R. Tim Yoho, D.P.M., M.S., FACFAS, dean of the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS), is an unabashed advocate for podiatric medicine, rightfully so. After all, the admissions process to the nation’s nine podiatric medical schools is similar to that for allopathic and osteopathic schools, including required prerequisites and submitted MCAT scores. The basic science content of podiatric curricula is comparable to that taught at many medical schools. At DMU, podiatric students take preclinical courses with osteopathic students.
Yoho shared this and other information in an article he recently wrote for the Polk County Medical Society (PCMS) Bulletin, the publication of the central Iowa association of physicians. He also was invited this spring to become an ex officio member of the 14-member PCMS Executive Council. He is the first podiatric physician to serve in that role.
“Part of CPMS’s 2019-2022 strategic plan is to develop more collaborative relationships with medical associations beyond our own professional organization,” he says. He met with Paula Noonan, CEO of PCMS and the Volunteer Physician Network, to discuss how the organization and the college could work together to benefit students and the professions. Kaaren Olesen, D.O.’97, M.S., owner of Women’s Care Clinic PLC in Urbandale, IA, assistant professor of specialty medicine at DMU and immediate past PCMS president, endorsed the collaboration and Yoho’s position on the society’s executive council.
“It was important to me and the organization to build better relationships with our local medical school, since our medical society is for the Des Moines metro area. It is important to show students why involvement in their local medical societies is important for their personal and professional support,” Olesen says. “We also felt it was important to include our podiatric colleagues, since they are our partners in clinics, hospitals and operating rooms.”
PCMS also created an annual scholarship for a podiatric student, similar to the scholarships it awards every year to a student in DMU’s osteopathic program and to one in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. The inaugural podiatric scholarship was awarded this spring to Edee Wildman Renier, D.P.M.’20.
Greater collaboration with PCMS and among the professions is an “upside,” Yoho says.
“A lot of the medical society’s programming would benefit podiatric physicians and students,” he says. “That allows all of us to learn from and about each other. In addition, there are legislative issues on a regular basis that affect the medical professions, so this provides a forum at the local level for individuals to discuss why a piece of legislation would be helpful.”
A recent example is the Veterans Affairs (VA) Provider Equity Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, that grants physician status in the Veterans Administration to doctors of podiatric medicine. That creates leadership opportunities in the VA system much like those available at public and private health systems, Yoho says.
“We probably have more in common than we do differences,” he says of podiatric and osteopathic/allopathic physicians. “The support of PCMS in terms of my role on the executive council and the new scholarship for CPMS students send a powerful message that the society members are interested in the success of our profession and our students.”