Dr. Jane Andersen
Dr. Jane Andersen is the Past President of AAWP. She is also a member of the Public Education and Information Committee of APMA.
Q1. Why did you decide to become a DPM?
I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but wasn’t aware of podiatric medicine and surgery until I had horrible foot pain in college. The student health center had no idea what to do. I was told to see a podiatrist. I eventually became aware of the profession and the great advantages it has, including its lifestyle, the ability to make others happy, and not dealing routinely with life and death.
Q2. What made you move to North Carolina?
We were in northern California and we couldn’t afford to buy a house. I was originally recruited by fellow AAWP member, Judy Hodgins. I had met her at AAWP seminars.
Q3. What made you become involved in AAWP, and how did your position as past president proved beneficial to the profession?
I originally became involved as a student. One of my mentors, Judi Manzi, was very involved. She kept me active in the group throughout residency and early in practice. I became the seminar chair when I was in residency, then progressed through the board. Being part of AAWP enabled me to meet fellow practitioners on a national level. I was mentored by many of these women, and have tried to mentor in return.
Q4. What made you want to be involved in APMA, and how has it been beneficial to the profession? I attended the APMA National Meeting several times during my early career. I knew instantly I wanted to be more involved. At a meeting during my residency, Kathy Stone (former AAWP president and now past president of the APMA) invited me to a reception for the incoming president. I had an opportunity to meet several influential doctors in our profession that day. I was thankful for the opportunity!
Q5. What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
I just finished my tenure as the President of the North Carolina Foot and Ankle Society. I had to make several difficult decisions and I feel I learned a tremendous amount about how to run an organization. I am also the Chair of the Communications Committee for APMA, and am so proud of how the staff and committee work together to have successful campaigns like #operatelikeagirl.
Q6. Who is someone that inspires you and why?
I have several mentors that have been inspirational, including some mentioned previously: Kathy Stone, DPM, Judi Manzi, DPM, and one of my residency directors, Larry Oloff, DPM. I’m also often inspired by the many younger female practitioners who are balancing work and family in highly demanding jobs. They are very difficult years, and I’m blown away by their successes. When my kids were young, it was hard, but I wasn’t taking ER/hospital call. Not sure I could have held it together if I had!
Q7. What is some advice you would have for anyone wanting to be a leader in this profession? Get involved on any level! If opportunities exist at the local level, start there. AAWP is a great launching board. Offer to help on a committee. Ask your mentors for opportunities and advice.
Q8. What is some advice you have for women in this profession?
There will be times in your career when it’s difficult to have outside interests, like when you are raising a family, or when your practice might be very demanding. That’s normal, and understood, but it’s always important to take care of yourself and ALWAYS have an oar in the water. Never give up your license, even if you are not practicing.
Q9. What are some lessons you’ve learned during your career?
Stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to make a change if your job situation is not favorable.
Q10. What has been a significant barrier for you in your career?
Being efficient, I’m terrible about getting my charts done in a timely fashion! I feel very fortunate that being a woman has been an advantage overall.
Q11. Have you ever experienced any resistance as a female leader?
Yes, there are always some who won’t take you seriously. Always be ethical, factual and fastidious in leadership. Make decisions based on bylaws and what’s best for the organization.
Q12. Do you feel that there are still barriers for women in this field? If so, how should they be handled by women starting their profession?
Within APMA and it’s committees, there are very few barriers. There may be some barriers in other organizations, and possibly in some states. Keep pushing and keep serving. Personally, I hope to see more diversity with not only gender, but ethnicity as well.
Q13. What was the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?
The best decision was to become a podiatrist. The worst was to stay too long in a position that wasn’t right for me.
Q14. What is something that keeps you motivated to keep being a leader in the field? I love serving our profession in that manner. I love being able to project how amazing our profession is to the public and potential students. I love the democratic process that takes place in the House of Delegates. I hope to continue to serve for years to come.
Q15. If you had to start over, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? I feel like I don’t have any big regrets. Even the mistakes I’ve made were important in my education as a leader. It doesn’t mean I’ve done everything right, far from it.
Q16. Describe 3 events that helped shape you into the leader you are today.
1) Many years ago when I was on the AAWP board, I was invited to participate in media training with the APMA. That day was pivotal, because I discovered I could explain things in simple terms to the public. I started receiving media requests through the APMA Communications department. That part of my service has evolved tremendously, and I’ve been able to educate the public in major print publications, radio, and television. It has led to leadership roles within APMA.
2) Being mentored by Dr. Kathy Stone at the APMA meeting, and being taken to the presidential suite/reception when I was a resident. It set the desire to serve in motion.
3) The year as president of NCFAS… difficult decisions had to be made, but I learned how to make them.
By Cindy Duong
Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
The Strong Women of Podiatry:
Leading with Heart and Mind
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