DR. SABRINA MINHAS
Dr. Sabrina Minhas is a podiatrist based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. She is currently the Secretary of the American Association for Women Podiatrists, an organization dedicated to fostering the personal and professional growth of female podiatric physicians. Additionally, Dr. Minhas is the Current President-Elect for the Pennsylvania Podiatric Medical Association, an organization that she has been proudly involved in for many years.
Q1.What made you want to be a DPM?
I knew that I wanted to help people since I was a child. When I was in high school, I became a lifeguard and I saw people of all ages who had foot or ankle problems. My brothers were both athletic, and I noticed how many of their friends seemed to have foot and ankle issues frequently that needed podiatric care. I began to research the profession and the more I found out about it, the more I realized that it would be a good fit for me. I shadowed a few DPM’s while I was an undergraduate student, and I was able to watch them perform some in-office surgical procedures, as well as treat a wide array of lower extremity pathologies. Those experiences confirmed my desire to join this profession.
Q2.What made you want to become a leader in the profession?
This is a tough question as I always knew that I wanted to give back to the profession in any way that I could, but I never considered myself to be a leader. I have been an APMA and AAWP member since I was a student, and I was trained by some excellent DPM’s while I was in residency. These attendings during my residency were involved with the PPMA, and they encouraged me to become involved with the PPMA and expressed to me the importance of joining and giving back. I became a local delegate to my division of the PPMA, and then I was elected to a board position 2 years later. I enjoyed learning about the PPMA and getting involved and helping our members, and I have been lucky enough to attend the APMA House of Delegates for the last few years. I was also fortunate to receive the Rising Star Award for the State of Pennsylvania in 2014. Becoming a part of the PPMA helped me realize how important it is to serve our profession. I was delighted when the AAWP approached me about becoming more involved with their board. Initially, I had too many other responsibilities so I could not commit to them, but I am happy that last year I was able to join them as their Secretary.
Q3.What is some advice you would have for anyone wanting to be a leader in this profession?
My advice would be to go for it! Get started with local State Associations and then go from there. Find Podiatric Associations that interest you and reach out to their boards to become a member. There is a lot of opportunities to give back and help grow this profession.
Q4.Who is someone that inspires you and why?
I would have to say my husband inspires me every day – he is the most intelligent person I know, and he has a very calming personality. He is good-natured and altruistic and rarely loses his cool. Incidentally, he is also a DPM, and his kindness and compassion to his patients inspire me every day and drives me to be the best that I can be.
Q5.What is some advice you have for women in this profession?
My advice for women podiatrists would be to never limit themselves and to work hard for every opportunity that is available for them to grow professionally. At the same time, it is important to rate your priorities and never lose sight of your goals no matter what obstacles you may face.
Q6.What are some lessons you have learned during your career?
So far, I have learned that time management is very important, and you need to have a good work-life balance, so you don’t burn yourself out. I have also learned to cater my practice to what makes me happy and to make sure I have time for myself. It is also important to decompress after a rough day and leave the office behind you once you get home.
Q7.What has been a significant barrier for you in your career?
Thankfully I have not faced any significant barriers yet. I have a good support system that has helped me through the usual ups and downs so far in my career.
Q8.Have you ever experienced any resistance as a female leader?
No, I think the opposite has happened to me. I got elected on to the PPMA board very early on in my career and everyone on that board has embraced me, taught me, and promoted me as best they can.
Q9.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?
I feel that barriers might be specific to every woman podiatrist in her unique situation. For example, some women may have family and home needs that could act as a barrier to progressing in their careers. Generally, I think there are still a lot of female podiatrists who are mistakenly called “Nurse” by patients (I know I have been) so there is still a gender bias that exists in medicine. This is also apparent as a lot of female doctors I know are introduced by their first name and not “Doctor.” I also think that women are starting to take more leadership roles in the profession, though I think female leaders in podiatry are still less numerous than their male counterparts.
It is difficult to change gender bias overnight, but I think as more women take up leadership positions and join more Association and Hospital boards, they will become more visible and some of these barriers will slowly be knocked down.
Q10.What is something that keeps you motivated to keep being a leader in the field?
I am lucky that I get to work with residents, so being able to teach and encourage the next generation of podiatrists motivates me. A few of my former residents have become involved with their new State Associations and I am proud to see them giving back.
Q11.If you had to start over, knowing what you know now, what would you differently?
I would probably have gone to other states to see how different scopes of practice are and to see which areas are less saturated with DPM’s to practice.
Q12.Describe three events that helped shape you into the leader you are today.
Being a good leader takes more than intelligence, hard work and determination. The first event was being accepted into podiatry school. It was the launching point that started my career choice. The second event was choosing the proper residency program that fit my goals. It was the turning point that gave me the opportunity and platform to establish what leadership in the podiatric profession is all about. The last event was being recruited into the PPMA board. It was the tipping point in my career and put me on the path that I am on today.
Q13.What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
I am proud that I have been with the PPMA board for so many years and that I am the Current President-Elect for the great State of Pennsylvania!
By Yuna Farah
Kent State University School of Podiatric Medicine
The Strong Women of Podiatry:
Leading with Heart and Mind
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