year in the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery from his CPMS “big brother,” Geoff Kraemer, D.P.M.’13: He told Duncan the APMSA was a great way to get involved and effect change.
Duncan became his CPMS class’s APMSA delegate and later ran for president of the national organization, a position he began in February 2013. He says through his four years in the college and with the organization, the biggest issues have involved timing of examinations for licensure of podiatric physicians.
“Students used to take Part II of the board exam in March, so they had only one chance to pass before the residency match in April,” Duncan says. “Now we have two opportunities to take our boards before match.
That’s better for students, and there’s less likelihood of residency spots being left open.”
Another focus area has been the Central Application Service for Podiatric Residencies, or CASPR, of the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM). CASPR is the national, centralized application matching service for placing podiatric medical school graduates into podiatric medical and surgical residency programs. The service recently became fully computerized.
“As with any new program, that’s had its little bumps and hiccups,” Duncan says. “But the AACPM has been very good about listening to our ideas and issues and making the process smoother.”
To tackle the nation’s ongoing need for new podiatric residency programs, Duncan says the APMSA’s main role is educating students. The organization also has provided financial support to Edwin Wolf, D.P.M., M.S., AACPM’s national residency facilitator, in that effort.
“We’re working on an updated presentation for students on the number of residency spots and the roles of various professional organizations in working toward a solution,” Duncan adds. “We want to educate students and encourage practicing podiatrists to get involved with residency training.”
While he says his “only regrets” about concluding his APMSA presidency, which happened in January, are “projects not quite done,” he’s proud of the organization’s improved website – a key communications tool for students in the nation’s nine podiatric medical schools – and the fact APMSA has maintained a positive budget. Acknowledging that he’s “fairly opinionated,” he’s also pleased with his goal of empowering the 65 members of the APMSA House of Delegates.
“I tried to keep them involved and let them know their participation makes a difference,” he says.
A member of Pi Delta, which recognizes high academic achievement among podiatric students, Duncan says he plans to incorporate residency training into his career.
“I know I want to be involved with the educational aspect of my profession,” he says. His experiences in CPMS, as well as in the APMSA, may have influenced that. “I got accepted by all the podiatric schools I interviewed at, and I could not be happier that I chose DMU. I have felt very prepared for my fourth-year externships, and I ultimately matched with the residency program of my choice.”