Dr. Jonathan Sharpe
Northern Ohio Foot & Ankle Foundation (NOFA) Foot and Ankle Reconstruction Fellowship- Concord, OH
Q1. What podiatry school did you go to? OCPM (now KSUCPM)
Q2. Why did you choose podiatry? I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a physician. As an undergraduate at John Carroll, a pre-health advisor suggested I look into podiatry. It matched my current circumstances and future career aspirations.
Q3. How many years have you been a podiatrist? What kind of setting are you currently practicing? I have been practicing for 12 years (hard to believe!!). I currently work as an associate for an orthopedic group. Our group is east of Cleveland in Lake County and conveniently named Orthopedic Associates of Lake County.
Q4. Outside of podiatry, what occupies your spare time? My family. This profession creates a hectic schedule at times, but you can never lose sight of what is truly most important in your life. When I can, I train and compete in several martial arts. My favorites are American boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Q5. What is your favorite movie, music, or a place you’ve traveled? I love all music. Contemporary country is usually playing in my OR. My most special and unique travel experience in regards to podiatry is when Dr. Mark Hardy and I traveled to Odisha, India to teach foot and ankle surgical techniques to Indian Orthopedists. It was a special experience that transcended podiatry. We witnessed the worst poverty we have ever seen. We met amazing people. We tried things we had never done before. We experienced the reality of medicine and how it related to these beautiful people.
Q6. Why did you go into a fellowship? What were you looking for in a fellowship? I was fortunate. My fellowship fell into my lap. An orthopedic foot and ankle specialist at one of the hospitals that I originally worked at approached me to start the fellowship. I agreed. Six months later, he took a new position out of state and by default the fellowship became mine.
About the Program
Q1. What does a typical day look like in the office? Busy. Hectic. Behind schedule. But we truly have fun. I have an amazing office staff who are like extended family/friends to me. We see about 35-45 patients on average. It’s a grind but we get through it together. Our patient pathology is all over the board: trauma, acquired deformities, sports injuries, arthritis, dermatology issues. This keeps the workday engaging and challenging at the same time.
Q2. What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face? As a fellowship director – picking the fellow! Fortunately, we have had incredible PEOPLE who also happened to be exceptional podiatric physicians and surgeons. You’re essentially marrying your fellow – what I mean by that is you will see and interact with your fellow more than your spouse – so it better be a harmonious union.
Q3. Any research was done at this fellowship? Kind of. We keep track of our own. We are keenly interested in ‘how we are doing’. It is tough to put forth high-level data in a 12-month fellowship year. We are interested in EBM and it guides our decision-making. We contribute to how we can. But this is typically in the case study or small retrospective cohort format.
Q4. What facilities do you cover? The fellow has his or her own clinic at our orthopedic office 2 and a half days per week. 2 full days are in surgery at Tripoint hospital and the Mentor Surgery Center. One-half day per week is dedicated to research interests.
Q5. Is fellowship similar to residency? Not mine. I take pride in ensuring that it is not a glorified PGY-4 experience. Our fellow every year is fully credentialed, meaning he or she can function independently of me. Our fellows run their own clinics and orchestrate their own surgeries.
Q6. How many surgeries are expected in a year? In the general vicinity of 250-500.
Q7. How is the fellowship application process? What advice do you have when applying? Visit the program. Make sure it is a match for you. We have never selected someone that we have not met yet. It helps to know who is heavily interested in our program.
Q8. Any advice to current residents who are thinking of applying or general advice for current podiatry students? Visit the programs that you are interested in. Talk to previous fellows about their experiences. If you visit the ACFAS website, there are nice summaries of each recognized program and prior fellows are listed. Be proactive and do not wait until the fellowship application deadline.
By Josephine Wu
Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine
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